ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Eboni Johnson picked up UTSA's second gold medal in as many days and that helped lead Roadrunners to a runner-up finish at this weekend's Western Athletic Conference Championships, which concluded on Saturday at the Albuquerque Convention Center.
Johnson skipped to a personal-best measurement of 41-5 ¾ (12.64m) on her sixth and final attempt of the afternoon to claim UTSA's first-ever triple jump title. The Channelview native edged Texas State's Allie Saunders by almost a foot for the gold medal and she just missed Portia Matthews' 21-year-old program record by a mere inch-and-a-quarter. It also was her third victory in as many meets this winter.
The Roadrunners' second victory of the meet (Katie Bragg won the weight throw on Friday) marked the 57th all-time individual/relay championship in school history, 15 of which have come under the direction of fifth-year head coach Aaron Fox.
UTSA accounted for 116 points for its highest total in 17 years and it just missed its first league title since 1994. I-35 rival Texas State was able to hold off the Roadrunners by a half dozen points, but the second-place showing was the program's best in 16 years. New Mexico State (109) rounded out the top three.
"I'm really proud of how this group competed this weekend," Fox said. "We have battled some adversity the last few weeks and to come out of our first WAC meet in second place by just six points shows what this team is made of. We haven't been able to reach our ultimate goal of winning a championship yet, but we're getting close, and we are continuing to set a strong foundation for the future."
UTSA, which trailed the Bobcats by 22 points entering the day, began to chip away at the deficit right off the bat in the mile.
Nina Herrera just missed the first conference title of her career after crossing the tape in second place with a personal-best time of 4:55.79. The junior from El Paso trailed only UT Arlington's Katelyn Hayward by 31 one-hundredths of a second. Meanwhile, Emily Perez placed fourth with a PR of 4:58.32 and the combined 13 points drew the Roadrunners to within nine at 74-65.
UTSA sliced another point off the lead when Adrienne Mosby clocked a career-best 8.68 en route to fourth place in the 60-meter hurdles.
After Texas State stretched the advantage back to double digits with a combined six points in the 400m, the Birds got back to within nine after Shahira Ehiemua finished fourth in the 60m (7.54).
The Roadrunners took their first lead of the meet in the triple jump following Johnson's gold medal and a total of 19 points.
Ernestine Cray skipped to a measurement of 39-10 ¾ (12.16m) en route to third, while Laura Oseghae recorded a PR of 38-9 (11.81m) in a sixth-place performance.
The Bobcats quickly reclaimed a five-point advantage (105-100) in the next event, the 800m, when Kimberly Krtinich (second/2:08.81) and Briana Sharp (fourth/2:10.99) combined for 13 points, while Grace Williamson picked up a half dozen with a third-place effort (PR 2:09.35).
UTSA drew even two events later when Alyssa Diaz (10:11.25) and Perez (10:17.42) scored five points with their fifth- and eighth-place showings in the 3k.
However, Kelsey Titzman came up big in the shot put by winning a gold medal with a heave of 51-2 ¼ (15.60m) and she and Talore Kelly (eighth) outscored Zaquita McClanahan (third) and Madeline Hurdt (seventh), 11-8. McClanahan registered her third school-record performance of the season (47-11 ¼/14.61m), while Hurdt put the implement a career-long 46-5 ½ (14.16m).
Needing to outscore Texas State by three points for a co-championship and four for the outright title in the meet's final event, the 1,600m relay, the Roadrunners only were able to muster a sixth-place finish in a season-best 3:49.08 and they fell short of their first team crown in 19 years by just six points.
The meet wrapped up UTSA's indoor campaign and it will open the outdoor season on Saturday, March 23, at the Texas State Elite in San Marcos.