BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – For the third consecutive season the Sam Houston State Bearkat men’s track and field team claimed the men’s team title at the Southland Conference Indoor Championships on Thursday at the Birmingham CrossPlex.
The win is their third title in its history - all coming in the last three seasons - and along with a win by the Bearkat women, completed the school’s third straight sweep of both indoor crowns.
“This is a great accomplishment, especially with the women to sweep three years in a row, I’m so very proud of everyone,” Sam Houston head coach Dave Self said after the win. “I told the team it wasn’t the prettiest championship we ever won, but we had some people who really got in the trenches and we never quit. We never quit and we kept doing the things we were capable of doing. The end results speak for themselves.”
In no surprise, Tyler Adams closed out his fourth consecutive SLC Indoor title in the heptathlon. The senior won yesterday’s 60-meter dash to take the early lead in the event and never gave it back. His time of 8.17 seconds won the heptathlon’s 60-meter hurdles to open competition on Thursday before finishing fourth in the pole vault and cruising to 11th in the 1,000-meter run to close it out. He would finish with a total of 5,544 points, the third highest in the history of the conference meet.
He would finish as the men’s high-point scorer for the meet, contributing a conference-record 34 points to the Bearkats’ 128 total points, leaving with three gold medals after also claiming the high jump and long jump on Wednesday. He smashed the old conference record of 27 points set in 1994 and is the third Bearkat to claim the honor as the men’s high-point scorer and the first since Courtney Boston did so with 20.5 points in the 2004 indoor meet.
“There are not enough good words to say about Tyler Adams,” Self said. “The kid comes in and scores 34 points, wins the high jump, wins the long jump, wins the heptathlon and still he’s in the middle of things to be on the awards stand in the 60 hurdles. He’s the kind of kid you build teams around and that you win championships with.”
Joshua Hernandez, Fabian McCall and Chris Jefferson would also bring home individual titles of their own. Hernandez would toss 64-04.5 feet to win the weight toss by nearly two full feet, while McCall was the only athlete to run a time under eight seconds in the 60-meter hurdles, taking the title with a run of 7.90 seconds.
But it was Jefferson who would take home multiple titles, doing so in both the 60-meter and 200-meter dashes. He would get his first with a run of 6.72 seconds in the 60 before turning around less than two hours later to post a meet-record time of 21.07 seconds for first place in the 200, a mark that is the second fastest in the history of the league.
It was Hernandez who opened up the day with 10 points for his first-place finish in the weight throw while Aaron Akens added four points with a fifth-place finish in the same event.
The Kats would run away with 15 points in the 60-meter hurdles, led by McCall’s winning effort. Adams would add four points to his meet total with a fifth-place crossing while Zachary Johnson gave Sam Houston a point with an eighth-place finish.
Johnson would pick up eight more points with a second-place finish in the long jump after his jump of 49-09.25, an effort that came right after the first of Jefferson’s two titles on the day, this one in the 60-meter dash.
Ethan Woods got a point on the board with a berth in the finals of the 400 meters and Sam would add 16 more points two events later in the 200. Jefferson held off Northwestern State’s Amir James for that event’s title, just ahead of Lawrence Coleman who came in third with a time of 21.40 seconds.
The Kats would finish off their scoring with a third-place finish in the 4x400 as Zachary Gasca, Eric Pouncy, McCall and Coleman turned in a time of 3:15.94 to finish behind both Stephen F. Austin and Abilene Christian.
The top three finishers in each event final are recognized as First, Second and Third Team All-Conference, respectively. Individual men’s and women’s awards for Coach of the Year, Outstanding Running Events Performer, Outstanding Field Events Performer, Freshman of the Year, Newcomer of the Year and Athlete of the Year will be nominated and voted upon by head coaches next week.
For athletes that achieved qualifying marks this season, the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships will be hosted by Texas A&M from March 9-10 at the Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium in College Station.