ARLINGTON, Texas -- "Triple crown" conference championships are among the toughest feats for teams to accomplish in college track. But for the second time since joining the Sun Belt Conference in 2014, the UTA men's track and field team did just that, sweeping the SBC's cross country, indoor and outdoor titles during the 2016-17 athletic year.
The achievement is something that had never been pulled off by a Sun Belt team prior to UTA's arrival. As a result of claiming the three team crowns, head coach John Sauerhage snagged a trio of conference Coach of the Year awards to give him a total of 31 during his tenure at UTA.
Three Mavs picked up major national individual honors during the outdoor season. Helen Falda led the way by earning first-team All-America honors by placing eighth in the women's pole vault. In addition, Craig Lautenslager was a second-team All-American in the 5000 meters, while Emeka Nwangwu earned honorable mention accolades.
Between the indoor and outdoor years, the Mavericks established six school records, including four on the women's side.
Other impressive accolades earned by Mavericks included: Joel Duren (Men's Indoor Track Most Outstanding Performer and Meet High Point Scorer), Tobi Fawehinmi (Men's Indoor Field Most Outstanding Performer), Astrid Rosvall (Women's Indoor Track and Field Freshman of the Year) and Justin Domangue (Men's Outdoor Track and Field Most Outstanding Newcomer).
Among the most significant events of the year was UTA's hosting of the SBC Outdoor Championships in May. The site of the final leg of the men's triple crown, also saw a total of eight UTA men and women claim individual conference titles and featured a Maverick Stadium record broken by two UTA women's pole vaulters, Falda and Madison Pecot.
In the fall, the men's cross country team registered its best regional finish in school history, placing third at the NCAA South Central Regional. In addition, recent graduate Lautenslager and rising senior Michael Guerrero became the first Mavericks to advance to the NCAA Championships since 1999. Lautenslager also won the individual conference title in cross country.
Also during the fall, Fawehinmi represented UTA by competing at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The May graduate finished fifth in the long jump in Brazil. He followed that up with a world championship in the triple jump at the 2017 World Para Athletics Championships and a bronze medal in the long jump.
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