• By John Antonik
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  • April 12, 2011 04:58 PM
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West Virginia University women’s track coach Sean Cleary is considering using junior Chelsea Carrier in as many as seven different events at this year’s Big East outdoor track and field championships taking place next month in Villanova, Pa.

But in order to do that, he will have to pull Carrier out of her best event – the multi. Last weekend at the Texas Relays, Carrier smashed the school record in the heptathlon with a score of 5,927 points. That point total is the best in the country this year after two weeks of outdoor competition.

By potentially skipping the multi at Big Easts, that will give Carrier enough rest to compete in the 100 hurdles, where she is currently ranked 26th in the country, the intermediate hurdles, the 4x100 and 4x400-meter relays, and the long jump, where she is ranked 35th nationally. And if Cleary chooses to run Carrier in the intermediate hurdles it will be the first time she has done that event in college.

“I feel like she can contend and win the hurdles, she can contend for first or second in the other hurdle race – I really believe that because she was a great 300-meter hurdler in high school - so she could potentially win the short hurdles, she can win or finish second in the intermediates, and now she’s fresh in the long jump, relatively speaking, instead of doing the multi,” Cleary explained. “My feeling is she will score quite high in that, bringing us as many as 22 or 23 points.”

Cleary reasons that the Buckhannon native could potentially earn the Mountaineers more points in events she would be competing in any way in the multi.

“This is not set in stone yet, but this has been my thought for about eight months now,” he said.

With a strong group of senior distance runners (provided some of his top runners can regain their health) Cleary believes this is the year his team can make a run at a top 2-3 finish in the Big East.

“The last few years our distance runners have really come through for us,” he said. “If we can get our stuff together in the distance I have great faith in our track kids.”

As for Carrier, the junior really caught the attention of the track and field world with her magnificent performance in Austin last weekend, Carrier winning the multi, with first-place finishes the 100 hurdles, the 200-meter dash and in the long jump.

Cleary says the plan for Carrier is to take next indoor season off in order for her to get totally ready to make a run at the U.S. Olympic Trials following the completion of her final outdoor season at WVU in 2012.

“Last year we redshirted her because we wanted her to be in a position during an Olympic Trials year not to have an indoor season to really, really nail the outdoor track season and then carry that into the Olympic Trials,” Cleary said. “Time will tell.”

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