T&F: Men complete Sun Belt triple crown by winning outdoor title
May 11, 2014
SAN MARCOS, Texas - The UT Arlington men's track and field team completed its mission, winning the program's first-ever "triple crown" on Sunday at the Sun Belt Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships. The Mavericks had previously won both the cross country title in November and the indoor championship in February in the school's inaugural year in the Sun Belt.
The men's outdoor title was the ninth in school history and the program's first since 2007 when it claimed the Southland Conference crown. Just seven schools in the nation entered the outdoor season having won both the cross country and indoor league championships. No school had won all three sports in the same season in the SBC since 2008 when Western Kentucky achieved the feat.
"It's been a team effort all year from the athletes to the coaches to the staff," coach John Sauerhage said. "I couldn't be happier to be a Maverick tonight. It was a championship we had to win and we came up with clutch performances across the board. We have a group of seniors that wanted it so badly."
UT Arlington finished with 145 points to top its closest competitors Western Kentucky (138) and South Alabama (132). The team entered the day in second place behind South Alabama and was still there early on in the evening hours.
The men's 4x100 relay team started the comeback, however, as the group of Christian Clark, Quentin Butler, Cameron Newson and Clayton Vaughn kicked off the running events by winning the race with a time of 40.03.
A few events later, Vaughn put the Mavericks on top for good (114-106) when he tied for first in the 100m with a wind-aided clocking of 10.11. The All-America sprinter capped his night by netting runner-up honors in the 200 meters (20.47) with the fourth-fastest time in school history.
Roland Sales was the runner up in the high jump after topping the 7-foot mark (7-00.50). His effort was a personal best and matched the fourth-best mark in school history.
Vaughn and Sales were among four Mavericks to take silver on Sunday. In the 110m hurdles, Renan Palma posted a season-best 13.95 to finish second, while Philip Critelli snagged second in the 800 meters (1:55.19).
Three other Mavericks received all-conference recognition for their finishes, as Butler came in third in the 100m (10.25), Emil Blomberg claimed third place in the men's 1500m (3:51.30) and Omar Barnes grabbed the bronze in the triple jump (50-07.25).
Other point scorers on Sunday included: Anthony Hilliman in the 800m (5th, 1:55.73) and 1500m (7th, 3:56.55), Styron Williams in the 400m (5th, 47.84), Craig Lautenslager in the 5000m (5th, 15:15.73), Connor McGuire in the pole vault (6th, 15-06.50), Brandon Waller in the triple jump (7th, 49-08.25), Eric Ojeda in the 5000m (7th, 15:19.15) and Butler in the 200m (8th, 21.01).
"We got the points we needed to at the key times," Sauerhage said. "A lot of things had to go right for us and they did."
On the women's side, the Mavericks placed sixth with 83.5 points, which was just four points out of the fifth position. Western Kentucky finished with 173 to take top honors.
Freshman Tamerah Gorham followed up her indoor 800m individual crown by becoming the SBC champion in the women's 800m (2:11.88). The other championship came courtesy of the women's 4x400 relay team (Shae Johnson, Breonna Baldwin, Ashly Wright and DeAndrea Smith). Their time of 3:39.85 was the second-best clocking in school history.
Three other women earned all-league accolades on the meet's final day. Smith, the school record holder, was the runner up in the 400 meters with a time of 54.52. DeOna Stafford used her second-fastest run ever (13.61) to become the runner up in the 100m hurdles. Additionally, Wright placed third (2:12.87) in the 800 meters.
Three Mavericks continued their strong weekends by scoring again on Sunday. Katelyn Hayward had a fifth-place effort in the 1500m (4:39.01) to add to her previous runner-up showing in the steeplechase. In addition, Gabriela Alfonzo recorded her second top-5 performance of the championships by taking fifth in the 5000m (17:45.62).
Shae Johnson, who took fifth in the heptathlon, placed seventh in the triple jump. Her mark (41-00.25) ranks as the fourth best in school history. She entered the top-5 all-time list in three different events over the weekend.
The other Mavericks to score points in their Sunday events were: Baldwin in the 400m (6th, 56.22), Y'Vonne Kanayo in the 400m (7th, 56.69), Smith in the 200m (7th, 24.15), Kailey Bostic in the 100m (8th, 11.81) and Hannah Nilsson in the 800m (8th, 2:37.58).