March 27, 2014
BEAUMONT – The Lamar men’s and women’s track team collected eight individual conference crowns at the Southland Indoor Championships a month ago, and head coach Trey Clark will be looking for his athletes to continue to build on that this weekend as the Cardinals open up outdoor season at the 32nd annual Victor Lopez Classic on the campus of Rice.
“We’re very excited about the indoor season that we just had, and we’re looking forward to get back and start competing again,” Clark said. “This is a good meet for the majority of our athletes to get an opportunity to participate. A large number of this team is from the Houston area, so it may be a chance for them to compete in front of or against some family and friends.”
The majority of stellar performances during indoor season came from the distance group, and seven such athletes will be opening up the season on Friday night, beginning with freshman Megan Flanagan in the 3,000 meter steeplechase. The Kingwood native was a member of LU’s Southland championship cross country team, and fellow distance runners Belinda Aguilar, Angela LaBorde, Nora-Beth Saunders and Kaitlynn Warren will follow her later in the evening in the 5,000 meter run.
Two men’s athletes will be competing 5,000 as well as Mike Kershaw will beginning his final outdoor season in the Red and White, and January enrollee Laurie Probert will begin his first.
The rest of the team will join the meet on Saturday, which will feature reigning Southland Indoor Athletes of the Year Sam Stabler and Louise Webb. Webb will be the lone Lady Card competing in the 1,500, but Stabler will be joined by Kershaw and the freshman duo of Sean Chalmers and Sean Guiney in the race.
In the 800, Aaron Bennett
will look to build off an indoor season that featured three victories in the event, and Kayla de Bondt
, the Southland Indoor Freshman of the Year, will participate in the women’s race.
“We really like the distance races at this meet because it’s one of the few meets in the state of Texas that they have the kind of environment that they need in order to be successful,” Clark said. “In addition to that, we have an opportunity for everyone to compete, and proximity makes it easier so that we don’t have to interrupt travel and training.”
There will be heavy LU participation in the 400 meter races, which will begin in the early afternoon with Brandon Franz, TaMar Hicks and Kevyn Smith on the men’s side. Eight are set to run for the women, including freshman Zoia Carr, who will be making her collegiate debut. She’ll be joined by Bianca Allen, Rachael Davee, Justine Franklin, Elzbieta Gawron, Nia Davis, Chasity Peters and Sarah Shim.
The evening 400 race will include Trevon Davis, Chance Williams and Saschelle Slaughter. The latter two were both a part of their respective Southland-winning distance medley relay teams.
JaLana Owens will make her collegiate debut in the 200 alongside Sydney Wandix, and Dominique Taylor, who is coming off a notable freshman indoor season, will look to build off of it in the 100 meter hurdles. Brielle Johnson will also run in the event, and Le’Trey Burton will participate in the men’s 110 meter hurdles.
Erin Brown, fresh off of setting a school record in the indoor triple jump, is one of five Lady Cards lined up to compete in the long jump. Beatrice Douglas, who sits second on LU’s all-time performance list in the event, will lead the group, which also features two freshmen in Nicole Alozie and Brianna Foley and a veteran in Carissa Hill.
Robert Badillo and Jared Benford will jump for the men. Benford, a freshman out of Houston, is making his collegiate debut in a jumps event after spending much of indoor season participating in sprints.
Jonathan Reece will compete in the high jump, and Leslie Beard, LU’s all-time top performer, and Hannah Callaway are set for the pole vault.
The Victor Lopez Classic will begin on Friday evening at 7:10 p.m. at Holloway Field and Ley Track. Saturday’s events will pick up at 11 a.m.