Nelvis and Pienaar earn Sun Belt weekly honors

NEW ORLEANS ( – A pair of Arkansas State University outdoor track and field team members picked up Sun Belt Conference (SBC) weekly honors for their record-setting performances at last weekend's (April 25-26) third annual A-State Red Wolves Open in an announcement made by the conference this Wednesday (April 30).       

Senior Sharika Nelvis received SBC Women's Outdoor Track Athlete of the Week accolades for the third week in a row (April 16, 23 and 30) and freshman Roelf Pienaar was tabbed the conference Men's Field Athlete of the Week in voting by the league's coaches. 

Nelvis, a native of Memphis, Tenn., was crowned the Red Wolves Open champion in both the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes at last Saturday's (April 26) home meet.  Nelvis equaled her personal best in the 100 meters with an 11.27 time and also matched her best-ever 200-meter time of 23.29 to set a new Red Wolves Open record. 

Nelvis' 100-meter dash time ranks first in the Sun Belt Conference this spring to date while tying for sixth in the NCAA Division I West Preliminaries and is tied for 10th place on the NCAA-I National Qualifying list.  Her 200-meter time is second in the conference and 14th among the NCAA West Preliminary leaders.  The two-time (2012-13) U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) NCAA-I Outdoor Track All-America performer currently ranks tied for 22nd place nationally in the 200 meters.          

With the recognition, Nelvis becomes a seven-time conference weekly award recipient for the outdoor season to date and has been honored a combined (indoor and outdoor) 13 times overall during her Red Wolves' career.  A season ago, Nelvis was a four-time conference weekly award winner between the indoor and outdoor campaigns.  She twice (2012-13) has been honored as the Sun Belt Conference's Most Outstanding Women's Track Athlete. 

Pienaar, who hails from Potchefstroom, South Africa, attained first-place honors among 28 participants in the long jump at the A-State Red Wolves Open last Saturday (4/26) with a personal-best and meet record 25-08.25/7.83m distance.  He placed fourth in the triple jump with a 49-03.75/15.03m effort and helped the Red Wolves to a fourth-place showing in the 4x100-meter relay as a result of a 40.48 time. 

Pienaar's long jump performance presently leads the Sun Belt Conference while ranking third best on NCAA West Region Qualifying chart and sixth nationally.  A-State's 4x100-meter relay time at the Red Wolves Open not only represents the conference's fifth fastest time, but is 43rd best in the NCAA West Prelims and ranks 82nd among the national leaders this season.            

Nelvis and Pienaar both claimed USTFCCCA All-America First-Team honors in the 2014 indoor season as a result of their performances at the 2014 NCAA-I Indoor Track and Field Championships held March 14-15 in Albuquerque, N.M.

A-State is now gearing up for the 2014 Sun Belt Conference (SBC) Outdoor Track and Field Championship, which will be held May 9-11 at Texas State University's Bobcat Track and Field Stadium in San Marcos, Texas.

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