May 17, 2008
EL PASO, Texas - The race for the 2008 Conference USA Men's Outdoor Track and Field Championship title is a close one as host UTEP enters the final day of action with 70 points, just ahead of Memphis' 52 points and Houston's 48 points for third place, while Rice and Southern Miss are fourth and fifth, respectively, with 39 and 28 points.
After nine events, the women's race has Rice and Memphis at the top of the leader board with 65 and 46 points, respectively. UTEP is in third place with 40.5 points, followed by Tulsa (31.5), SMU (31) and Southern Miss (29).
In addition to the preliminaries of the running events, there were three men and five women championship field events that were decided Friday night at Kidd Field in El Paso, Texas.
The championship field events for the women were the pole vault, shot put, long jump, javelin and high jump.
Leonard McLeggon captured the bronze medal in the decathlon, finishing third with 6,237 points.
Rascive Grant scored points for the Golden Eagles in the long jump with a jump of 7.07m (23-4.50), placing fourth. Noah Slater finished fourth in the javelin with a throw of 60.34m (197-11), while Ricardo Page and Aaron Ammons placed fifth and seventh in the shot. Page recorded a throw of 15.99m (52-5.50) while Ammons had a throw of 15.15 (49-8.50).
Two of the top three women's long jump titles went to UTEP. Sophomore Blessing Okagbare recorded another league record of 6.70m (21'11.75"), followed by sophomore Ashley May of Southern Miss second place toss of 5.95m (19'6.25") and senior Nelly Tchayem who finished third with a mark of 5.94m (19'6").
Ranked seventh in the nation, SMU senior Andrea Kvetova picked up her first gold medal of the championship with a toss of 50.28m (164'11") in the javelin. Southern Miss Hana Prudilova took silver with a mark of 45.87m (150'6"), followed Katy McGillen of Tulsa, who recorded a mark of 44.73m (146'9"). All three top performances met NCAA Regional standards. Jessica Bussey finished fifth with a throw of 40.04m (131-4).
In the only running event final of the day, Zuna Portillo-Rodriguez took sixth-place in the 3,000-meter steeple with a time of 11:31.31.
Southern Miss sent several to the finals in the other races. JorDon Smith and McLeggon advanced to the finals of the 110-meter hurdles, recording times in the top eight.
Cornelius Duncan, the defending in the 400 meters, posted a time of 46.94 with teammate Cordell Kinn advancing as well with a time of 48.78. Duncan and Grant also advanced to the finals of the 200 meters. Grant will also compete in the finals of the 100 meters, after turning in a time of 10.76.
Cheris Fletcher ran the second fastest time in the 400 meters (53.96), advancing to the finals, while Chastity Riggien recorded one of the top eight times to advance to the finals of the 100 meters.
C-USA All-Conference honors are awarded to the top three finishers in each event. The individual champions are named to the first team, while second-place finishers are awarded second team honors and the third team is comprised of bronze medalist.
Saturday's championship races start at 5 p.m., while the finals for the men's and women's discus and triple jump and men's high jump and pole vault will take place earlier that afternoon.
2008 C-USA OUTDOOR TRACK & FIELD CHAMPIONSHIP
Day Two - May 16
El Paso, Texas / Kidd Field
1. Rice, 65
2. Memphis, 46
3. UTEP, 40.50
4. Tulsa, 31.50
5. SMU, 31
6. Southern Miss, 29
7. UCF, 24.33
8. Houston, 21.50
9. Marshall, 17.33
10. Tulane, 16
10. UAB, 16
12. East Carolina, 12.83
1. UTEP, 70
1. Memphis, 52
3. Houston, 48
4. Rice, 39
5. Southern Miss, 28
6. Tulsa, 27
7. East Carolina, 8