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Arkansas State track & field looks to defend Sun Belt Outdoor Championships this weekend

Published: May. 11, 2022 at 5:26 PM CDT
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Arkansas State is looking to defend outdoor titles on both the men’s and women’s sides after sweeping last season’s conference meet. A-State has become synonymous with brooms, considering the Red Wolves have taken home two trophies in five of the last seven conference meets in cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field.

The Scarlet and Black has swept five consecutive conference meets in track & field and cross country - 2020 ITF, 2021 XC, 2021 ITF, 2021 OTF and 2022 ITF.

Arkansas State is looking to defend indoor titles on both the men’s and women’s sides after sweeping last season’s conference meet… and the year before. If the Red Wolves are successful, it will mark the back-to-back sweep since former member Western Kentucky swept four in a row from 2008-11.

THE LORD OF THE RING(S)

Great film series. But let’s stick to the real subject: the dynasty that Arkansas State track and field & cross country has become under the leadership of Dr. Jim Patchell, who is entering Thursday with a program-record 20 total conference championships. With two more titles at the conference indoor championships, he passed the great Jay Flanagan for the most in school history. The A-State track and field complex has a ledge at the top of the staircase that holds every Sun Belt trophy, with the most recent one(s) in Patchell’s office. At some point, he’s going to need a new trophy room to fit it all.

CHAMPIONSHIP TRADITION

Dating back to the 2019 outdoor championships, Arkansas State has won 13 of the 16 championships, not finishing lower than third in any. Going back even further since the 2019 indoor championships, the Red Wolves have finished first or second in 16 of the 18 meets. No other school has finished in the top four in every meet during that span.

Since Jim Patchell took over the track and field/cross country program, Arkansas State has won 20 Sun Belt titles. In program history, A-State has won 49 overall conference crowns.

A-State is also tied with Western Kentucky for the most women’s conference titles (7), needing one to become the league’s all-time winningest program. The men are currently second behind Louisiana’s seven, owning five league crowns entering the weekend. The A-State women are also looking to with their third consecutive outdoor title, winning in 2019 and 2021. The 2020 championship wasn’t contested due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Several Arkansas State athletes are in the running (pun intended) for a spot in the NCAA West Prelims held later this month in Fayetteville, Ark. For the men, 10 athletes are currently inside the top 48 in their event, while the women have five athletes ranking in the top 48 of one or more events. Camryn Newton-Smith is currently in qualifying position for the high jump, long jump and javelin.

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