ARLINGTON, Texas -- Christian Schiemann's remarkable winning effort in the men's decathlon highlighted a superb all-around day for both UTA men's and women's track and field teams at the Sun Belt Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
Schiemann, who has battled through three major injuries over the last year, moved all the way up from his overnight position of fifth to first over the course of the final five events. The junior registered the top mark in both the pole vault (16-4 ¾) and javelin (197-02) en route to the triumph.
All this in spite of the fact that Schiemann hadn't throw a javelin since undergoing Tommy John surgery a year ago, and hadn't run in six weeks due to a ruptured labrum.
"It feels great, especially after all of the stuff I've been through," Schiemann said. "Yesterday was the first day I put on spikes in six weeks, so I was out of shape. You've just got to open up strong and then have to have it fall in place."
For the women, Alexus Henry made her way to the medal stand twice on Saturday. Her top placement was a runner-up showing in the high jump with a clearance of 5-8 1/2 (1.74 meters). Earlier in the afternoon, the sophomore received a bronze medal in the heptathlon with a personal-best 5,199 points. That point total ranks as the No. 3 mark in school history.
Valery Lavrusha joined Henry on the women's high jump podium with a mark of 5-7 ¼. She earned the bronze medal for her efforts.
Other point scorers for the UTA women included freshman Sara Lennman, who placed fourth in the women's shot put with a throw of 49-07 (15.11m), and Chassity Love, who grabbed seventh in the long jump (19-2 ½).
For the men, Tobi Fawehinmi (23-10 ¾) and Isaiah McBride (23-7 ½) gave UTA a 4-5 finish in the long jump. Additionally, Nicklas Karlsson also scored in the decathlon (7th, 6,267).
"Today was a blessing," Fawehinmi said. "It's my first time ever scoring in the long jump at conference. It means a lot to compete at home, especially in my last conference meet. Just to feed off my teammates and the energy and vibes everywhere, it's awesome."
As a team, the UTA men are in second out of 10 teams with 37 points after seven scored events. Meanwhile, the women sit in fourth among 12 teams with 53 points through nine scored events, and are just 1 ½ points out of second place.
The Mavericks also performed well in the preliminaries of the running events.
Brenden Wallace qualified first in the men's 400m finals with a time of 47.20. He will be joined Sunday by fellow Mavericks Karl Goodman (47.93) and D'Undre Mitchell (48.36).
Three UTA individuals also advanced to the finals in the 800 meters with Erik Martinsson (1:50.10), De'Vion Simpson (1:51.86) and Connor Julian (1:52.24). Martinsson had the top qualifying time on the evening.
"My goal today was to get to the finals, and I did it," Martinsson said. "That is what I wanted to do. I had to save some for tomorrow. I'll leave my soul out on the track."
In the men's 110m hurdles, Emeka Nwangwu (14.02), Petter Gustafsson (14.25) and Victor Fincher (14.35), all advanced. Also for the men, Garrett Moore went through the prelims in the men's 400m hurdles (52.57), as did Demarviae Gray in the 200m (21.19).
The women boast a pair of qualifiers in the 800 meters, led by defending champion Tamerah Gorham, who posted the best preliminary time (2:11.20). Dasia Rolfe (2:12.16) will join Gorham in the race.
"I was just trying to stay in front so I could be able to relax and make it to the final," Gorham said. "Because I was the fastest going into it, I either needed to win the heat or post a fast time. That was my strategy. If I am in front, I can relax a little bit and not have to go all out in the prelim."
In the sprints, Victoria Rimpsey (11.88) and Alexis Baldwin (11.98) are through to finals in the women's 100m. In addition, Brianna McClure in the 400m (54.95) and Emoni Taylor in the 400m hurdles (1:01.97) earned berths into Sunday night's finals.
The final day of the SBC Championships will get underway at 10 a.m. with the men's discus. Other field-event finals include the men's pole vault (12 p.m.), women's discus (12 p.m.), men's triple jump (12:30 p.m.), women's triple jump (3 p.m.) and men's high jump (4 p.m.). The 4x100m relays will kick off the running events at 5 p.m. The final race, the 4x400m, is slated to begin at 8:15 p.m.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for youth ages 5-17. Children under five and students with valid IDs to Sun Belt Conference schools are free. For more information, visit the Championships Central page here.
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