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UTSA wins second Southland Outdoor Championship in last three years

Courtesy: UTSA Athletics Communications
Release: 05/22/2010
Courtesy UTSA Athletics Communications
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UTSA received Southland Conference Championships from senior All-American Teddy Williams (left), junior Devon Bond (center) and freshman Tyler Williamson this weekend.
ARLINGTON — The UTSA men's track & field team, led by individual titles by senior All-American Teddy Williams (100 meters) and junior Devon Bond (triple jump), overcame a 13-point deficit on Sunday and won its second Southland Conference Outdoor Championship in the last three years.

The Roadrunners scored a school-record 148 points (league's highest score since 2006) to outdistance runner-up Stephen F. Austin (134), which entered the final day of competition with a 71-58 advantage. Defending champion Southeastern Louisiana finished third with 99.5.

UTSA finished the three-day meet with a total of four individual crowns — Bond (high jump/triple jump), Williams (100m) and freshman Tyler Williamson (long jump) — to push its all-time total to 46 and 19 of those have come under the tutelage of eighth-year head coach Aaron Fox.

“We faced so much adversity before and during this meet and, to overcome it, is nothing short of incredible,” Fox said after winning his seventh Southland Championship (five indoor/two outdoor). “This entire group of guys laid it on line and gave their hearts and souls to win this championship. I’m so proud of what they have done this weekend.

“The 10k really kicked things off for us on Friday night,” he said. “I’ve seen so many meets where that event can win a title for a team and for Ivan (Garcia), Eric (Doll) and Jim (Stitt) all to score was just amazing. It really got things going for us and the distance runners really stepped up again like they did at the indoor meet.”

The Roadrunners began to chip away at SFA's lead in the day's first event, the pole vault.

Junior Lucas Neeper set a personal record for the second day in a row, this time to the tune of 15-7 ¾ (4.77m), and that was good for third place and six points. The measurement also was the fifth-best performance in program history and it came a day after the Waco native finished fifth in the decathlon. Meanwhile, sophomore Greg Gabrisch cleared the same height but finished one spot behind his teammate due to more misses and he secured three more tallies, which pulled UTSA within two (71-69).

The Birds then tied things up in the discus when freshmen Richard Garrett Jr. (second) and Phil Steinert (fifth) combined for a dozen points, which was two better than the Lumberjacks threesome of Matt Langdon (fourth), Kyle Bishop (sixth) and Aaron Harlan (seventh). Garrett Jr. recorded a 173-2 (52.79m), the second-best throw in school annals, en route to his silver medal, while Steinert launched the platter 156-6 (47.70m).

UTSA then took its first lead of the meet after Bond skipped to the nation's ninth-best triple jump measurement in his gold-medal performance. The Trenton, N.J., native picked up his second individual championship of the meet with his leap of 52-10 ¾ (16.12m). Not only was it his third school record of the season, but it also added eight inches to his previous standard established two weeks ago at the Texas Invitational and it put the Roadrunners in front, 91-84, in the team standings. He became the school's first-ever triple jump champion one day after winning the high jump with a season-best clearance of 6-11 ¾ (2.13m) and the 2010 Southland Indoor Newcomer of the Year finished his first season as a Roadrunner with three conference crowns.

With the field events complete, the two teams would take to the track to find out who the Southland Champion would be.

Stephen F. Austin made the first move, as the Lumberjacks drew within two with their fourth-place finish in the 400-meter relay and, when coupled with UTSA's disqualification, the score stood at 91-89 in favor of the Birds.

Next up was the 1,500m and sophomore Cole Reveal led three Roadrunners who combined to score 15 points in the event with his third-place performance (3:56.43). Fellow second-year teammate Albert Cardenas finished fourth (3:56.75), while senior co-captain Corey Vargas placed seventh (3:58.03). SFA did not score in the event, but it was poised to make up ground, as UTSA did not have a runner in either of the following two events, the 110m hurdles and 400m.

And make up ground the Lumberjacks did, as they posted a combined 12 points in the hurdles, led by Nick McCloud's conference title, to pull within three at 104-101. SFA then retook the lead with a seven-point showing in the quarter.

However, UTSA was in position to grab the lead right back in the 100m, as three Roadrunners made up the eight-man field, including Williams, who won the event two years ago and led last year's race late before sustaining a hamstring injury prior to the finish line.

The Tyler native did not disappoint, winning the event in a windy 10.03, which not only was the ninth conference crown of his illustrious career, but it also matched the country's fastest time this season set by Auburn's Marcus Rowland on April 2 and it is tied for the 10th-best in the world this year. His 10-point performance put UTSA back in front for good at 114-100.

The Roadrunners then added 14 more tallies to their total in the 800m when junior Canel Cole and senior Bryan Ugochukwu finished second and third, respectively. Cole circled the Maverick Stadium track twice in 1:52.77, while Ugochukwu stopped the clock in 1:52.92. UT Arlington's Dwight Robinson won the race in 1:51.00, giving the Mavericks their third consecutive champion in the event.

Next up was the 400m hurdles and freshman Darryl Wyrick ran the fastest time of his young career, a 52.87, en route to a fifth-place finish and that was more than a second quicker than SFA's Travis Beavers, who crossed the tape sixth in 54.17. The four-point performance extended UTSA's advantage to 19 (132-113).

The lead grew to 28 following Williams' silver medal and freshman Adam Hebert's fifth-place effort in the 200m. Williams moved into 12th place nationally with his 20.63 performance (second-fastest of career), while Hebert stopped the clock in a personal-best 21.21. Northwestern State's Justin Walker won the event in 20.49.

Junior Brandon Chiuminetta added four more marks with his fifth-place finish (pr 15:00.77) in the 5k. The Lumberjacks countered with 10 of their own, but by that point, it was too little, too late.

“It‘s been such a pleasure to work with all our seniors the last four years and it‘s been a great ride," Fox said. "It‘s so hard to sweep and they get to end their careers saying they did it twice in three years.”

UTSA will be back in action in two weeks at the NCAA Championships Preliminary Round in Austin. The three-day meet gets underway on Thursday, May 27, at Mike A. Myers Stadium and the West Region's top 48 athletes in individual events (top 24 relays) will qualify and try to advance to the national meet in Eugene, Ore., which is scheduled for June 9-12.

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