Feb. 22, 2013
NORMAN, Okla. - There was some school history made during the first day of competition at the Southland Indoor Championships at Mosier Indoor Facility on Friday, but much is left to be written as a number of athletes from Lamar's men's and women's track teams will be seeking individual conference titles on Saturday.
"It was a pretty solid first day for us," head coach Trey Clark said. "Most of the people did what they were supposed to do. We had a few disappointments, but a few surprises as well. Now we'll just have to get back and regroup for tomorrow."
The day was headlined by the performance of pole vaulter Leslie Beard, who set the school record in the event by topping a height of 12 feet, 1.5 inches. The sophomore from Lumberton already had her name at the top of the list in the record books, but bettered her previous mark by five inches. She finished seventh in the event.
"Leslie looked great today," Clark said. "This was probably one of the best pole vault competitions that I've seen at a conference championship, and I'm glad that Leslie was able to be a part of it."
Also making headway in the school record books was the long jump duo of Beatrice Douglas and Erin Brown. Douglas, who was already second on the school's all-time performance list, improved her personal-best with a mark of 19 feet, 3.5 inches to finish fourth. Brown wasn't far behind her, finishing fifth in the event and moving into third in LU history with a distance of 19 feet, 0.5 inches.
"Both Erin and Beatrice really had a good day," Clark said. "They were very consistent and it was just a great competition. If fifth place is 19 feet, you know it's pretty good. I'm proud of all the work that they put in today and it was nice to see their effort rewarded."
On the men's side, Johnathan Reece
jumped 22 feet, 11 inches in the long jump to finish ninth and Michael Lester
was just 3.25 inches behind him, finishing 11th
Lamar saw its two-year title run come to an end in the men's distance medley relay as the Cards were beat out by McNeese State, who completed the race with a time of 10:09.29. Sam Houston State was less than two seconds behind the pace, and the Lamar team of Sam Stabler, Treyvon Davis, Michael Kershaw and Joe Wade ended third at 10:15.93.
In other men's distance events, Ryan Creech and Sam Bradley finished fifth and sixth, respectively, in the 5,000 meter run with times of 15:00.17 and 15:05.87. Defending champion Matt Johnsen was eighth at 15:12.38.
Nora-Beth Saunders led the way for the women in the 5K, finishing eighth at 18:50.65, and the women's distance medley relay team of Claire Miles, Elzbieta Gawron, Kim Campbell and Becky Gough was fifth with a time of 12:31.92.
"It was a solid performance by our distance runners today," Clark said. "We lost the men's medley, but it's still an all-conference caliber performance. Ryan really had a shot to finish a little higher in the 5K, but we'll still take it. I'm really proud of Nora-Beth for scoring in the conference meet for the first time in her career. That was huge."
In other track action, Ashley Idunoba put herself in position for a potentially big second day, qualifying for the finals of both the 60 and 200 meter dash events. The senior from Houston put up the second-best qualifying time in the 60 with a mark of 7.57 seconds, just .02 shy of Central Arkansas' Tanesha Maxwell. Idunoba also clocked in at 24.75 seconds in the 200, the third-best behind Brarsheyia Simpson of Stephen F. Austin and Lygia Foreman of SHSU.
Zach Hicks also moved on in the 200, completing the race in 22.09 seconds to grab the sixth spot.
Saschelle Slaughter secured a spot in the 400 meter final, ending seventh at 57.94 seconds.
In the men's mile run, three Cardinals grabbed a spot in the final, led by Kershaw's time of 4:20.40. The Welshman had the third-best mark in the group, and he was joined by fellow Brits Stabler and Wade as the Englishmen finished sixth and seventh, respectively, with times of 4:21.11 and 4:21.15.
"We qualified almost everybody we hoped to on the first day," Clark explained. "There were a few who just who were on the outside looking in, but for the most part, it's about where we expected to be. But that's just half of it. Today was about taking care of business, and we did that. Tomorrow is about showing up and performing."
Rounding out the top LU performers is Nick Fyffe, who completed a busy first day in the men's heptathlon. The freshman from Canada impressed in the long jump with a mark of 21 feet, 10.25 inches to finish second. He was fifth in the high jump at five feet, 11.25 inches and eighth in the 60 meter dash at 7.42 seconds. His distance of 36 feet, 0.25 inches in the shot put also ranked eighth, and overall, he's in seventh place with a point total of 2,654. SHSU' Matt Johnson leads the competition with 2,969.
Saturday's competition will include finals for the 60, 200 and 400 meter dash events as well as finals for the 3,000 meter and mile runs. Cardinal athletes are also slated to participate in the high jump and triple jump events.
As the day turns to Saturday, the Lamar men will be chasing down SFA, who holds the overall lead with 42 points, and Southeastern Louisiana isn't far behind at 37.5. The Cards sit sixth with 14. The LU women currently have 15.5 points and rank seventh. SHSU leads the pack in that competition at 52.5 and SFA is hot on their heels with 50.