Day One Recap
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (2/24/08) The University of North Texas men’s and women’s track team both placed third respectively at the Sun Belt Conference Indoor Championships held in Murfreesboro, Tenn.
The Mean Green women finished the two-day championships with 93 total points. Western Kentucky took the women’s team championships, with Middle Tennessee edging out the Mean Green by two points for second overall.
Coupled with Shelley Hollingsworth’s first place finish in the pole vault on Saturday, the Mean Green women tallied two individual conference titles. WKU finished the championship sweep by taking home the men’s team title as well.
On the men’s side, the third place finish was the highest ever by a North Texas squad since the Mean Green started competing in indoor championships in 1983.
“I’m extremely proud of the effort that we got out of our kids today,” said head coach Rick Watkins. “We had several kids who were feeling under the weather all weekend, but still got out there and ran in their respective event. I think that says a lot about our team.”
Lauren Wiggins continued her dominance in the hurdles. After tying the Sun Belt Conference record in Saturday’s prelims, Wiggins took home first place in the 55-meter hurdles with a time of 7.74. Wiggins also earned all-conference honors with her third place finish in the 55-meter dash.
The Mean Green women seemed to save its best for last. In the last event of the championships, the 4X400 relay, North Texas trailed Middle Tennessee by nearly 20-meters heading into the final leg of the relay, but Ciara Smith took over. Smith, the school record holder in the 400-meters, turned on the jets and passed MTSU’s anchor leg heading into the final turn to give the 4X400 team of Smtih, Shayla Hart, Racquel Hudson and Chrystal Mitchell a conference title in the relay. In all, the Mean Green women earned a total of 11 all-conference honors.
The Mean Green’s Alysha Adams, who finished third in the 55-meter hurdles and qualified for the 55-meter dash finals, took home Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year honors.
Temitayo Harriman led the way for the North Texas men. Harriman, competing in just his second meet of the indoor season, bettered his second place performance in last year’s conference championships, posting a personal best of 1:53.46 to take the gold in the 800-meter run. Harriman edged out ULM’s Andrew Opata by six-hundredths of a second.
Toby Edwards and Josh Papagno also picked up all-conference honors for the Mean Green. Edwards cleared 6-08.25 for a third place finish in the high jump, while Papagno earned a bronze in the pole vault.
“I’m satisfied with our indoor finish, but our goal is to win the outdoor championships,” Watkins said. “Unlike Arkansas State and Middle Tennessee, we don’t have an indoor facility, so we’re much more suited to make a run for a team title when we host the outdoor championships in May.”