BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The UTA men’s track team narrowly came up short in its attempt to defend its Sun Belt Conference Indoor title on Tuesday at the Birmingham CrossPlex, falling to Arkansas State 145-143 in an epic battle. It is the eighth straight year that the Mavericks have placed first or second at an indoor league championship.
The women’s team placed third with 85 points, the squad’s second straight top-3 finish at the meet. Both squads had a number of standout performances.
"The men had a great meet, but in the end it just wasn't enough points. We had some heroic performances and a few setbacks, but we made progress in the sprints and jumps, and it will show up even more outdoors," UTA coach John Sauerhage said. "The women really hung in and grinded out a third-place finish. We're looking to build on this for the outdoor season."
In the meet’s final event, the men’s 4x400m quartet picked up a dramatic come-from-behind win. Its final two runners, David Seastrunk and Brenden Wallace, made a huge charge to post a winning time of 3:14.64 and score 10 points. However, Arkansas State, which entered the event with a six-point lead, finished third to score six points, enough to hold off the Mavericks.
Joel Duren, who won the 3000 meters on Monday night, claimed the league crown in the mile (4:09.78) on Tuesday afternoon. It was the second straight year that Duren pulled off the grueling double. His mile time was a personal best and ranks as the No. 5 clocking in school history, edging his time from a week ago by less than half a second.
The Mavericks claimed all the spots on the podium in the men’s 400 meters. Seastrunk was the league champion with a clocking of 47.53, which is tied for the third-best time in school annals.
Additionally, Emeka Nwangwu claimed the 60m hurdles with a time of 7.97, just .03 off the Sun Belt Championship record. Michael Guerrero took the men's 5000m with a 14:41.01 in a dramatic sprint to the finish.
For the women, Alexus Henry had a record-setting performance en route to the pentathlon championship. She totaled 3,895 points to break her own school record by more than 200 points and finish more than 150 points clear of second place. During the competition, Henry also equaled the SBC pentathlon high jump mark of 5-11 ½, which she had established in 2016.
Madison Pecot also was victorious for UTA. Pecot soared to the individual title in the pole vault, clearing 12-7 ½ (3.85m) on her final attempt. Tori Shelton was the runner up in the 5000 meters, crossing the line in 17:33.32.
A number of other UTA athletes also spent time on the podium. Wallace (47.92) and Erik Martinsson (47.98) took the silver and bronze places in the 400m. Martinsson also was second in the 800m in 1:51.80, while Petter Gustafsson took the bronze in the 60m hurdles (8.07).
Justin Domangue placed fifth in both the mile (4:13.06) and the 5000m (14:46.46) for the Mavericks. Other fifth-place finishers included Deontre Haynes in the 60m (6.86) and Victor Bocanegra in the 800m (1:53.33).
The remaining point scorers for the men were Seastrunk in the 200m (6th, 21.59), D’Undre Mitchell in the 400m (6th, 48.98), Joshua Canete in the high jump (6th, 6-6 ¼), Isaiah McBride in the 60m (7th, 6.99), Victor Fincher in the 60m hurdles (7th, 8.28) and Cole Klashinsky in the 5000m (8th, 15:15.50).
Back to the women, Astrid Rosvall earned the bronze medal in the 800m with a time of 2:12.30. She finished just .19 out of first as she was attempting to defend her title in the event. Rosvall also took fifth place in the mile (4:57.77).
Other point scorers for the women were: Chineme Obikudu in the triple jump (4th, 40-8 ¾), Erica Cormier-Jordan in the 200m (5th, 24.67), Victoria Rimpsey in the 60m (6th, 7.68), Taylor Davis in the 400m (6th, 56.37), Juleen Lewis in the triple jump (7th, 39-3 ¼) and Chloe Lewis in the shot put (8th, 44-11 ¾).
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