April 27, 2013
SAN MARCOS - A number of Lamar athletes had strong days as the Lamar men's and women's track teams competed in the Bobcat Classic at Texas State Track and Field Complex on Saturday.
"Coming out to San Marcos was a really good trip for us," head coach Trey Clark said. "I feel like we closed out the regular portion of our season very well, and almost everybody put up season-bests or better in their events. This is the type of competition that we needed to have going into the Southland Championships."
Joe Wade took home top billing in the 1,500 meter run, putting up a personal-best time of 3:45.32, which currently ranks as the best by a Southland athlete this season, knocking off McNeese State's Jarrett LeBlanc. Sam Stabler wasn't far behind him, ending fourth at 3:46.28.
"It was just a really good race for Joe today, from start to finish," Clark explained. "He was in a quality field, and he really closed it it out big. After a great showing last week, this was a really good way to follow up, and he just executed the race well."
As of Saturday evening, Wade held the top Southland marks in the both the 1,500 meter and 5,000 meter runs as well as the 3,000 meter steeplechase.
In the 5,000, Matt Johnsen picked up his first victory of the season, completing the event in 14:27.73, and Ash Harrell clocked in moments later at 14:54.12 to place third.
"Matt looked really good today, and it was as good as I've seen him in a long time," Clark said. "I think he's really worked his way back from injury well. He ran a 10K last week, and then made a 14:27 look easy. Ash has had limited training after his injury last year, and he's coming back well too. We're definitely glad to see both of them on their way back with conference coming up."
As expected, sprinters Zach Hicks
and Ashley Idunoba
experienced strong days in the competition as well. Hicks was the top collegiate finisher in the 200 meter dash, clocking in at 21.45 to place seventh overall, and Idunoba ended third among collegians in both the 100 and 200 at 11.76 and 24.02, respectively.
"Zach's been battling some injuries, so this was definitely a good performance for him today," Clark said. "I'm very excited to see him competing so well this year as a freshman, and on the other side, Ashley has proven herself to be someone we can always count on. She did what we've come to expect, and she put it out there tonight."
Other standout track performers included Becky Gough, who placed fifth in the 1,500 at 4:38.92 and Claire Miles, who ran the 3,000 meter steeplechase in 11:24.93 to come in second.
"I think Becky may have been a little tired after running a lifetime-best last week, but I'm really proud of the progress she's made in her time at Lamar," Clark said. "Claire is continuing to make progress in the steeple, and it was a pretty solid showing for her."
Saschelle Slaughter finished 10th among college athletes in the 400, clocking in at 56.14, which is a season-best and puts her at sixth on the SLC list.
In the 4x400 relay, the quartet of Elzbieta Gawron, Shakevia Fleeks, Chasity Peters and Sarah Shim finished in a season-best time of 3:48.64 to place sixth.
"I was really pleased with the effort the women's 4x400 team gave," Clark said. "They had a great run out there today, and we needed it with conference two weeks away. It was a lot of fun to watch them put it together."
Clark was also pleased with the men's 4x100 team of Wesley Williams, Hicks, Trey Finnex and Jonathan Edwards, which finished third in a season-best 41.38.
"The guys struggled with the hand-off a little bit, but they still performed," Clark explained. "As a group, they didn't spend much time working on it this week, so even if it wasn't the smoothest race, they ran really well."
In the field, Beatrice Douglas stood out among the pack, posting a season-best distance of 19 feet, 1.25 inches in the long jump to place third. Carissa Hill and Erin Brown also participated in the event, putting up marks of 18 feet, 9.25 inches and 18 feet, three inches, respectively.
"Beatrice had a pretty good day, and she's still progressing toward conference," Clark said. "She had a really big jump that was just barely foul, and I'm looking forward to a strong performance from her in two weeks."
Lamar will return to action at the Southland Outdoor Championships, which will run from May 10-12 on the campus of McNeese State.