By Drew Harris | UTAMavs.com
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The UT Arlington men's and women's teams had a number of standout and record-setting performances Tuesday as the Sun Belt Conference Indoor Track & Field Championship came to a close.
The Maverick men finished a tightly contested team race with 113.5 points, just 14 points behind champion Texas State. The UTA women, hampered by some untimely injuries and bad luck, totaled 65 points to place sixth.
"We competed at a high level, we just came up short in too many events and couldn't take advantage of some of our top performances," UTA coach John Sauerhage said. "We have a good women's team and they deserved a higher finish as well. It's just kind of the way it goes. It's a very good conference and you have to be at your best to win each and every year."
Roland Sales continued his impressive senior season by repeating as the SBC indoor high jump champ. He cleared 7 feet, 2 ¼ inches, which is just a quarter of an inch shy of his school record established earlier this season.
In addition, Craig Lautenslager added another conference individual title to his resume by winning the men's 5000 meters with a time of 14:43.57. He led a trio of Mavericks, all of whom finished on the podium within one second of each other. Eric Ojeda claimed second place (14:43.91) and Michael Guerrero was third (14:44.42).
Anamarija Petters (2:12.85) was the closest to a crown on the women's side, as she was the runner up in the 800 meters after being edged at the tape by .02. In addition, Katelyn Hayward was the second-place finisher in the mile by just a second with a time of 4:57.18.
The women's 4x400m time of 3:44.30 set a new school record, breaking the mark of 3:44.65 set in 2013. The runner-up clocking posted by Taylor Davis, Shaniece Prevot, Dasia Rolfe and Tamerah Gorham was also the second-fastest time in SBC Championship history.
Davis added individual all-conference honors by snagging third in the women's 400m with a clocking of 55.91, the fourth-best indoor time in school history.
The men also had a silver medal finish in the 4x400m (3:12.15). D'Undre Mitchell, De'Vion Simpson, Brenden Wallace and Erik Martinsson finished just .11 out of the top spot. Tobi Fawehinmi nabbed third in the men's triple jump with a personal-best indoor leap of 50 feet 1 ¼ inches, the No. 3 mark in school history. In addition, Joel Duren placed third in the mile with a time of 4:13.90 to claim all-league accolades.
The final record set came courtesy of freshman Alexus Henry, who broke her own UTA high jump record with a clearance of 5 feet, 11½ inches. It occurred during the pentathlon, and shattered the SBC record in the high jump portion of that event.
Making a Point
Porschea Wilson, who set a new school standard Monday in the prelims (8.58), placed fourth in the women's 60m hurdles, just off her record time with an 8.60. Gabriela Alfonzo crossed the line fifth in the women's 5000 meters with a time of 17:12.37. For the men, Emeka Nwangwu was sixth in the 60m hurdles (8.21).
Making More than a Point
Freshman Kaitlyn Miller placed seventh in the pentathlon with 3,355 points, a new personal best and the No. 4 mark in UTA history. Tricia Williams also had a seventh-place showing in the shot put (46 feet, 11 inches) and also cracked the top 5 in school history with the fourth-best throw in school annals.
For the men, Grayson Birka (5th, 4:16.39) and Grant Copeland (6th, 4:16.74) scored for the Mavs in the mile. In the 400m, D'Undre Mitchell took sixth (49.91) and Karl Goodman was seventh (50.96), while De'Vion Simpson (1:54.50) and Grayson Birka (1:56.61) were sixth and seventh, respectively, in the 800 meters.
Newcomer Alexis Baldwin was a two-event scorer for the Mavericks on Tuesday as she placed fifth in the 60 meters (7.60) and eighth in the 200 meters (24.67).
About to Close the Door on Indoor
UTA has wrapped up its indoor team slate, but now must wait for the remaining conference championship meets to conclude to find out whether any Mavericks will advance to the 2016 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships. Roland Sales has the best chance, as he currently ranks tied for sixth nationally in the high jump.
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Sun Belt Track Championships Central