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Mecke, Jones lead UTSA to fourth place at Southland Outdoor

Courtesy: UTSA Athletics Communications
Release: 06/03/2010
Courtesy UTSA Athletics Communications
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Redshirt freshman Dana Mecke (left) and senior Jessica Jones won Southland Conference Championships on Sunday.
ARLINGTON —
Redshirt junior Dana Mecke swept the middle distance events and senior Jessica Jones captured her third consecutive 100-meter hurdles crown to lead the UTSA women’s track and field team to a fourth-place finish Sunday at the Southland Conference Outdoor Championships.

Mecke, a six-time conference champion indoors, picked up her first two outdoor titles on Sunday evening at Maverick Stadium. The Smithson Valley High product raced to a 4:30.57 clocking for a comfortable victory in the 1,500m ahead of Haley Parsons of Stephen F. Austin, who crossed in 4:35.51.

Less than one hour later, she clocked a personal-best time of 2:08.36 to take top honors in the 800m more than three seconds ahead of Esther Abuto of UT Arlington (2:11.65). Her time bettered her previous PR of 2:09.42 registered at the Trinity Alumni Classic on April 10 and kept her in the No. 4 position on UTSA’s all-time performers chart.

“Dana has been unbelievable this season, both indoors and outdoors,” head coach Aaron Fox said. “She's tough as nails and is one of the best competitors I’ve ever worked with. She was outstanding today and we get her back for one more outdoor season, so we’re looking forward to that.”

Mecke’s middle distance sweep was her second of the year, as she won the 800m and mile for the second straight season at the Southland Indoor in February, becoming the first conference athlete to do so in back-to-back years. Mecke’s victory in the 1,500m was the fifth all-time for UTSA, but the first since Christina Ramirez in 1995, while her 800m win was the second in school history (Veronica Silva, 2006).

She also joined Therese Ahlepil of UT Arlington (1997) as the only Southland runner to win both middle distance races at the indoor and outdoor meets in the same year. Her outdoor sweep was the first in the league since UT Arlington’s Kajsa Haglund in 2003.

Meanwhile, Jones made history by winning her third 100m hurdles title and fifth overall league crown. The Fort Bend Hightower High product skimmed the barriers in a time of 13.51 to beat Joy Egboba-Waye of Stephen F. Austin (13.68) to the line. Her time bettered her previous personal best of 13.63 posted in a gold-medal performance at this meet a season ago.

“I couldn’t be happier for Jessica to end her conference career the way she did today,” Fox said. “She’s been great all year long in the hurdles and always steps up in big meets. To PR while winning her third straight title puts her in some elite company.”

It marked the sixth high hurdles crown for the Roadrunners since 2004 and she joined Ryanne Dupree, who raced to gold in 2004, ‘05 and ‘07, as the Southland’s only three-time winner in the event.

Also in the 100m hurdles, freshman Amanda McGill, who clocked the second-fastest preliminary time on Saturday, went down with an upper leg injury during the final. She also was in the 400m hurdles final but was unable to start.

“Amanda’s injury in the 100 hurdles was tough for the team to put past them,” Fox said. “She’s certainly in our thoughts and prayers and we wish her a full recovery.”

The Roadrunners scored 70 points to finish fourth in the team standings, their sixth top-five showing in the last seven years. Stephen F. Austin successfully defended its team title with 201.5, followed by UT Arlington (102) and Texas State (80.5).

“The women fought hard and we had some really good performances throughout the meet,” Fox said. “We had some veterans compete like veterans should and had some young athletes gain some valuable experience this weekend.”

In other action, the 1,600m relay team of junior Shavonne Armbrister, freshman Briony Miller, Jones and sophomore Rebecca Crain passed the baton to fourth place with a season-best 3:43.54 clocking.

Freshman Eboni Johnson skipped to a season-best measure of 39-7 to earn a sixth-place finish in the triple jump, while freshmen Jaimeé Bennett and Stacia Newton finished sixth (141-5) and eighth (138-7), respectively, in the discus. Junior Jayde James scratched a point with an eighth-place time of 2:15.57 in the 800m.

Several Roadrunners will move on to the NCAA Championships preliminary round May 27-29 in Austin, as the 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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