GULF SHORES, AL (astateredwolves.com) – The Arkansas State University women's track and field program earned its first Sun Belt Conference outdoor championship since 2001 at the 2015 Sun Belt Conference Track & Field Championships that concluded Sunday.
The A-State women, which finished second in the indoor championships, tallied 138 points in the three-day meet to finish nine points clear of second place Georgia State. The Red Wolves men's team, winners of the 2015 SBC Indoor Track &Field Championship, earned a runner-up finish with 148 points. Defending outdoor champion, UT Arlington picked up their second-straight title with 166 points.
A-State sophomore Roelf Pienaar was the men's top scorer with 22 points. Pienaar won the long jump on Saturday and had the winning leap (15.61m/51-02.75), a personal-best, in the triple jump on Sunday.
Pienaar also ran the final leg of the 4x100m relay that finished second.
The A-State women entered the final two events with 120 points, trailing Georgia State (123 points) and Texas State (121 points) by a narrow margin. With the 5,000-meter run and 4x400m relay remaining, the Red Wolves relied on their distance team to separate from the field.
Senior Rexi Parcells took third place with a time of 17:13.96 for six points and all-conference honors. Junior Abbey Dixon crossed the line in 17:30.05 for fifth place and senior Tilda Helgesson was on her heels to grab sixth place (17:31.21). The trio combined to earn A-State 13 points in the event, enough for a 10-point cushion heading into the 4x400m relay.
A-State claimed the women's championship with a fourth place finish in the 4x400m relay (3:48.24). With the finish, the Red Wolves added five points to finish with the total of 138.
The men's squad trailed by one point entering the 5,000-meter run but first, third and fourth place finishes in the event clinched the title for UT Arlington. A-State closed the day with a 4x400m relay time of 3:12.32 to claim third place.
The Red Wolves 4x100m relay blistered the track with a time of 39.83 seconds to break the school record that had held since 1982. Joey Meyer, Jaylen Bacon, Elijah Ross and Roelf Pienaar legged out the time and A-State finished second for eight points and a total of 89 through eight events.
The A-State women's 4x100m relay team finished third, but posted a time of 45.83 seconds to set a new school record. Shalynn Cyprien, Kristina Knott, De'Airis Weakley and Emenderlyn Iwuji helped A-State finish third for six points and 77 total for the meet with 12 events final.
A-State has an illustrious history in the pole vault and senior Ethan Sandusky cemented his legacy with the Red Wolves with a Sun Belt Conference Outdoor Championship record 5.45m (17-10.50) vault to claim the individual title. With the vault, Sandusky is first to vault 5.45m or better since Jon Kelley (5.50m) in 1992 and it is the seventh-best vault in A-State history.
In the women's 1,500-meter run, Rexi Parcells set a fierce pace and ran away with a new school record with a time of 4:30.71 to finish second. On the men's side, Rickus Jacobs finished fifth (3:54.38) to add four points and get A-State to 100 points for the meet.
Emenderlyn Iwuji grabbed all-conference honors in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.75 seconds to finish second. Shalynn Cyprien finished eighth (14.51) and the duo added nine points for the Red Wolves. Billy Ellis picked up five points with a fourth-place 110-meter hurdles time of 14.52 seconds.
Senior Joey Meyer took second place to earn all-conference honors in the 400-meter dash with a time of 47.19 seconds. Freshman Travius Chambers sprinted to a fifth place mark of 47.93 seconds. Freshman Keturah Smith posted the third-fastest 400-meter dash time in A-State history (54.23) to claim third place honors. Sophomore Erika Chrisitan came in sixth (56.22) helping the Red Wolves add nine more points.
Freshman Jaylen Bacon sped to a time of 10.10 seconds in the 100-meter dash to place second. The time ranks the second-fastest in A-State history. Kristina Knott sprinted 100-meters in 11.65 seconds to earn second place in the event. De'Airis Weakley took eighth place in 11.93 seconds and the pair added nine points to the Red Wolves total.
Knott also took second in the 200-meter dash with a personal-best time of 23.72 seconds. Bacon posted a personal-best time of 20.71 seconds in the men's 200-meter dash to finish second. Joey Meyer finished seventh with a time of 21.38 seconds.
Zach VanGundy picked up four valuable points for the Red Wolves in the 800m run with a time of 1:53.39 for fifth place.
A-State used the last throwing event of the championship meet to garner eight points in the women's discus throw and six points on the men's side. Freshman Calea Carr (52.36m/171-09) and sophomore Kiarra Simpson (47.79m/156-09) each posted personal-bests to finish third and seventh, respectively. Senior Richard Chavez earned his second medal of the meet (shot put winner) with a third place finish in the discus throw with a throw of 53.28m (174-10).
The last field event on the men's side was the high jump and the Red Wolves had three athletes combine for seven points. Freshman Tiaan Steenkamp took fifth place (2.00m/6-06.75) while Clint Ligon and David Phillips took seventh and eighth, respectively.
Next up for the A-State track and field program will be the NCAA West Regional in Austin, Texas, May 28-30. The list of qualified athletes will be announced following completion of all conference championships.
All-Confrence Winners (1st, 2nd, or 3rd Place)
Kristina Knott – 100m Dash (2nd), 200m Dash (2nd), 4x100m Relay (3rd)
Keturah Smith – 400m Dash (3rd)
Rexi Parcells – 1,500m Run (2nd), 5,00m Run (3rd)
Emenderlyn Iwuji – 100m Hurdles (2nd), 4x100m relay (3rd)
Tilda Helgesson – 3,000m Steeplechase (3rd)
Shalynn Cyprien – 4x100m relay (3rd)
De'Airis Weakley – 4x100m relay (3rd)
Darragh May – High Jump (1st)
Ivery Guyton – High Jump (3rd)
Alexandra Pevtsova – Pole Vault (2nd)
Calea Carr – Discus Throw (3rd)
Savannah Hutchinson – Heptahlon (2nd)
Jaylen Bacon – 100m dash (2nd), 200m Dash (2nd), 4x100m relay (2nd), 4x400m relay (3rd)
Joey Meyer – 400m dash (2nd), 4x100m relay (2nd), 4x400m relay (3rd)
Wil Norris – 10,000m run (3rd)
Elijah Ross – 4x100m relay (2nd)
Henry Offiah – 4x400m relay (3rd)
Travius Chambers – 4x400m relay (3rd)
Roelf Pienaar – Long Jump (1st), Triple Jump (1st), 4x100m relay (2nd)
Richard Chavez – Shot Put (1st), Discus Throw (3rd)