HOUSTON — UTSA registered four victories and a total of nine podium finishes at Friday's Leonard Hilton Memorial.
Leading the way was senior All-America high jumper Keith Benford, who won the meet championship for the third consecutive year. The Pflugerville native cleared 6-10 ¾ (2.10m) in his lone attempt at the height and edged junior teammate Kerry Thompson, who also got over the bar in 6-10 ¾, for the gold medal due to fewer misses. It was Benford's third victory in as many meets this season and the ninth of his illustrious career.
Meanwhile, fellow senior All-American Richard Garrett Jr. also was victorious, as he won the ninth shot put title of his career with a measurement of 60-5 ¾ (18.43m), which was nearly six feet better than his closest competitor. Sophomore Andrew Akens was two spots behind his teammate following his mark of 52-2 ¾ (16.22m).
Classmate Taylor Reed won a pole vault crown for the second time this year. The Tyler native recorded a clearance of 16-4 ¾ (5.00m) in his first and only attempt at the height and tied Houston's Joseph Beck for the top spot on the leaderboard. Like Benford, he was awarded the gold medal due to fewer misses.
The Roadrunners' other triumph of the event came in the distance medley relay. The junior quartet of Nathan Collier, Chrisshun Jamerson, Joshua Smith and Mike Medrano passed the baton in 10:30.98, which was good for a nearly half-second victory against Rice.
Sophomore Christopher Hall added a runner-up performance in the 200 meters after crossing the line in 22.86, while senior Roscoe Robinson also collected a silver medal (23-0 ¾/7.03m) in the long jump when Sam Houston State's Charles White edged him by just two-and-three-quarter inches on his sixth and final attempt of the competition.
UTSA's other medal came from the 1,600m relay of senior Keyunta Hayes, Hall, senior Darryl Wyrick and freshman Jumarcus Shelvin. The foursome circled the Bill Yeoman Fieldhouse oval eight times in 3:20.50, which was good for third place.
Collier posted the fastest time by a collegian, a personal-best 1:55.55, in a fifth-place performance in the 800m.
UTSA will return to the Bayou City next weekend for the Howie Ryan Invitational & Multis. The two-day meet gets underway on Friday, Jan. 25.