Brarysheyia Simpson with Commissioner Tom Burnett
Feb. 27, 2014
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Stephen F. Austin's streak of five straight Southland Conference Championships came to an end on Thursday as the Ladyjacks track and field team came up just shy to finish in second place behind Sam Houston State.
The Ladyjacks scored 124 points over two days of action at the Southland Conference Indoor Track and field Championship and fell to the Bearkats by just eight points.
SFA's men could not repeat their championship performance from a year ago and took third place with 91 points and tallied a pair of individual titles. Southeastern Louisiana won the men's championship with 119 points as Sam Houston State finished second with 106.5 points.
"I was extremely proud how our young men and women competed today. I don't think there is any way our men could have had a better meet," said Head Coach Phil Olson. "Our women were as strong as they have been the last five years, but you have to give credit to Sam Houston State. They beat us straight up. Our goal will be to simply get better as we head into outdoor season."
Brarysheyia Simpson showed she is one of the top sprinters in the league by competing in all three sprint events, plus the 4x400 relay. Simpson qualified for the finals in the 60, 200 and 400 on Wednesday and posted impressive finishes in the finals.
Simpson took second place in the 60 meters with her time of 7.46 seconds, breaking her own school record. She then ran a new personal record of 54.41 in the 400 meters to again finish second. In the 200 meters, Simpson's last individual event, she again broke her own school record to take second place in 23.88 seconds. Her three runner-up showings brought her individual scoring total to 24 points before running the 4x400.
The Ladyjacks made a large impact in the sprints with Chasity Clark joining Simpson in the 60 meters and 200 meters finals. Clark ran 7.59 seconds to take fourth place and five points. She backed that up with a fourth-place finish in the 200. Jessica Hatchett took seventh in the 400 in 56.29 seconds to add two points.
Continuing with the sprints, Stephanie White ran a new PR in the 60 meter hurdles to finish fourth and score five points. She crossed the line in 8.64 seconds.
Distance runners also made their presence felt in the scoring for the Ladyjacks. Rana Ryan and DeJernel Jordan combined to win five points in the 800 meters. The mid-distance runners both ran personal best times as well to close indoor season well.
In the 3,000 meters Laurie Byrd and Shelby Pesek finished sixth and seventh, respectively, to score a total of five points. Pesek also ran a PR along with Rebecca Blubaugh and Courtney High.
Jumps was another area the women scored in bunches with Kirsten Knox taking third in the triple jump a day after finishing third in the long jump. Knox was just four centimeters from tying for second.
The Ladyjacks and Bearkats tangled with four entries in the women's high jump apiece. Melai Carter took second with her clearance of 1.70 meters (5-07.00) to tie her personal best. Caitlin Jones was right behind her in third place at the same height but with more misses. Ashley Gadson finished eighth for the Ladyjacks to bring their event total to 15 points. The Bearkats scored eight points to remain ahead overall.
To open the day, SFA made it a sweep in the multi-events with Rhodes winning the heptathlon with an overall score of 4,943 points. He came from behind in the final event, crossing the line in 2:44.05 in the 1,000 meters to win by the slim margin of only nine points. His victory comes a day after Shambrail Woods won the pentathlon for the women, making SFA the top multis program in the Southland.
Rhodes was not alone on the podium for the heptathlon. Teammate Jamal Davis finished third after heading into the 1,000 meters in second place. Christian Bean also moved up the standings in the final event to come in sixth overall with his score of 4,626 points. Davis scored 4,926 points.
The Lumberjacks and Ladyjacks will turn their attention to outdoor season with no qualifiers for the NCAA Indoor Championships at this time.