Lady Toppers win 16th straight Sun Belt track title; men finish second

Lucas Aulbach

The women’s track team continued an impressive winning streak at the Sun Belt Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships on Monday, while a young men’s team took second place.

The win on the women’s side extended the program’s streak to 16 consecutive indoor, outdoor and cross country conference championships, a run which began in the 2006 indoor season.

The Lady Toppers finished with 132.5 points, finishing 34 ahead of runner-up Arkansas State.

The Lady Toppers were helped by a clean sweep of the top-three spots in the women’s weight throw Monday.

Junior Monteka Flowers was awarded first place, senior Laura Igaune finished in second, and junior Adesola Adeduro took third in the event. Flowers was named Women’s Most Outstanding Field Performer after the championships.

The team also got a boost from senior Marion Kandie’s Sun Belt Conference Championship record-setting performance in the 5000- meter run, posting a time of 16:51.21.

The men, who led by seven at one point Monday, finished in second place behind Middle Tennessee. Sophomore Karlis Daube and junior Marcus Pope finished first and third, respectively, in the men’s 55-meter hurdles, and senior Toms Andersons took second place in the long jump.

In addition, David Mokone was named Most Outstanding Freshman on the men’s side, pitching in several top-three performances throughout the weekend.

Head Coach Erik Jenkins said the jumpers on both squads performed “extremely well,” citing performances on the women’s side as an important factor in the teams’ success.

“Sharika Smith and Anqunita Reed both had outstanding weekends,” he said.

The event, which took place in Jonesboro, Ark., was the last event of the indoor season, with the individual National Championships taking place later in March. Jenkins said the competition in the Sun Belt was very strong this year.

“This was a close meet,” he said. “There are a lot of good teams at the top.”

Jenkins said both teams are very young with just two seniors on the women’s side and none on the men’s, and they should continue to improve.

“We’re going to line up and get ready for the outdoor season,” he said. “It’s always a knock-down, drag-out battle.”