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    Sprinters Shine in Outdoor Opener
    Josh Taylor
    Josh Taylor

    March 23, 2014

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    NACOGDOCHES, Texas – Outdoor track and field season got underway this weekend at the Alabama Relays for Stephen F. Austin, and both the men’s and women’s teams started with some solid performances.

    Javelin thrower Madison Johnston posted a victory on Friday with a new personal best mark of 49.39 meters (162-0.00). She bested the field by nearly five feet. Her throw is sixth in the nation with most teams opening their outdoor schedules this weekend. Johnston also finished 10th in the discus.

    Jamal Peden won the men’s long jump with a leap of 7.55 meters (24-9.25). It is early in the outdoor season, but Peden’s mark ranks fifth in the nation so far. Trey Darty placed eighth in the long jump as well.

    Johnston and Peden were not the only SFA student-athletes to see success over the three-days of action as the sprinters started their outdoor seasons off strong.

    The Lumberjacks and Ladyjacks were up against some of the top teams and athletes in the nation at the Alabama Relays. The hosting Crimson Tide recently finished sixth at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships on the men’s side and 19th on the women’s. SEC power Georgia also had athletes in action along with a number of teams from the South.

    Shawn Goff ran his way to an eighth-place finish in the 400 meters, clocking in at 49.06 seconds.

    SFA’s relays continued to show their strength getting some top three finishes. The men’s 4x200 relay finished second behind Georgia with a time of 1:24.46, and the men’s 4x400 took the top spot. The team of Hampton Hawkins, Torin Crowder, Josh Taylor and Cass Brown-Stewart ran 3:07.38 to defeat Georgia by more than two full seconds. The 4x100 relay finished third in 40.70 seconds.

    The women’s sprint relays took first place in both the 4x200 and 4x400. The Ladyjacks finished in 1:36.67 in the 4x200, and the 4x400 crossed in 3:38.12. Jessica Hatchett, Amber Redic and Brarysheyia Simpson all ran legs on both relays. Keisha Tryon ran on the 4x200 and Cierra Jefferson was the other member of the 4x400 team. The women’s 4x100 relay took fifth place in 46.57 seconds.

    Before winning the 4x400 relay, Taylor ran the fastest time in the 400 meter hurdles. He clocked in at 51.57 to open his outdoor season with a victory. His time is second in the nation right now.

    Sprinters had an impressive opening meet outdoors as Jared Love also posted a victory in the men’s 100 meters. Love clocked in at 10.70 seconds, and teammate Trevon Caudle finished fourth in 10.76.

    DeJernel Jordan took fourth for the women in the 400 meters with a time of 56.36 seconds.

    SFA’s combined events athletes opened their outdoor season with a multi-event and performed well.

    The trio of Cody Rhodes, Christian Bean and Jamal Davis finished 2-3-4 in the decathlon. Bean had a personal best score of 6,439 points. Davis also had his best decathlon with a total of 6,423 points.

    Shambrail Woods finished fifth in the heptathlon with a point total of 4,692 over the seven events to open her outdoor campaign well.

    SFA will be closer to home this upcoming week as the Lumberjacks and Ladyjacks are set to compete at the 87th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays. The Texas Relays is one of the largest outdoor meets of the year with ranked teams from across the nation competing along with a large number of high school teams in action.

    The meet starts Wednesday with multi-events, and SFA will begin competition on Thursday. Pole vaulter Colton Ross is slated to compete in a special invitational competition with the top collegiate pole vaulters in the nation.