Tarleton crowns four champions, 15 athletes earn All-Conference honors
EDINBURG – Before Tarleton track and field's inaugural Division I season started, the program set two goals for itself for the Western Athletic Conference Championships.
Get as many athletes on the podium as possible and finish in the top-half as a team on both the men's and women's sides.
Those aims were realized in full on Saturday's conclusion to the meet at the UTRGV Track and Field Complex.
The Texans crowned three individual conference champions and capped the evening with a first-place finish in the men's 4x400m relay. Nine athletes received All-WAC first team honors at the conclusion of the meet.
Tarleton's men's team finished fourth out of nine teams with 91 points. The women claimed sixth place with 57 points.
Over the course of the three-day affair in Hidalgo County, Tarleton claimed five conference championships and picked up 22 sets of first or second team all-conference accolades.
asmine McQuirter and Gentrye Munden respectively won the 100m dash and high jump to pace Tarleton's effort on the infield. Over in the field events area, Oscar Rodriguez claimed the crown in the discus.
The Texans then won the men's 4x400m relay by more than three seconds with a time of 3:12.67. Brandon McKissick, Anterius Brown, Zachary Martinez and Bailey Smotek comprised Tarleton's relay team.
McQuirter crossed the finish line in 11.90 seconds to win the 100m dash and close the books on a decorated collegiate career. The senior was a two time All-American in Tarleton's Division II era. On Friday, she received All-WAC second team recognition after placing fifth in the long jump (18' 1").
Munden cleared 5' 6.5" on the high jump apron to give Tarleton its second WAC champion in jumps in as many days. On Friday, Alan Palmer became the first conference champion in Tarleton's WAC and Division I era by winning the long jump with a leap of 24' 11.75".
Rodriguez's discus victory capped a banner weekend for the Del Rio, Texas native. He slung the discus 174' 11" to earn the gold medal in only his fourth time competing in the event collegiately. The sophomore broke Tarleton's school record in the hammer throw on Thursday with a toss of 174' 6" to finish fourth and pick up his first set of all-conference credentials.
The Texans' led the men's 4x400m relay bell-to-bell. McKissick and Brown teamed up to give Tarleton a four-second lead at the 800m checkpoint. Martinez then ran the third leg before passing the baton to Smotek who closed the show. All four athletes earned first team all-conference honors.
The performance gave Brown one final accolade in his storied four years in Stephenville. The outgoing senior exits Tarleton as a three-time All-American, an indoor school record holder in the 400m and 4x400m relay and All-WAC first team honoree.
Martinez was Tarleton's top performer in the 400m dash. He finished third and set a personal record with a time of 47.66 seconds. The junior registered a personal record in the event in his final four races this spring.
McKissick placed one spot behind Martinez and also ran a personal record, clocking in at 47.72 seconds. Brown gave Tarleton a 3-4-5 finish in the event, as he claimed fifth place in 48.05 seconds.
All four members of Tarleton's women's 4x100m relay earned a set of All-WAC second team honors. The Texans finished third in the race in 47.30 seconds. McQuirter led off before handing the baton to Nyla Barlow. Summer Croxton ran the third leg and Hanna Dudley anchored.
Tarleton's two other athletes who earned All-WAC first team recognition were Palmer and Cornelius Coleman. Palmer took second in the high jump, leaping 6' 9.5" and recording a four-inch personal record in the process. Coleman, a senior, ended his Texan career atop the 110m hurdles podium, as he nabbed third place in 14.61 seconds.
The Texans' men's 4x100m and women's 4x400m relay teams each finished fourth. Jamel Anderson, Ethan Hood, Palmer and Martinez teamed up to post a time of 41.56 seconds in their first time officially competing together. Barlow was joined by 400m specialists Anayah Copeland, Danielle Thomas and Alessa king in the 4x400m relay. The quartet set a two-second 2021 personal record in the race, finishing in 3:52.70.
A pair of triple jumpers gave Tarleton a set of fifth place finishes and two more All-WAC second team honorees to begin the meet. Jaden Hall leapt 48' 2.75" and improved his personal record by two feet in the men's competition. Not long before, Nakia Dunn picked up four points for the women's team with a jump of 38' 4.75".
Tarleton's final All-WAC second team honorees were Dahmir Pearson and Elena Reagan. Pearson finished fourth in the 400m hurdles in 54.04 seconds and set a personal record. Reagan was sixth in the discus at 144' 6".
Seven other athletes scored points for the Texans.
Smotek (800m), Maxon Newell (high jump), Sullivan Sanders (110m hurdles) Joey Ortiz-Martinez (400m hurdles), and Ethan Bratton (discus) all placed seventh in their respective events. Smotek checked in at 1:56.80, Newell cleared 6' 1.25", Sanders ran a time of 14.94 seconds, Ortiz-Martinez posted his second consecutive sub-55 second time (54.72) in as many days, and Bratton set a personal record with a heave of 155' 1".
Heptathletes Emily Simon and Chandee Bachmeyer turned around on Saturday and respectively placed eighth in the high jump (5' 2.25") and 400m hurdles (1:05.08). Bachmeyer also placed ninth in the triple jump at 35' 9.25" in her first time competing in the event in two years.
Rounding out the scoring was Jenna Brazeal in the 800m. The sophomore and indoor 800m school record holder finished her sophomore season with a time of 2:16.79.
Marshae Davis competed alongside Reagan in the discus and finished with a mark of 124' 7".
Five distance runners comprised the remainder of Tarleton's day three competitors.
Imani Williams, Kaleigh Ellis, Kevin Baez and Dominick Vastlik all ran the 5,000m. Williams was the Texans' top overall performer in the event. She took 11th with a time of 18:06.62. Ellis, who ran the 3k steeplechase one day earlier, completed her 12-and-a-half laps around the track in 20:13.14. Baez and Vastlik posted times of 15:54.04 and 16:16.70.