AUSTIN, Texas (4/5/08) The University of North Texas track and field team closed out the 81st annual Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays Saturday by posting three regional qualifying marks and one school record.
“Overall, we had a really good today. For the first time all season, everything seemed to come together,” said head track and field coach Rick Watkins. “This is as good of a Saturday that we’ve had at the Texas Relays in a long time.”
Racing against some of the top teams in the nation, both the men’s and women’s 4X400 relay teams for North Texas clocked in under the regional qualifying standard. The women’s quartet of Chi Chi Echebelem, Shayla Hart, Chrystal Mitchell and Ciara Smith finished fifth overall, breaking the school record in the 4X400 with a time of 3:39.35. Echebelem, Smith and Hart were also part of the record-breaking relay team that qualified for the last year’s NCAA Midwest Regionals.
The foursome of Darnell Greig, Ryan Varner, Montrell Pyron and Kelvin Wright finished second in the 4X400 relay in the men’s university division with a season-best time of 3:08.95; the fastest time in the Sun Belt this season. UTEP edged out the Mean Green by just over a tenth-of-a-second to take home first place.
“Those guys running our 4X400 relay really came through for us today,” Watkins said. “Ryan (Varner) and Kelvin (Wright) have both been injured for most of the season, so to get them back in full form was a major boost.”
Brandi Stanfield improved her previous regional mark by nearly six inches as the junior from Austin, Texas finished eighth in the triple jump tallying a season-best mark of 41-05.25. Just three weeks into the outdoor season, North Texas has qualified for the 2008 NCAA Midwest Regionals in five events.
Two Mean Green high jumpers, Jermaine Jamison and Toby Edwards, also competed in Saturday’s finals for the Mean Green. Both Edwards and Jamison cleared 6-08.75, to finish 11th and 13th respectively.
North Texas will next be back in action Friday as the Mean Green host its first outdoor meet of the season at Fouts Field. Besides the Mean Green, ULM, Texas State and SMU will be all be competing at the UNT Classic. The field events are scheduled to kick things off at Fouts Field, Friday, at 2 p.m.