UTSA women finish second at Conference USA Indoor Championships
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — UTSA received bronze medal performances from both Isabel Balbontin and Nina Herrera on Saturday and that helped the Roadrunners finish second at their inaugural appearance at this weekend's Conference USA Indoor Championships.
Balbontin raced to the second-fastest 3,000 meters time in program history, 9:43.22, en route to her third-place finish, while Herrera clocked a 4:53.86 in the mile.
UTSA accounted for 73 points and was runner up at a conference meet for the second consecutive season. East Carolina, which opened the day with a 29-25 lead over the Roadrunners, finished with 88 points.
UTSA tied the Pirates at the top of the leaderboard following the first event of the afternoon, the high jump. Whitney Flannel picked up four tallies with her fifth-place finish (5-7 ¼/1.71m).
The Birds racked up 15 more points in the first two running finals of the day to take over the top spot in the standings.
Emily Perez raced to a personal-best time of 4:55.03 en route to fourth place in the mile to give UTSA a combined 11 in the event and that put it in front of UAB, 40-34.
Shantel Swift then circled the Birmingham CrossPlex banked oval two times in 56.40 on her way to fifth in the 400m and the Roadrunners clinged to a one-point edge over East Carolina (45-44).
However, the Pirates took the lead for good in the next race, the 60m hurdles, and UTSA dropped to fourth place one event later following the 60m.
With three athletes competing in the 800m, the Roadrunners had an opportunity to make up ground. The trio of Grace Williamson (2:14.59), Stephanie Wangui (2:16.01) and Herrera (2:16.29) finished sixth through eighth, respectively, for a combined six points and UTSA moved back into second place.
After dropping down to third following the 200m and shot put, the Roadrunners did not make a move back up the standings until the pole vault when Lindsey Pew (fourth/12-7 ½/3.85m) and April Benavidez (seventh/season-best 12-3 ½ /3.75m) accounted for seven points and that propelled UTSA back into second place, albeit 23 points behind East Carolina.
Balbontin and Perez (seventh/PR 9:51.98) combined for eight tallies in the 3k to pull the Birds to within 15 at 84-69 and UTSA chipped another four points off the advantage when Ernestine Cray finished fifth in the triple jump (40-10 ¼/12.45m), but with just the 1,600m relay remaining, it was too little, too late.
UTSA will be back in action in two weeks when it opens the outdoor season at the Country Inn & Suites Islanders Open in Corpus Christi.