DENTON (5/10/03) -- North Texas held a commanding lead in the women's team points standings following the second day of competition Saturday at the 2003 Sun Belt Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Fouts Field. On the men's side, the Mean Green are in second place behind Western Kentucky.
Heading into today's finals, the Lady Eagles stood atop the standings in the women's division with 62.66 points, well in front of second-place Western Kentucky with 48 and third-place Florida International with 32.
For both the North Texas men's and women's teams, Saturday was a day of success highlighted by three NCAA regional qualifying marks, two school-record performances and one Fouts Field record.
In the decathlon, senior Ben Botello set a school record after winning the final event -- the 1,500-meter run -- and finishing with a Fouts Field record 6,999 points. His point total was one point shy of the qualifying total for the NCAA Championship and shattered the old North Texas record of 6,722 points set by Teddy Sondota in 1997.
Also for North Texas in the decathlon, senior Lupe Florez placed second in the 1,500 and wound up in fifth place overall in the 10-event competition with 6,501 points.
North Texas had two finishers in the top three of the women's heptathlon after the concluding events on Saturday. Senior Rhatisha Scott placed second with 4,673 points while Lady Eagles teammate Deidra Wesley finished third with 4,502 points.
In the discus events, North Texas added to its point total with a school-record victory in the women's division and two of the top three finishers in the men's event. Sophomore Jessica Henderson won the women's discus with a school-record toss of 167-2 that also qualifies her for the upcoming NCAA regional meet. NT's Michelle Beck was sixth in the discus with a best toss of 145-5.
Over on the men's side, senior Jerome Carrothers and senior Ron Paris finished 2-3 in the discus with efforts that qualified them for the NCAA regional meet. Carrothers placed second with a toss of 170-5, which was third-best in school history and the longest discus throw by a North Texas athlete in 33 years.
In the women's long jump, junior Rhonda Williams captured first place with a career-best leap of 19-10.25 feet. It was the third longest jump in school history and the best effort by a Lady Eagle in 23 years.
North Texas dominated the points from the women's high jump, with the Lady Eagles taking five of the top seven places. Sophomore Chelsea Creech led the way by placing second with a best leap of 5-4.5. Also among the top seven finishers for North Texas were Jessica Shockley (fourth), Kimberly Barnes (fifth), Rhatisha Scott (sixth) and Deidre Wesley (seventh).
In Saturday night's running preliminaries, five North Texas athletes won their respective heats to advance to Sunday's finals. On the men's side, senior Michael Krebs won his heat in the 800-meters run with a time of 1:54.54 while in the women's division, North Texas heat winners included senior Cherri Rowe (400-meters, 55.03), senior Ananka Clark (100-meters, 11.7), Ciji Brooks (100-meter hurdles, 14.28) and Rhatisha Scott (100-meter hurdles, 14.42).
The 2003 Sun Belt Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championship concludes Sunday beginning with field event finals starting at 9:00 a.m. and ending up with running event finals starting at 6:00 p.m.