Track sets out for Southland Championships

GO CARDINALS <b>Sam Stabler</b>
GO CARDINALS
Sam Stabler
GO CARDINALS

May 8, 2014

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BEAUMONT - Sam Stabler and Louise Webb led the Lamar track program to a memorable Southland Indoor Championships earlier this year, and the duo will attempt to guide the Cardinals to another strong finish this time around as the Southland Outdoor Championships will get under way on Friday at Bill Stephens Track Complex on the campus of Central Arkansas in Conway.

Stabler, a junior out Queniborough, England, looks to continue his dominant season after taking home Southland Indoor Athlete of the Year. The Englishman, winner of two individual crowns and a relay title at the indoor championships, enters the weekend as the conference's top runner in both the 1,500 and 5,000 meter runs, posting times of 3:42.18 and 13:55.16, respectively.

Stabler is slated to compete in both events as he'll try to become the fourth Card in five years to claim the 1,500 meter title. With a win, he'd be the third consecutive LU athlete to win, joining Joe and Tom Wade. In the 5,000, Stabler will look to put an end to the recent McNeese dominance as the Cowboys have taken home three straight victories after former Card Samuel Kosgei won in both 2009 and 2010.

Webb, a fellow Brit, will also aim for glory in the 1,500 and the 3,000 steeplechase. The reigning Indoor Athlete of the Year, Webb is currently ranked third in the league in the 1,500 with a time of 4:28.39. She'll be looking to become the sixth LU winner all-time and the first since Clerc Koenck took home three straight wins from 2006-08. The Southampton native leads the Southland in the steeplechase with a time of 10:19.83. Previously, only one other Lady Card has earned a conference title in the event as Amanda King won back-to-back in 2006 and 2007.

Ryan Creech rounds out the Southland individual winners from indoor season as he'll compete in both the 5,000 and 10,000 meter runs. The junior from Cork, Ireland, has spent much of the outdoor campaign injured, and he enters the weekend ranked 10th in the 5,000 with a time of 15:06.13. Creech is aiming to become the first-ever Card to earn a 10,000 meter victory.

Creech will be joined in the 10,000 by Southland Cross Country Newcomer of the Year Ash Harrell, who will be looking to close out his career in memorable fashion, and Michael Kershaw is slated to compete in the 5,000. The Welshman currently ranks third in the Southland in the event with a time of 14:31.92.

On the women's side, fellow cross country Newcomer of the Year Leigh Lattimore, who claimed a spot on the medal stand in both the 3,000 and 5,000 meter races during the indoor championships, is scheduled for both the 5,000 and 10,000. She currently boasts of the conference's best in time in the 10,000 at 34:19.82, and she ranks second in the 5,000 at 16:57.74. She's set to do battle with UCA's Brooke Cassar, who took home the individual cross country crown in the fall and claimed the 5,000 title indoors.

Joining Lattimore in the 5,000 will be Belinda Aguilar and Claire Arnold, who rank seventh and 13th, respectively, in the conference at 17:49.11 and 18:03.78.

Aaron Bennett, who also trains with the distance runners, will look to bounce back from a third-place showing in the 800 during indoors. The Englishman boasts of a conference-best time of 1:49.21 in the event, and he helped the Cards to a record-setting showing in the 800 leg of the distance medley relay at the indoor championships.

Sean Guiney, who was also a part of that DMR squad, will look to carry on LU's strong tradition in the 3,000 meter steeplechase. Cards have taken home the crown 11 times, and Guiney is 11th in the league at 9:44.80.

The distance group as a whole is looking to carry on its performances from last fall's cross country season, which saw both the men and the women claim the team titles.

Also on the track, the trio of Saschelle Slaughter, Sarah Shim and Nia Davis will look to etch each of their names into the LU record books in both the 400 meter dash and 4x400 meter relay. Slaughter is second in the league with a time of 54.51 seconds, and with a win she'd become just the second-ever Lady Card to win the event, joining Chinelo Nwobu, who won the crown in both 2005 and 2006. Shim and Davis rank eighth and 11th, respectively, at 55.76 and 56.12.

Le'Trey Burton, who finished eighth in the 60 meter hurdles indoors, is in line to try and score again and is currently eighth in the 110 meter hurdles with a time of 14.83 seconds.

In the field, Beatrice Douglas will look to become the first-ever Lady Card winner as she is set to compete in both the long jump and the high jump. The Silsbee native is currently second in the long jump after leaping 19 feet, six inches, a fortnight ago, and she'll compete alongside Carissa Hill and Erin Brown in the event. The duo ranks eighth and 13th with marks of 19 feet and 18 feet, 10 inches.

Brown will participate in the triple jump, and Scotland native Emma Lowry is set to compete in the high jump.

For the men, Johnathon Reece will once again take aim at the high jump crown. The sophomore finished third a year ago during outdoor season, and he placed fourth indoors. Reece currently ranks third in the Southland with a mark of six feet, eight inches, and he's just one inch shy of the league's top mark.

Michael Lester and Jared Benford are 13th and 15th in the long jump, and Robert Badillo has the ninth-best mark in the triple jump at 47 feet, 3.75 inches.

Overall, LU boasts of 10 men's team titles, which is the most in conference history. The Cards also have a league-best 127 individual winners, which is 61 more than Abilene Christian, which is second among current conference members. The LU women have never won a team championship and have 17 overall individual champions.

The Southland Outdoor Championships will begin on Friday afternoon and run through Sunday.

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