TRACK TEAMS GEAR UP FOR 2008 SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS
May 8, 2008
ARLINGTON, Texas - - By looking at the top performances in the Southland Conference this track and field season, you could argue that the UT Arlington men stand as good a chance as anybody to capture a second consecutive SLC Outdoor Track and Field Championship.
*Jarid Vaughan and Cordero Gray have turned in two of the Top Five times in the conference this season in the 100 meters.
*Gray, Vaugan and Takeshi Fujiwara give the Mavericks three of the Top 10 times in the 200.
*Eddie Beckwith and Fujiwara are second and third, respectively, in the 400 meters.
*Idilio Campos turned in a personal-best time last week in the 800, and that time ranks as the fastest in the conference this season.
*Campos and Ozie Hood raced their way to two of the league's fastest times in the 1,500 meters.
*The 4x100 is the second-fastest in the league.
*The 4x400 has been the fastest.
On paper, it looks like the Mavericks have enough firepower to score, but Maverick coach John Sauerhage says it all depends on one thing: how hungry his bunch is for a championship. Sauerhage and the Mavericks won a thrilling one-point victory against UTSA last season, capturing a championship in the final race of the day. It put UTA's men back in the winner's circle for the first time in a decade.
But the Mavericks lost three national qualifiers off that team, including sprinter Jared Connaughton.
"We had a lot of seniors on that squad, guys who really wanted to win and conference championship and would do anything they could to get it done," Sauerhage said. "This group might have that, but you never know until you get to the meet and see how they handle themselves. The first time they see adversity, how are they going to handle it? We certainly have the depth to get it done, and there are about five times that could win it, but it all depends on how hungry they are."
On the women's side, the Mavericks are led by superstar sophomore Jasmine Walls.
Wall, a sprinter from Pearland, ran an 11.67 at the Michael Johnson Classic in April to lock down the best time in the conference in the 100 meters. Her 23.51 in the 200 is also the best in the league. The Maverick women have been strong this outdoor season in the 800 meters, turning in three of the league's Top 10 times. Helga Hardardottir leads the pack with a time of 2:15.32.
In the 1,500 meters, the Mavericks will look to Carranda Mose for points, and senior Angela Gonzalez will be counted on in the long jump.
"Our women are young, but with what we have right now, I think we have a chance to finish in the top five," Sauerhage said. "We have some recruits coming in that will make our women's team a lot better next year, but it will be good for these young athletes to experience what the conference meet is all about."
The SLC meet gets underway Friday morning at 9:30 a.m. with the women's decathlon events.
Saturday's field events begin at 1 p.m. with running events starting at 5 p.m.
On Sunday's final day, field events begin at 1 p.m. with running events at 5 p.m. The final event of the day, the men's 4x400-meter relay is scheduled for 7:40 p.m.