By Drew Harris | UTAMavs.com
GULF SHORES, Ala. -- The UT Arlington men's track and field team repeated as Sun Belt Conference champions after turning in a stellar performance Sunday. The men's conference outdoor title is UTA's 10th all time and the fifth under coach John Sauerhage. It marks the first time that the Mavericks have won back-to-back crowns since 1996-97.
In addition, the women's team improved upon last year's finish by two spots, claiming fourth. The women ended with 90 points in the 10-team field. The UTA men finished with 166 points to post an 18-point victory over second-place Arkansas State.
"We came through with clutch performances in every event area," Sauerhage said. "That's the fun thing about having a complete team. It wasn't one area. It was everyone. Up and down the line we had great performances. We stepped it up. Every coach had heroes we are proud of on both sides."
Clayton Vaughn registered the most impressive performance of the day, clocking a winning time of 9.93 in the 100-meter finals. His time shattered his own school record (10.07) and established a new meet record. It officially ranks as the third-fastest time in the NCAA this year behind times of 9.87 (wind reading of +4.0) and 9.90 (wind reading of +3.3).
Vaughn's clocking occurred with a wind reading of +1.7, making it recognized by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) as the second-fastest time in the world in 2015. The IAAF only accepts times with wind ratings under +2.0.
UTA iced the victory by dominating the evening's 5000-meter run. Craig Lautenslager earned an individual conference title in the event with a clocking of 14:37.19. Teammates Eric Ojeda (14:41.05) and Michael Guerrero (14:43.31) were third and fourth, respectively.
For the women, freshman Taylor Davis earned a league title in style with a personal-best time. Her effort of 54.04 broke the previous UTA record by .01.
In addition, senior Ashly Wright claimed her first-ever conference title by taking the 800 meters (2:07.34). Her clocking established a new Sun Belt meet record. On her heels was teammate Tamerah Gorham (2:09.74), who gave UTA a 1-2 finish.
Davis, Wright and Gorham later joined Dasia Rolfe on the winning 4x400 relay team. The quartet ran a season-best 3:40.37, the third-best time in school history.
In the field, top-seeded Roland Sales took first in the men's high jump with a clearance of 6 feet, 11 1/2 inches.
UTA had three of the top six spots in the men's 200 meters courtesy of Vaughn (3rd, 20.74), Butler (4th, 21.04) and Crear (6th, 21.31).
On the women's side, Gabriela Alfonzo followed up her runner-up showing in the 10,000 meters by taking second in the 5000m (17:11.06). In addition, freshman Chineme Obikudu was the runner up in the women's triple jump, as her mark of 41 feet, 6 inches is third in school history.
Other men's medal performances came from Butler in the 100 meters (3rd, 10.23), Victor Fincher in the 110m hurdles (14.26) and Tobi Fawehinmi in the triple jump (3rd, 49-10). For the women, Hannah Nilsson placed third in the 1500 meters, crossing in 4:34.06.
UTA had a pair of point scorers in the 800 meters when Philip Critelli (1:51.45) and Grayson Birka (1:54.39) placed fourth and seventh, respectively. Two Mavs also scored in the men's pole vault with Dylan Gale placing fifth (16-02) and Connor McGuire eighth (15-08.50).
UTA will next send its qualifying athletes to the NCAA West Preliminary Round in Austin. The meet will be held May 28-30.
Men's Team Standings
1) UT Arlington 166
2) Arkansas State 148
3) Texas State 126
4) South Alabama 121.50
5) UL-Monroe 92
6) UL-Lafayette 74.50
7) Appalachian State 52
8) Arkansas-Little Rock 20
9) Troy 11
Women's Team Standings
1) Arkansas State 138
2) Georgia State 129
2) Texas State 129
4) UT Arlington 90
5) UL-Lafayette 87
6) South Alabama 76
7) Appalachian State 68.50
8) Troy 46
9) UL-Monroe 40
10) Georgia Southern 14.50
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