BATON ROUGE, Louisiana – The 2008 Southwestern Athletic Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships got underway today with conference instutions competing in field events, relays and the preliminaries of several sprints.

The men’s shot put saw Jackson State ’s Ronnel Jones set a mark of 48 feet, 10 inches on his first throw to gain the lead. Prairie View A&M’s Marcus Carter had a toss of 47 feet, ¾ inches for the second place mark. In the women’s shot, Grambling State had the top two spots with Kenndra Hammond’s toss of 44 feet ,1 ¼ inches and Rashira Bessard’s throw of 43 feet, 7 ¾ inches.

In the women’s high jump, Dara Burton of Grambling State bested the competition by nearly three inches to claim the top spot. Burton jumped 5 feet, 9 ¾ inches on here final attempt while Alabama State’s Nicole Bonner jumped 5 feet, 7 ¼ inches to gain the second mark. In men’s action, Southern’s Jason House had a jump of 6 feet, 10 ¾ inches to gain the lead while Arthur Hinton III of Alabama State jumped 6 feet, 9 inches for second.

In the women’s long jump, Alabama State’s Myra Hawkins had a mark of 19 feet, four inches for the top jump of the event while Jackson State’s Tayari Clay had the second-best mark with a jump of 18 feet, 9 ¼ inches. In the men’s event, Kendle Davis of Texas Southern had the top mark with a jump of 24 feet, 7 ¾ inches. Kenneth Wilson of Prairie View was second with a 23 feet, 6 ¾ inch jump.

The 3,000-meter run saw conference records fall in both the men and the women. Vasity Chemweno of Arkansas-Pine Bluff had a time of 10:14.15 to set the women’s conference record while four other runners each bested the three-year record (11:07.34 by Erikka Thomas of Southern). Alonzo Thomas of Prairie View beat the previous conference record in the event with a time of 9:01.19. In the same heat, six other runners registered faster times than the conference mark (9:26.07 by Henry Rop of Jackson State ).

In the 60-meter dash, Francesca Okwaro of Texas Southern (7.52 sec) and Javonda Newbold of Grambling State (7.59 sec) were among the eight who qualified for Sunday’s finals. In the men, Lavarus Giles of Jackson State had the top time of the day with a run of 6.81 seconds. Prairie View’s Chris Taylor had the second-best time with a run of 6.92 seconds.

The women’s 400-meter dash saw another conference record fall as Jessica Greene of Southern had a mark of 57.56 seconds to beat the 2004 record set by Alabama A&M’s Joy McDonald (59.56). Six other runners registered faster times than the conference mark. The men’s 400-meter dash saw Texas Southern’s Jeremy Davis register a top time of 49.22 seconds. He leads a group of eight who will see action on Sunday.

In the 60-meter hurdles, Prairie View’s Ronda Tucker (8.84 sec) and Jackson State ’s Toniece Williams (8.93 sec) had the top women’s times on Saturday while both Prairie View’s Jason Mitchell and Grambling State ’s Edmund Joseph each had a mark of 8.10 seconds to register the top men’s times of the day.

The women’s 800-meter saw another conference record fall as UAPB’s Chemweno registered her second conference mark of the day with a run of 2:18.36. She leads a group of eight who have qualified for Sunday’s action. In the men’s 800, Alabama State ’s Delorean Peek had the top time of the day with a mark of 1:54.56.

Onlookers witnessed another mark fall in the men’s 200-meter dash as Texas Southern’s William Osborne registered a mark of 21.97 to eclipse the old mark by 32-hundredths of a second (Southern’s Albert Turner – 22.29 in 2005). Francesca Okwaro of Texas Southern had the top time on the women’s side with a sprint of 24.82 seconds. Tayari Clay of Jackson State had the second-best time with a mark of 25.07 seconds.

The distance medley saw two more conference records fall. In the women’s, Arkansas-Pine Bluff ran a time of 12:30.70 to beat the previous mark (Grambling State – 13:08.08 – 2005) while Grambling State was second with a time of 12:50.85. In the men, Prairie View had a time of 10:19.24 to beat the record previously held by Jackson State (10:27.20 in 2005). Alabama State finished second with a time of 10:21.03.

Sunday’s competition is slated to begin at 8:00 am with the weight throw and the pole vault and will conclude with the 4 x 400-meter relay.



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