BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – For the fourth time in the last five years, the Sam Houston State women's track and field team has bettered the rest of the Southland Conference, claiming the 2018 Southland Conference Indoor Championship on Thursday at the Birmingham CrossPlex.
The win is the sixth all-time indoor title for the Bearkat women, including victories in four of the last five seasons and along with a win by the Bearkat men, completed the school’s third consecutive sweep of the indoor titles.
“It’s a little bit different in that we didn’t have as many catastrophes as we had on the men’s side, but we knew if we did the things that we were capable of doing that we would come home with a championship,” Sam Houston head coach Dave Self said. “I don’t want to say that anything is habit, but sweeping three men’s and women’s titles in a row is really something special. It really shows the hard work that our staff and our team has put in.”
The women dominated their side of things, totaling 123 points to run away with the crown over the rest of the field. Northwestern State would be the next closest competitor, finishing with 95. On the men’s side, they would do things in similar fashion, finishing with 128 total points, easily bettering Stephen F. Austin who finished second with 103.
Camry Grigsby also set a new SLC Indoor meet record, breaking her own record set a year ago with her time of 2:09.30 to win the 800 meters to highlight the day. She now holds the No. 4 and 5 spots in the Southland all-time top five.
The Kats got things started early in the field events, scoring a dozen points in the triple jump. Tristyn Allen just missed out on an individual title with a second-place finish with a jump of 40-08.25 while Darian Bucknor picked up four points in finishing fifth with a leap of 39-00.50.
Cameron Boedeker added four more points with a fourth-place finish in the pole vault, and Margaret Lassalle chipped in with a half point by finishing in a tie for eighth. Makenzie Smajstrla managed to clear 5-05.75 in the high jump, giving the Kats another 1.5 points as well.
The running events would follow midway through the day with Baylee Lara finishing fifth in the 60-meter hurdles in a time of 8.51 and the duo of Rebeca Gonzalez and Meaghen Seales added three points with finishes of seventh and eighth in the mile run.
Sophomore Teona Spivey garnered a silver medal by finishing second in the 400-meter run in a time of 55.95 and Grigsby followed that up with her stellar run, setting a new meet record with a time of 2:09.3 in the 800 meters to take the meet crown.
The Kats also got a big scoring output from its throwers in the shot put as Kristine Hanks, Halie Daniel and Jasmine Kellar combined for 15 points. Hanks finished second in the event with a throw of 50-03.25 while Daniel turned in a fifth-place finish with a toss of 45-07.75. Kellar finished one spot back in sixth with a throw of 45-05.75.
Melicha Smith would add three points with a sixth-place finish in the 200 meters and the Kats would close it out in the 4x400 relay as the team of Spivey, Kenaysia Dixon, Kodii Church and Grigsby turned in a time of 3:45.45 to finish third behind teams from both Northwestern State and Stephen F. Austin.
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.