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Courtesy: Jeff Huehn/UTSA Athletics

Hayes named Southland Conference Outdoor Freshman of the Year

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FRISCO — Keyunta Hayes became the first UTSA men's track & field athlete to be named Southland Conference Outdoor Freshman of the Year, the league office announced on Thursday.

Hayes scored 16.75 points at last weekend's Southland Outdoor Championships in Natchitoches, La., which was the highest point total among the league's freshmen.

The Tyler native won the program's third 400-meter hurdles crown and first in five years after he circled the track in 52.25, edging Sam Houston State's Jay Newman by just two hundredths of a second on Sunday. That performance came on the heels of a third-place effort in the 110m hurdles two hours earlier and he also ran the anchor leg on the team's sixth-place 400m relay that afternoon.

Hayes opened his inaugural outdoor campaign with the third-fastest 110m hurdles performance in school history (13.87) at the Trinity Alumni Classic. That time currently ranks in a 36th-place tie on the national leaderboard. The 6-foot, 160-pounder went on to win the event at that meet (13.88), as well as the Bobcats Invitational (14.26). Meanwhile, Hayes clocked a season-best 51.86 in the 400m hurdles in a fourth-place performance at the Mt. SAC Invitational and that mark stands fourth on the program's all-time performers list. He also ran the anchor leg of the squad's four 400m relay races this spring.

"Keyunta has worked extremely hard this year and is deserving of this award," head coach Aaron Fox said. "To come in and be the leading freshman scorer is quite an accomplishment and his future is bright."

UT Arlington’s Cordero Gray was named Athlete of the Year and Outstanding Track Performer, Stephen F. Austin’s Jon Arthur Outstanding Field Performer, UTA’s Romain Martin Newcomer of the Year and SFA’s Phil Olson Coach of the Year.

UTSA returns to action at next week's NCAA Championships Preliminary Rounds in Eugene, Ore. The three-day meet begins on Thursday, May 26, at historic Hayward Field.

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