May 25, 2013
AUSTIN - Joe Wade saw his illustrious Lamar track career come to an end on Friday night as he and Sam Stabler competed at the NCAA West Preliminaries at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas.
Wade, a five-time Southland Conference champion in four different events, posted a time of 9:10.78 in the 3,000 meter steeplechase, finishing 38th and failing to earn a second consecutive trip to the NCAA Championships in Oregon next month.
The Isle of Wight native took home the 1,500 meter crown at the SLC Championships earlier this month, and he completed his ultimate season in the Red and White with the top conference times in the steeplechase and both the 1,500 and 5,000 meter runs. He ranks among the top three in school history in four separate events, which includes a school record in the indoor 800.
"Joe has had a great career for us, and this race wasn't indicative of his abilities," head coach Trey Clark said. "I think the fall he had at the conference meet hurt him more than we realized. He's been a great performer who helped carry on our tradition in the distance, and we're very appreciative of his hard work and legacy of success."
"This was a really impressive year for him," Clark continued. "He's always had a lot of versatility and been able to run in a lot of events, and leaving as the top conference athlete in three events shows that. He's given us a lot of flexibility over the years, and he'll be a hard one to replace."
Stabler posted a 43rd place finish in the 1,500 on Thursday, completing the race in 3:58.65. The sophomore ended the season as the third-rated athlete in the Southland in the event, trailing just Wade and McNeese's Jarret LeBlanc.
"Sam did what he had to do to try and make the next round, so I can't fault him for it," Clark explained. "He tried to take it out and force the pace of the race, and he eventually paid the price for his efforts when it didn't work out. That said, he's still got two years left for us, and it's been a good year. I'm looking forward to watching his development and maturation."
Stabler and the remainder of the Lamar distance group will head into the summer with cross country glory on their mind as much of the core of last year's SLC runner-up team, including 2012 All-American Matt Johnsen, will be back in the fold.