SAN ANTONIO — The UTSA women's track & field team saw four school records fall and it registered a total of 14 top-three performances this weekend at four different meets across the country.
Leading the way was the 400-meter relay squad of freshman Shahira Ehiemua, sophomore Jhorden Hunter, frosh Chiugo Okonkwo and sophomore Krystal Wynn. The quartet broke the program's 17-year-old mark in the event after passing the baton in 45.26 en route to a runner-up performance at Saturday's Longhorn Invitational. It was five one-hundredths of a second better than the previous record established by Cherisse Lezama, Portia Matthews, Tiffany Williams and Tameka Roberts during the 1995 campaign (45.31). The Roadrunners now hold a commanding half-second lead in the Southland Conference standings.
Meanwhile, junior Katie Bragg's strong season contined with another record-breaking performance in the hammer. The Peachtree City native recorded a toss of 183-8 (55.98m) at the Longhorn Invite and it was her second consecutive runner-up finish in her specialty event and fourth straight top-two effort (she won the Trinity Tigers Relays and Texas State Invitational earlier this season). That added nearly four feet to her previous personal best established two weeks ago in San Marcos and she reclaimed the top spot on the league's leaderboard.
Sophomore April Benavidez extended her school standard in the pole vault with a clearance of 12-5 ½ (3.80m) at the Longhorn Invitational. Almost a six-inch improvement on her previous best, it was good for third place and she moved from fifth to third on the conference ledger. The Elsa native now has matched or broken the program's mark six times in her 10 career outings.
UTSA's other record-breaking performance of the weekend came from senior Dana Mecke on Thursday at the 54th annual Mt. SAC Relays. The Bulverde native clocked a 4:24.33 in the 1,500m and that was good for 27th place in the 129-woman field. It shaved more than a second off her previous career best (4:25.38) established at the 2010 edition of the meet. The 2010 Southland Outdoor Athlete of the Year shot up to the top of the league rankings and she now holds a nearly six-second lead over Lamar's Samantha Walkow. Mecke went on to post the circuit's top 800m time of the season on Saturday when she raced to a bronze medal at the VS Athletics Beach Invtiational. The eight-time Southland Champion clocked a 2:07.78, which was more than four seconds quicker than the mark she recorded at last Saturday's Texas Invitational.
Junior Kayla Pratt also moved atop the conference standings at Thursday's Cal State L.A. Twilgiht. The Del Rio native recorded a personal-best time of 37:03.19 in the 10k, which was good for second place. Meanwhile, sophomore Alyssa Diaz led a 1-2-3-4 Roadrunners finish in the 5k with a career-best 17:38.45. Classmate Isabel Balbontin (17:56.03), junior Jessica Bitterly (PR 18:06.17) and felow soph Samantha Fish (18:10.12) rounded out the top four.
The remainder of the team's top-three performances came on Saturday in Austin.
Sophomores Madeline Hurdt (shot put 45-1 ½/13.75m), Grace Williamson (800m 2:09.84) and Greneshia Wright (long jump 19-6/5.94m), freshman Adrienne Mosby (100m hurdles 14.37) and the 1,600m relay foursome of junior Briony Miller, Wynn, junior Shartanae Swearengin and Williamson (season-best 3:46.24) all earned silver medals, while Swearengin was third in the 400m hurdles (1:03.59).
UTSA will be back in action next weekend at the Bobcat Classic. The two-day meet begins on Friday, April 27, and it will be the the Roadrunners' final tuneup for the Southland Championships (May 11-13 in San Marcos).