UAPB Track and Field Finished In The Top Five At SWAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships
After starting the day in seventh place, the Golden Lions rode a blistering mark from the 4X400 meter men’s relay team to finish fourth overall with 99 points. Alabama State ultimately held off Jackson State to win the meet with 176.5 points. The Tigers were second with 169.5 points while Prairie View A&M was third with 126.
On the women’s side, the Lady Lions took home fifth-place honors with 73 points, one point less than Texas Southern for the fourth spot. The Lady Hornets won the title with 177.5 points, which was 23 points more than second-place Prairie View A&M had. Grambling State was third with 101 points.
Both UAPB men’s and women’s track and field team have a reason to be optimistic about their chances for next season, particularly with rosters dotted with underclassmen. Freshman Safiya John, who won the heptathlon Saturday, was named the Most Outstanding Women’s Field performer three months after winning the same honor at the SWAC Indoor Track and Field Championships. Freshman Jyzmin Gray too had promising outings Sunday with a sixth-place finish in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 14.32 and a fifth-place ending in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:03.86. Sophomore Arjai Johnson was right behind Gray in the latter, landing sixth, crossing the finish line at 1:04.02. Junior Camiya Knight was sixth in the 400-meter dash with a time of 55.97.
In the 800 meter run, sophomore Je-Risa James finished in the top seven with a time of 2:19.35, followed by senior Ajani Betha-Nurse in the eighth slot in the 1500 meter run with a time of 5:01.30.
In the field events, senior Sabrina Hollins placed third in the women’s discus with a mark of 45.26m. John placed sixth in the triple jump with a mark of 11.54m and fourth in the high jump with a leap of 1.63m.
For the Golden Lions, senior Miles Dortch matched John’s award by being named the men’s Most Outstanding Field Performer. The Kansas native won the distinction in 2017 as well.
Junior Wade Garner started UAPB’s closing push by claiming the top spot in the 800 with a winning time of 1:49.65, followed by senior Laurel Heath in fourth with a time of 1:51.53 and junior Romario Marshall placing sixth at 1:53.35. The men’s 4×400-meter relay team (Laural Heath, Malique Smith, Rasheed McAlpin and Wade Garner) added to the team’s first-place haul with a time of 3:07.67.
The senior McAlpin also ended the meet on a high note with a second-place showing in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 51:45. Senior Malique Smith, McAlpin’s classmate, grabbed sixth in 53.52. Junior Romario Marshall placed second in the 1,500 meters with a time of 4:05.23 while junior Rodney Griffin, placed fifth in the 400 meters crossing the finish line at 48.04.
In the field events senior Travis Bibbs, a Houston native continues to leave his mark in the conference by winning the triple jump with a leap of 15.39m which ranks him 48th in the nation. Dortch also placed third in the men’s discus with a distance of 44.89m and junior Shevon Phipps placed fourth in the men’s high jump with a leap of 1.98m.
Next up for several UAPB student-athletes will be the first round of the NCAA Track and Field Championships on May 23-25 in Sacramento, Calif.