In the inaugural Sun Conference Indoor Track Championship, the USCB Sand Sharks were at the top of their game. Both the men’s and women’s squads finished runners-up Saturday in Thomasville, Ga, combining for eight event victories.
Maisonee Jones kicked things off on the field with a win in the women’s high jump, converting a height of 1.52m to earn the victory, then Katelyn Shindler and Wesley Martin went 1-2 in the women’s pole vault. Shindler claimed the win by clearing a height of 2.50m, and Martin converted 2.25m to finish in a tie for second.
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The field supremacy continued with a victory in the long jump, as Jones earned another gold with a leap of 5.38m, and former Sun Conference Field Athlete of the Week Iyana McKeever struck silver at 5.09m. McKeever earned another runner-up finish with a 10.57m triple jump, just 0.09m away from the winning mark. Jana Barden won bronze in the women’s shot put with a throw of 10.56m, and Bianca Simpson placed second in the women’s weight throw with a new personal record of 12.27m. Andrew Smith cleared 3.90m on his first attempt in the pole vault to earn a runner-up finish, and Kadari Michell earned bronze in the men’s triple jump at 12.06m.
The Sand Sharks’ men’s and women’s 4x800m relay squads dominated the competition. The men’s team of Sam Williams, Christian Austin, Mel Obadiah Jr., and Shamar Deacon coasted to a near 49-second win and clocked in the 12th fastest time in the NAIA this season with a mark of 8:11.76. USCB’s women’s tandem of Alexa Lashley, Sarahna Herndon, Riley Edwards, and Madison Mury Riley took second place with a time of 11:21.99.
Jenitza Trinidad put together a phenomenal outing, finishing third in the women’s mile with a 5:36.43 before striking gold in the women’s 800m at 2:28.65, nearly a second better than the runner-up. The Puerto Rican junior also finished second in the women’s 1000m, posting a 3:24.28. Katarina Schwebach kept the gold rush going, finishing first in the women’s race walk with a mark of 20:20.99.
Deacon put together a day to remember on the men’s side, capturing two more gold medals on the track. The freshman recorded a sizzling 49.46 to win the men’s 400m while beating the second-place finisher by nearly two seconds. He then took the 800m in a blazing time of 1:58.55.
Mitchell impressed in the men’s 60m, finishing second in the finals after a tremendous mark of 7.09 in the prelims. The Savannah product followed it up with a bronze in the 200m with a time of 22.38. Williams took silver in the one mile with a new personal record of 4:39.05, and Obadiah earned a second-place finish in the men’s 1000 with a time of 2:36.11. The men’s 4x400m relay capped off the successful day with a second-place result, as Obadiah, Williams, Mitchell, and Deacon combined for a 3:29.40, a second away from first place Southeastern.
The Fire took home both the men’s and women’s team championships. But USCB was the next best on both sides. The Sand Shark men accumulated 153.5 points, and the women totaled 171 for dual runner-up finishes.
The NAIA Championships will be held on March 4-6 in Brookings, S.D.
Written by Wes Kerr