Jonesboro, Ark (2/28/05) - The North Texas women's track and field team claimed the school's first-ever indoor conference title at the Aropostale Sun Belt Indoor Championships in Jonesboro, Ark.
Along with the conference championship, the Mean Green also brought home a flurry of awards and school records, including Coach of the Year and Co-Women's Field Performer of the Year.
"It was a great day for North Texas Track," said head coach Rick Watkins, who claimed his fourth Sun Belt Coach of the Year award. "We knew that Western Kentucky was going to make a big push on the final day, but our kids did what they had to do. I know the kids are really looking forward to the outdoor season, but I think this was a great way to close out the indoors."
The Mean Green was able to nudge out a 111-108.5 victory over Western Kentucky because of their dominance in the field events.
Rhonda Williams led the way for the Mean Green, taking home top honors in the field events. The senior earned Co-Women's Field Performer of the Year with a first place finish in the long jump on a career best leap of 19-04.75 (5.91m). Also one of the top sprinters on the team, Williams finished fourth in the 200-meter dash with a time of 24.76, only eight-one hundredths of a second off the school record.
Deidra Wesley earned all-conference honors with first place finishes in two events. The senior brought home gold in the high jump and the pentathlon, narrowly missing school records in both.
Stacy Orakpo and Jessica Henderson both toppled records in the shot put and the weight throw respectably. Orakpo won first place in the shot put with her throw of 47-07.00 (14.50), while Henderson smashed her own record for the third time this season with a weight throw of 51-04.25 (15.65).
The Mean Green women also had strong finishes in the distance events. Bonnie McKernan and Cassie Storms both had top five finishes in the 3,000 and 5,000-meter runs.
McKernan finished second in the 5,000 with a time of 18:06.21 and third in the 3,000 in 10:19.94. Storms earned fourth in the 3,000 with a time of 10:34.00 and fifth in the 5,000 with an 18:34.45.
On the men's side, North Texas finished eighth with 42 total points.
The Mean Green was led by Jarrod Stone and Heath Smith, who both had top five finishes in their field events. Stone finished fifth in the high jump with a leap of 6-06.00 (1.98), while Smith's shot put throw of 49-06.50 (15.10) earned him fourth place.
Both the men and women will return to action on March 26 for the beginning of the outdoor season at the Baylor Dr. Pepper Invitational in Waco, Texas.