Arkansas State University secured the conference title for both the men’s and women’s teams at the Sun Belt Indoor Championships in Birmingham, Alabama. For UTA, the men’s team fell short on retaining its conference title, placing second to the Red Wolves while the women placed seventh of 12 teams.
UTA’s men finished 16 points behind Arkansas State with 130 points, while the women tallied 41.5 points, well off Arkansas State’s winning tally of 138 points.
Despite the shortcoming, UTA had several strong individual highlights during the two days of competition, especially among underclassmen. Freshman sprinter Ismael Kone took home the 60-meter and 200-meter titles. His 200m time of 21.03 seconds ties the third fastest in school history.
Freshman hurdler Joel Bengtsson won the 60-meter hurdle race, with his time of 8.02 seconds the fifth fastest in UTA history. Sophomore sprinter Vanessa Ugorji had a runner-up finish in the women’s 400-meter race with a showing of 55.61 seconds.
Sophomore thrower Nolan Daggs placed third at the championships while setting a new school record of 18.90 meters in the weight throw. Sophomore Lucas Van Klaveren took home the bronze in a closely-fought men’s heptathlon, with his score of 5,305 points third-best in school history.
In the men’s 800-meter race, freshman Harold Murphy and junior Victor Bocanegra scored points for the Mavericks by placing third and fourth respectively.
Upperclassmen had some strong showings as well, such as junior jumper Bryson DeBerry claiming the high jump crown by clearing 2.20 meters, equalling the league and school record set by Roland Sales in 2016.
Senior Justin Domangue claimed three podium finishes over two days, taking the men’s 300-meter title and a pair of silver medals in the men’s 5,000-meter and mile race.
Senior Cole Klashinsky earned points for UTA with two top-five finishes, fourth in the 3,000m and fifth in the 5,000m race.
The women claimed UTA’s final top honors of the competition by winning the 4x400-meter relay with a 3:44.51 time.
UTA concludes the indoor track and field season at the NCAA Indoor Championships, with the athletes competing to be determined.
The outdoor track and field season begins with the North Texas dual meet on March 12.