UAPB Track And Field Secure Multiple Top Podium Spots at the 2022 SWAC Outdoor Championships

Safiya John

PRAIRIE VIEW, TX – In a tremendously warm climate with great competition, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff men’s and women’s track and field teams completed a great weekend of competition at the SWAC (Southwestern Athletic Conference) Outdoor Championships held on the Prairie View A&M campus.

Che Rochford and Franklyn Stanislaus completed their competition in the men’s decathlon on the men’s side.

In the decathlon 110-meter hurdles, Stanislaus added 802 points to his total after a clocking 15.40 seconds to finish second in the hurdles.

Heading over to the discus throw, Rochford demonstrated great speed and power and a great technique that would earn him 556 points with a leading throw of 34.62 meters. Stanislaus’ 33.02-meter throw added 524 to his total with the third farthest throw.

In what may seem to be the most challenging event of the decathlon, Stanislaus’ found a way to plummet himself over 3.35 meters in the pole vault competition with the second-highest jump to add 444 points.

Rochford would head over to the javelin throw, showing power, strength, and speed. Putting countless hours of work into this event led him to land one of the top throws, marking a second-place 43.82-meter throw to add 498 points to his total.

In the decathlon’s final event, competitors would be forced to find a strategy in their race and breathing in the 1500-meter run. However, Rochford – a sprinter at heart, would not back down from the challenge. Clocking a time of 4:50.53 to finish second in the race earned Rochford a gold medal in the event with 6269 points, with his teammate, Stanislaus, in third place with 6117 points to sport a bronze medal around his neck.

Over to the women’s multi’s, sensation Safiya John and Jalynn Hampton had three more events to complete.

In the long jump, John was set to easily dominate her competition to punch a 6.01-meter jump to gain a massive 853 points to her total, followed by Hampton’s second-place jump of 5.33 meters to add 651 points.

Over to the heptathlon javelin throw, John launched a 33.05-meter throw to mark the second-longest throw to earn 535 points – one point short of the highest throw.

For the final event of the women’s heptathlon, John would stride the two-lapper 800-meter run. With a fight to the finish, John clocked a 2:21.30 to earn 806 points to make her final point total 5602 points to break her personal record and remain a SWAC champion in the multi-events.

“I remain hopeful of staying in the top 24 positions nationally in the heptathlon so that I can represent UAPB at the highest level of collegiate track and field,” said John about her hopes after her outstanding performance.

Hampton finished in fourth place with an impressive 4240 points.

In the women’s open events, Deonmonique Granville sacrificed to miss her commencement ceremony to compete in her final SWAC championship. Her sacrifice led to greatness, however. In her strongest event – the women’s shot put, Granville’s force marked a 14.18-meter throw to earn her a third-place finish with a bronze medal around her neck.

After setting a new heptathlon record, John needed more out of her 6.01-meter jump. With her habit of involving the crowd in her jumps, John launched herself in the air to land at 6.10 meters to be the only one to jump over the six-meter barrier to earn another gold medal around her neck.

Successful in her first open jump event, John competed in the women’s high jump. Clearing all of her jumps on the first attempt to reach 1.71 meters, John fouled her three attempts at 1.75 meters to secure a second-place finish.

Hampton made a significant improvement, clearing 1.63 meters to secure third place and her first-ever SWAC medal.

John’s favorite part of the meet approached very quickly – the 100-meter hurdles. After clocking a steady 13.99 seconds in the preliminary round, John knew it was time to turn on the jets in the final.

John’s attack on the first hurdle quickly defined her race, Instantly firing out of the blocks. She left her competitors behind in dust to cross the finish line first with a blazing fast time of 13.30 seconds to earn her final gold medal of the competition around her neck.

“It is a bitter-sweet feeling to know that I went to the SWAC championship and dominated again, but it may also be my last,” said John. “I am satisfied with all my performances, knowing that I gave my all in each event.”

The Lady Lions finished in fourth place overall with a collective 69 points.

Deandre Fyffe would come to complete unfinished business in the throwing events on the men’s side.

In the men’s shot put, Fyffe would launch a 15.25-meter throw to secure a third-place finish to add his second medal of the meet.

The Arkansas-Pine Bluff throwers would take their talents to the men’s discus throw, demonstrating their speed, strength, power, and technique.

In Fyffe’s third throw of the competition, he would sling the discus to 48.51 meters to mark the farthest throw of the competition. His teammate Danniel Bailey stole the show from Fyffe, throwing 49.50 meters to claim first place and his second gold medal of the championship. Fyffe earned a silver medal in the brotherly competition.

High jumper Caleb Snowden would secure the final medal for the Golden Lions, who had a nail-biting performance.

After clearing 2.10 meters on the first attempt, Snowden was the only competitor left, along with Bethune Cookman’s Guy Bond, who also cleared the 2.10-meter bar.

Bond failed to clear the next height at 2.14 meters which left nothing but opportunity for Snowden. Fouling his first two jumps, Snowden had only one more attempt, and if he didn’t clear the height, he would share the title.

However, Snowden would not settle, which fueled a fire inside him. Approaching the bar off a rolling start, he would plummet himself over the bar on his last attempt to be crowned SWAC champion once again.

The Golden Lions would finish in fifth place with 84 points.