JONESBORO, Ark. – After the first day of competition, the Arkansas State men and the Middle Tennessee women are in the lead at the 2011 Sun Belt Indoor Track & Field Championships in Jonesboro, Ark., hosted by Arkansas State University.
The Red Wolves lead the men's team scores with 43 points, followed by North Texas with 41. Louisiana-Lafayette, who had the lead toward the end of the evening, is in third with 38 points. Western Kentucky (32), FIU (25), Middle Tennessee (22), UALR (20), and South Alabama and ULM tied with 6 points each round out the rest of the scores.
On the women's side, the Blue Raiders and Lady Toppers are in the lead with 41 points each, with Arkansas State in third (25). Florida Atlantic (20), FIU (16), North Texas (15.5), ULM (12.5), Troy (12), South Alabama (8), and UALR and Louisiana-Lafayette tied at two points round out the women's team scores.
The top three finishers in the finals of each event are considered All-Sun Belt Conference.
FIU freshman Branden Todd won the men's long jump with a mark of 7.33m (24-3/4 ft). Western Kentucky senior Toms Andersons was the runner-up in the event with a mark of 7.28m (23-10 3/4 ft). North Texas freshman Terrance Williams also leaped to a 7.28m distance, good enough for third.
In the women's high jump, Middle Tennessee sophomore Ann Dudley came in first, leaping to a 1.70m (5-7 ft) mark. Fellow Blue Raider senior Cherice Robertson followed in second with the same distance. In third was South Alabama sophomore Noelle Jones with 1.65m (5-5 ft).
ULM senior Lakeitha Elmore took the women's shot put title, coming in first with a 14.80m (48-6 3/4 ft) mark. WKU junior Monteka Flowers was a close runner-up with a toss of 14.79m (48-6 1/4 ft) followed by FIU senior Brittany Smith, who came in third with a 13.72m (45-1/4 ft) toss.
Arkansas State freshman Ethan Sandusky won the men's pole vault competition, leaping to a 5.20m (17-3/4 ft) distance. Senior Jordan Wehr from North Texas was the runner-up with a 4.90m (16-3/4 ft) distance and ASU sophomore John Ellis grabbed third with 4.75m (15-7 ft).
In the women's long jump, MTSU senior Kortney Thomas took the individual title with a 6.19m (20-3 3/4 ft) leap. WKU took second and third place in the event with freshman Antquinita Reed recording a 6.15m (20-2 1/4 ft) distance followed closely by junior Sharika Smith with 6.14m (20-1 3/4 ft), respectively.
Louisiana-Lafayette sophomore Myles Melancon earned the men's shot put title with a winning throw of 17.09m (56-1 ft). Fellow Cajun senior Jacob Domingue was the runner-up with a throw of 16.88m (55-4 3/4 ft). FIU freshman Tyson Kemp earned third with a throw of 15.59m (51-1 3/4 ft).
In the final field event of the evening, junior Antwain Keyes of Louisiana-Lafayette won the men's high jump competition, marking a distance of 2.07m (6-9 1/2 ft). North Texas junior Jermaine Jamison was the runner-up with a score of 2.02m (6-7 1/2 ft), and ULL senior Brent Adams came in third with a distance of 2.02m also.
FIU's Todd leads the men's heptathlon after Day 1 with 2,878 points. The men's long jump winner had the second-best mark in the long jump with 6.85m (22-5 3/4 ft).The freshman had the second-fastest time in the 55 Meter Dash and the second-highest mark in the high jump with 1.53m (5-1/4 ft).
The second and third place holders are just one point apart. North Texas' Jordan Wehr is in second with 2,753 points. Wehr had the best leap in the high jump with 1.96m (6-5 ft). Arkansas State's Taylor Short is in third with 2,752 points after posting the second-best mark in the long jump with 6.72m (22-1/2 ft) and the third-best throw in the shot put with 12.22m (40-1 1/4ft).
In the men's 3000 Meter, Middle Tennessee junior Justus David won the title, clocking in a time of 8:26.68. David was followed by a pair of Hilltoppers in second and third, sophomore Shadrack Kipchirchir at 8:26.89 and freshman David Mokone at 8:28.35, respectively.
