ARLINGTON, Texas – UTA’s record-setting 1-2 finish in the women’s pole vault and Michael Guerrero’s victory in the men’s 10,000 meters highlighted day one of the much-anticipated Sun Belt Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships Friday at Maverick Stadium.
UTA freshman Helen Falda and junior Madison Pecot engaged in an epic showdown as both bested the Maverick Stadium record. Falda ultimately emerged with the victory in a jump-off after clearing 13-7 ¾ (4.16m) twice. Pecot topped the bar once in three tries.
Falda, who was battling an eye infection, also won the indoor league title in the pole vault during her standout rookie season. She enjoyed the challenge of competing against her friend.
"I jumped and I did my best," Falda said. "It is good (to have a jump-off) because that means that we are the best. We are together every day and we support each other a lot."
The teammates now share the facility record. Falda had set the previous mark (13-3 ½) at the Bobby Lane Invitational.
"I felt good," Pecot said. "I'm happy with how the competition turned out. I wished I had pulled it out in the end, but I'm happy for Helen. We push each other, so it was a really great day. I'm thankful to have her for a teammate, for sure."
Guerrero posted a 10k time of 30:14.62 to win the event by 12 seconds. The junior was in second place with four laps to go before making his winning kick and cruising to his first-ever conference individual crown. It was redemption for Guerrero who narrowly missed indoor titles in the 3000m and 5000m.
“I said 'not again' so this was really satisfying,” Guerrero said. “After indoor, through social media, we (Joseph Meade) were talking and I said he should be ready for the 10k, that I wasn't going to let him out-kick me again."
Alexus Henry is in first place after the first day of the heptathlon with 3,333 points. Henry had the top score (879) in her signature event, the high jump. In addition, she was third in the 200 meters and had a personal record in the 100m hurdles with a time of 14.50.
"What is important for tomorrow is resting, recovering and getting ready," Henry said. "Tomorrow my goal is to maintain first place, hopefully hit some PRs and remain competitive."
Christian Schiemann is in the fifth position in the men’s decathlon with 3,428 points. He had the top shot put mark with a throw of 45-1 1/2. Teammate Nicklas Karlsson is also in scoring position in the decathlon (7th, 3,148).
As a team, the UTA women sit in second among 12 teams with 26 points. The men are in third out of 10 teams (16 points).
Day two of the SBC Championships will get underway at 9 a.m. with the remainder of the men’s decathlon. The women’s heptathlon resumes at 9:30 a.m. Other final events on Saturday include the women’s long jump (12:30 p.m.), women’s shot put (3 p.m.) women’s high jump (3 p.m.), men’s long jump (3 p.m.) and men’s shot put (6 p.m.).
Running preliminary events start at 5 p.m. For more information, visit the Championships Central page here.
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