May 10, 2012
BEAUMONT, Texas -
The Lamar University men's and women's track teams will compete at the 2012 Southland Conference Outdoor Track Championships from Friday through Sunday at Texas State University in San Marcos.
The LU squads struggled at last year's Southland Conference Outdoor Championships, with the men finishing 10th and the women placing 11th. Lamar had strong performances at the conference's indoor championships earlier this year, with the men placing fourth and the women taking sixth.
"We have more depth this season," Lamar coach Trey Clark said. "We have a number of athletes who should do really well."
Lamar's Ashley Idunoba returns to defend her outdoor crown in the women's 200 meters, the only title Lamar won last year. Lamar had much better success at this year's indoor meet, with the men winning four events and the women winning one. On the men's side, Joe Wade won the mile, Tom Wade won the 3,000 meters and Matt Johnsen won the 5,000 meters. In addition, Lamar won the distance medley relay. On the women's side, Samantha Walkow won the mile.
The Lamar men own the fastest times in the conference in three events this spring. Tom Wade has the top times in two events, turning in a clocking of 3 minutes, 47.18 seconds for the 1,500 meters and a time of 8:43.26 for the 3,000-meter steeplechase, which is the eighth fastest in the NCAA this season. Matt Johnsen's time of 29:25.70 for the 10,000 meters is more than 90 seconds better than the second-fastest time in the conference.
Joe Wade has the second-fastest conference times in the 1,500 meters (3:47.92) and 3,000-meter steeplechase (8:58.29). Chris Smith's time of 1:40.08 is the second fastest for the men's 800 meters.
On the women's side, Walkow owns the second-fastest time in the 1,500 meters (4:29.15) and the third-fastest time in the 5,000 meters (17:07.33).
Lamar looks to be in the hunt in some of the women's field events, as Leslie Beard recently set the school record in the pole vault at 11 feet, 7 inches, while Beatrice Douglas has been strong in the long jump and triple jump.
"This is a very competitive conference," Clark said. "You could easily move up or down three places with a good or bad performance in one or two events."
Lamar holds the men's conference records with 124 individual champions and 10 team championships. The Cardinals won nine straight men's team titles from 1978 through 1986, but haven't won a championship since. The Lady Cardinals are seeking their first team title in outdoor track. Lamar has had 15 individual women's champions.
The competition gets under way at 8:30 a.m. Friday with the women's 10,000 meters. Sunday's last event is the men's 4x400-meter relay at 5:40 p.m.
Stephen F. Austin won the men's and women's titles last season.