On the women's side, Florida Atlantic senior Friederike Feil grabbed the 3000 Meter title with a time of 9:34.11, setting a new Sun Belt Indoor Championship record. The previous record was 9:35.11 set by Ida Nilsson of UALR in 2001. Grabbing second place, Arkansas State freshman Kristina Aubert clocked in at 9:43.21 followed by FAU junior Rebecca Hallam, 9:47.52.
Arkansas State won the men's Distance Medley Relay. The quartet of seniors Terell Pigram, Ray Henderson and James Ngwiri and freshman Richard Williams clocked in the winning time of 10:25.52. Ngwiri was neck-and-neck with FIU's Sebastian Castillo until Castillo dropped the baton. Ngwiri was able to sprint to the finish and seal the win for the Red Wolves. Castillo was able to dash to the finish line to grab second place for the Panthers to clock in a team time of 10:26.91. UALR came in third with a time of 10:28.79.
WKU won the women's DMR in 12:11.29, led by sophomore Madison Hale, junior Monica Akello, freshman Gelela Cooley and senior Vasity Chemweno. North Texas was the runner-up (12:15.45), followed by Arkansas State in third (12:18.22).
Nine runners from each the men's and women's sides qualified for the 800 Meter Finals for Monday. Leading the way for the men is senior Festus Chemaoi, who recorded the top time with 1:55.10, followed by WKU freshman David Makone (1:56.33) and FIU senior Pedro Bigorra (1:56.71) with the second and third-fastest time, respectively.
UALR freshman Sanna Mustonen had the top time for the women in the 800M trials, clocking in at 2:14.85. Rounding out the top three were from WKU, senior Vasity Chemweno (2:14.99) and junior Monica Akello (2:15.60).
The top ten finishers in each of the preliminaries of the running events (except for the 800 Meters) qualified for Monday's finals.
Leading the way in the men's 400 Meter Dash preliminaries was MT sophomore Noah Akwu at a time of 48.57, followed by ULM junior Keyon Jones (48.82) and MT freshman Steven Palmer (48.88). The top five qualifiers in the event all finished with the 48 second mark.
For the women, North Texas senior Ciara Smith led the way in the 400M trials by clocking in at 55.60. Sophomores Ja-Courtney Alexander of Troy and Amber Jackson of Middle Tennessee followed with times of 56.25 and 56.77, respectively. All of the top five qualifiers finished within the 56 second mark.
The top three qualifiers in the men's 55 Meter Dash trials are just hundredths of a second apart. Middle Tennessee freshman Kenneth Gilstrap and UALR junior Demond Burns led the way by clocking in at 6.34. ULM junior Luther Ambrose had the third-best time with 6.36, and WKU's junior Cailean Robinson and senior Dante Sales rounded out the top five qualifiers with times of 6.41 and 6.46, respectively.
Arkansas State freshman Sharika Nelvis had the top time in the women's 55M prelims with 6.94, followed by FIU sophomore Marissa McElveen at 7.02 and North Texas senior Alysha Adams with 7.08.
WKU took the top two times in the men's 55 Meter Hurdles prelims. Sophomore Karlis Daube had the top men's time with 7.51 followed by junior Marcus Pope with 7.62. Arkansas State sophomore Soloman Williams rounded out the top three with 7.73.
In the women's 55 Meter Hurdles trials, reigning Indoor and Outdoor champion North Texas senior Alysha Adams clocked in the best time with 7.72, followed by ASU freshman Sharika Nelvis with 7.79 and ULL senior Jasmine Anderson with 7.83.
In the final trials of the evening, UALR junior Demond Burns led the men in the 200 Meter Dash with a time of 21.40, followed by MTSU sophomore Noah Akwu (21.46) and North Texas freshman Clinton Collins (21.69).
For the women, ULL senior Jasmine Anderson took the lead in the 200 Meter by clocking in at 24.57. Troy sophomore Ja-Courtney Alexander (24.58) and NT senior Alysha Adams (24.60) rounded out the top three.