BATON ROUGE, Louisiana â€“ 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 menâ€™s shot put saw Jackson State â€™s Ronnel Jones set a mark of 48 feet, 10 inches on his first throw to gain the lead. Prairie View A&Mâ€™s Marcus Carter had a toss of 47 feet, Â¾ inches for the second place mark. In the womenâ€™s shot, Grambling State had the top two spots with Kenndra Hammondâ€™s toss of 44 feet ,1 Â¼ inches and Rashira Bessardâ€™s throw of 43 feet, 7 Â¾ inches.
In the womenâ€™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 Â¾ inches on here final attempt while Alabama Stateâ€™s Nicole Bonner jumped 5 feet, 7 Â¼ inches to gain the second mark. In menâ€™s action, Southernâ€™s Jason House had a jump of 6 feet, 10 Â¾ inches to gain the lead while Arthur Hinton III of Alabama State jumped 6 feet, 9 inches for second.
In the womenâ€™s long jump, Alabama Stateâ€™s Myra Hawkins had a mark of 19 feet, four inches for the top jump of the event while Jackson Stateâ€™s Tayari Clay had the second-best mark with a jump of 18 feet, 9 Â¼ inches. In the menâ€™s event, Kendle Davis of Texas Southern had the top mark with a jump of 24 feet, 7 Â¾ inches. Kenneth Wilson of Prairie View was second with a 23 feet, 6 Â¾ 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 womenâ€™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 Sundayâ€™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 Viewâ€™s Chris Taylor had the second-best time with a run of 6.92 seconds.
The womenâ€™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&Mâ€™s Joy McDonald (59.56). Six other runners registered faster times than the conference mark. The menâ€™s 400-meter dash saw Texas Southernâ€™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 Viewâ€™s Ronda Tucker (8.84 sec) and Jackson State â€™s Toniece Williams (8.93 sec) had the top womenâ€™s times on Saturday while both Prairie Viewâ€™s Jason Mitchell and Grambling State â€™s Edmund Joseph each had a mark of 8.10 seconds to register the top menâ€™s times of the day.
The womenâ€™s 800-meter saw another conference record fall as UAPBâ€™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 Sundayâ€™s action. In the menâ€™s 800, Alabama State â€™s Delorean Peek had the top time of the day with a mark of 1:54.56.
Onlookers witnessed another mark fall in the menâ€™s 200-meter dash as Texas Southernâ€™s William Osborne registered a mark of 21.97 to eclipse the old mark by 32-hundredths of a second (Southernâ€™s Albert Turner â€“ 22.29 in 2005). Francesca Okwaro of Texas Southern had the top time on the womenâ€™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 womenâ€™s, Arkansas-Pine Bluff ran a time of 12:30.70 to beat the previous mark (Grambling State â€“ 13:08.08 â€“ 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.
Sundayâ€™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.