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Courtesy: UTSA Athletics

UTSA wins third Southland Conference Outdoor Championship in last five years on Sunday

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SAN MARCOS — Sophomore Keyunta Hayes swept both hurdle titles and he helped lead UTSA to its third Southland Conference Outdoor Championship in the last five years on Sunday.

The Roadrunners, competing in their final Southland meet, scored 147.5 points and held off a late rally by I-35 rival Texas State, which finished in second place with 134.5. Defending champion Stephen F. Austin (98) rounded out the top three. UTSA, which won its league-record seventh consecutive indoor crown in February, now has claimed 10 of the circuit's last 14 track & field team championships.

Hayes clocked a 13.86 in winning the program's fifth 110m hurdles title (first since 2008) and the Tyler native came back 90 minutes later to lead a UTSA 1-2-3 finish in the 400m hurdles with a career-best time of 50.37, which gave him a gold medal in the event for the second consecutive year. Junior Darryl Wyrick (50.93) and sophomore Joshua Smith (51.30) also registered personal bests en route second and third, respectively. It is believed to be the first 1-2-3 finish in the event in conference history and first 1-2-3 finish in any discipline since Lamar and McNeese State swept the top spots in the 5k and javelin, respectively, in 2010.

"Winning this event was a goal of mine coming into the meet and it was a very competitive race," Hayes said after winning the high hurdles. "Everyone was working hard and this was one of the closest races I've had this season because everyone fought to the finish.

"I had a lot of confidence coming into today, but everyone brought their game," he later said after successfully defending his 400m hurdles title. "I thought I ran a good race, but I had a couple of mistakes on the backside. My teammates really did a great job of pushing me. I really wanted to get the school record, but I have plenty of time to do that. Big ups to Darryl and Josh for helping us finish 1-2-3."

Hayes finished the meet as the Roadrunners' top scorer with 22 points after running the opening leg of the squad's second-place 1,600m relay that recorded a season-best time of 3:08.77. The 2011 Southland Outdoor Freshman of the Year was the team's leading point producer a year ago and he now has won four conference crowns (one indoor/three outdoor) in just two years.

When combined with junior Richard Garrett Jr.'s gold medal in the shot put on Saturday, UTSA now owns a total of 52 all-time individual/relay crowns in its 21 years in the conference.

"This is how we wanted to go out," 10th-year head coach Aaron Fox said. "Our team goal this year was to sweep the indoor and outdoor championships and we did it for the third time in the last five years this weekend. You really have to give it to Texas State because they really went after it today, but our guys responded and plugged their way through. I can say that it certainly was not easy.

"I want to thank our seniors and assistant coaches for all their hard work and dedication to the program. We wouldn't be where we are today without the commitments they have made. I also want to thank the Southland Conference and its coaches for everything they've done for our program. I have developed so many lifetime friendships during our time in the league and everyone has been a class act."

UTSA, which entered the day in second place, took over the top spot in the team standings after scoring a combined 14 points in the discus. Garrett Jr. (180-2/54.91m), seniors Mike Sanchez (PR 170-1/51.85m) and Daniel Rodriguez (167-1/50.93m) and junior Phil Steinert (166-1/50.63m) finished fourth through seventh, respectively. It was a lead the Roadrunners would not relinquish.

Juniors Taylor Reed (16-6 ¾/5.05m) and Kyle Tomasini (16-0 ¾/4.90m) added another seven-and-a-half points to the ledger after placing third and seventh, respectively, in the pole vault.

After the 400m relay quartet of junior Tyler Williamson and freshmen Daniel Perez, Trayvion Martin and Emmanuel Shaw raced to a seventh-place performance (season-best 41.53), the Birds netted nine more points in the 1,500m when sophomore Mike Medrano (PR 3:48.84) and senior Cole Reveal (3:51.55) finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

Freshman Christopher Hall added three points with a sixth-place finish in the 400m and the trio of sophomores Brady Hand (third/1:51.11), Chrishunn Jamerson (sixth/1:51.64) and J.J. Jones (eighth/1:54.98) combined for 10 in the 800m.

Junior Nate Brunette raced to fifth in the deuce (21.14), Martin was sixth in the triple jump (PR 49-5 ½/15.07m) and senior Daneil Balbontin placed seventh in the 5k (PR 15:05.33), which gave the Roadrunners what proved to be an insurmountable nine-point cushion heading into the day's final event, the 1,600m relay.

UTSA will be back in action in two weeks when it begins competition at the NCAA Championships Preliminary Rounds in Austin. The three-day meet gets underway on Thursday, May 24, at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas.

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