Feb. 13, 2014
BEAUMONT – It may not have originally been in the plans for the Lamar men’s and women’s track and field teams to compete at the Southern Miss Cupid Classic on Friday, but after the success of a number of athletes this season, it could offer a substantial leg up on the competition at the Southland Championships later this month as both events will be held at the Crossplex Arena in Birmingham, Ala.
“This is an opportunity for the kids to become accustomed to the venue and get a feel for it, and it should be a good dress rehearsal for us before the conference championships,” explained head coach Trey Clark. “This will be as close to a full squad as we’ve had this season, and with a little under two weeks to go until the championships, this really gives us an opportunity to see everyone does out there.”
As one would project for the conference championships, LU will look to take care of business in the distance races, beginning with the mile run, which is set to feature Louise Webb, Leigh Lattimore and Kayla de Bondt, who each rank inside the top four in the Southland Conference. Webb, who is the current league leader in both the mile and the 800 meter run, will join de Bondt for the 800.
Also competing in women’s distance races will be Claire Arnold, who ranks fifth in the Southland in the 3,000 meter run, Belinda Aguilar, Megan Flanagan, Angela LaBorde, Nora-Beth Saunders and Kaitlynn Warren.
Ash Harrell, winner of the Southland Newcomer of the Year and a national qualifier during cross country season, will look to lead the men’s distance group. The Dereham, England, native has been battling back from injury for much of the season, and he’ll be looking to have a good meet before the Southland Championships.
Harrell will join Laurie Probert, Ryan Creech and Michael Kershaw in the 3,000 meter run. Kershaw currently sits fourth on the Southland leaderboard in the event, and Creech is sixth.
Kershaw is also lined up to compete in the mile, where he’ll run alongside Sean Chalmers. Chalmers, a freshman out of Dingwall, Scotland, is coming off a career day at Houston two weeks ago, where he ascended to fifth in the conference in the mile and sixth in the 800.
Joining Chalmers in the 800 will be Aaron Bennett, who has taken home the event crown at both meets in which he’s competed. He’ll be hunting to regain the top spot in the conference rankings after Abilene Christian’s Daniel Block and Sam Houston State’s De’Quad Binder passed him over the past two weeks.
TaMar Hicks will also run in the 800.
Noticeably absent from the men’s side is Sam Stabler, who will use the weekend to recover after setting a school and conference record in the mile two weeks ago and posting the top conference time in the 3,000 meter run last week.
Johnathon Reece, winner of Southland Indoor Freshman of the Year in 2013, will lead the jumps group on Friday. The towering sophomore out of New Waverly ranks third in the high jump with a mark of six-feet, 8.25 inches, which is 1.5 inches off the top spot in the conference.
Beatrice Douglas is scheduled to compete in the event on the women’s side, and she’ll also join standout freshman Nicole Alozie as well as Erin Brown and Carissa Hill in the long jump. Alozie is currently fifth in the conference in the long jump with a distance of 18 feet, three inches, and both Douglas and Hill are ranked in the top 20 in the conference.
Brown and Brianna Foley will each compete in the triple jump, where they are both ranked inside the top 15.
On the men’s side, Robert Badillo is slated to compete in both the long and triple jumps.
Leslie Beard, the school record holder in the indoor and outdoor pole vault, will round out the field group.
Back on the track, Dominique Taylor will look to continue an impressive campaign. The freshman out of Houston has already etched herself into the school’s all-time performance list in both the 60 meter dash and 60 meter hurdles, and she’ll join Brielle Johnson for the hurdles on Friday.
Le’Trey Burton will run in the event on the men’s side.
Saschelle Slaughter headlines the 400 meter dash for the Cards, and she’s looking to improve from a pair of fourth-place finishes in the conference meets in the event last season. She’s currently ranked eighth in the conference in the event.
Elzbieta Gawron, who sits 15th currently, will lead the rest of the group slated to perform, which includes Sarah Shim and Bianca Allen.
Trevon Davis and Chance Williams will run in the men’s 400.
Allen, Chasity Peters and Sydney Wandix will run in the 200 for the women, and Jared Benford is scheduled in the race for the men.