By Drew Harris | UTAMavs.com
ARLINGTON, Texas – The UT Arlington track and field teams will be battling for the coveted league crowns Monday and Tuesday at the Sun Belt Conference Indoor Track & Field Championship in Birmingham, Ala.
The men finished second at the SBC indoor meet a year ago, while the women placed fourth. The Maverick men suffered a narrow defeat, falling to Arkansas State by three points after heading into the final event tied with the Red Wolves.
This year, both Mavericks squads again have the ability to be in contention late Tuesday afternoon at the Birmingham CrossPlex.
“We’re very optimistic heading into the meet,” UTA coach John Sauerhage said. “We’ve got plenty of scoring opportunities, but we need to limit our mistakes. If we perform like we are capable of, I expect us to be competitive in every event area.”
Craig Lautenslager leads the way for the UTA men. He is currently ranked first in the league in both the 3000 meters and 5000 meters.
Joel Duren enters the meet with the league’s top time in the mile. Other distance runners near the top of the standings include Michael Guerrero in the 3000m (3rd) and Grant Copeland in the mile (3rd).
In the field, UTA record-holder Roland Sales is the top-ranked high jumper in the conference, while Christian Schiemann headlines the chart in the heptathlon.
Three women also will enter the SBC meet with the top seeds in their respective individual events. Tamerah Gorham has the best time in the 800 meters, Gabriela Alfonzo sports the best 5000m clocking and Alexus Henry shares the top perch in the high jump.
In addition, the 4x400m relay squad had the best clocking during the regular season.
In the field events, Madison Pecot is ranked second in the high jump, while Chineme Obikudu is third in the triple jump. Other women in the top three include Taylor Davis in the 400m (3rd) and Porschea Wilson in the 60m hurdles (3rd).
“Our top people have to come through, and others need to find their way into the finals to get us some much-needed points,” Sauerhage said. “We have a lot of respect for everyone in this league, and we know the championship will come down to a few points once again. It’s going to be highly competitive and very exciting from start to finish.”
The heptathlon will kick things off Monday at 9 a.m. Field events get underway at 10 a.m., while running events start at 4:15 p.m.
Four sessions of the 2016 Men's and Women's Indoor Track & Field Championships can be seen live via the Sun Belt web telecast. Session 1 will begin at approximately 2:50 p.m. CT with session 2 scheduled to start at approximately 6:50 p.m. CT. Live coverage on day two begins at 12 p.m. CT for the first session. The final session of the championship on Tuesday will begin at 2:35 p.m. CT. Live action can be viewed by visiting the Indoor Track and Field Championship Central page at http://www.sunbeltsports.org/custompages/champs/indoor/2016/ITF.asp.
Live scoring will also be available via the Sun Belt Conference website. The meet is scheduled to end approximately 4:30 p.m. (CT) on Tuesday.
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