FRISCO, Texas – McNeese junior Nathan Jones and Lamar sophomore Thai Williams were named the 2017 Southland Conference Indoor Track & Field Athletes of the Year, the league announced Wednesday. The All-Conference teams for 2017 were also named, consisting of the top three finishers in the finals of each event from this year’s championships.
Jones and Williams were the high point scorers for men and women, respectively, at the 2017 championships in Birmingham, Ala. Jones earned three gold medals to help the Cowboys to a runner-up team finish while Williams landed on the podium three times with two golds and a silver, pacing the Cardinals to a second-place team finish.
Men’s Athlete of the Year – Nathan Jones, McNeese
Jones left Birmingham with three gold medals, finishing with 22.5 individual points to lead all competitors and pace McNeese to a runner-up finish with 120 team points.
Men’s Outstanding Field Events Performer – Tyler Adams, Sam Houston State
Sam Houston State’s Tyler Adams continued his dominance in the men’s heptathlon with his third-straight Southland championship win. He tied for first place in heptathlon 60m dash (7.10) then went on to win the 1,000m (2:41.58), 60m hurdles (8.41), high jump (2.09m / 6-10.25) and long jump (7.08m / 23-02.75) to finish with 5,463 points. He also earned a silver medal in the standalone high jump (2.10m / 6-10.72) and a fifth-place finish in the long jump (7.02m / 23-00.50).
Men’s Outstanding Running Events Performer – Nathan Jones, McNeese
The junior Rhyl, Wales native posted top finishes in the 3,000-meter run (8:17.77), 5,000-meter run (14:30.56) and as anchor of the Cowboys winning distance medley relay squad (9:58.58).
Men’s Freshman of the Year – Quillan Haughton, Houston Baptist
The Husky freshman took a bronze medal in the men’s high jump, posting a 2.10m cleared height (6-10.75).
Men’s Newcomer of the Year – Christoph Graf, McNeese
The Chur’Grisons, Switzerland native took first-place in the mile run preliminary and final, posting a final time of 4:11.86, edging out UIW’s Deion Hardy (4:11.87). The South Alabama transfer also took a fourth-place finish in the 3,000m (8:23.02), part of a strong 1-3-4-5 finishing order for the Cowboys.
Men’s Coach of the Year – David Self, Sam Houston State
Self led the Bearkat men to their second-straight team championship with 142.5 points to win consecutive Men’s Coach of the Year honors. Sam Houston State men earned four gold medals last week in Birmingham.
Women’s Athlete of the Year – Thai Williams, Lamar
The women’s high point scorer (28) helped the Cardinals to a runner-up finish with 97 points, earning two gold medals and a silver. The League City, Texas native displayed her versatility, earning two first-place field event finishes and a track event gold in the 60m dash.
Women’s Outstanding Field Events Performer – Thai Williams, Lamar
Williams earned a gold medal in the long jump (6.01m / 19-08.75) to lead a 1-2 finish for Lamar ahead of teammate Deja Phillips. She then went on to post a second-place finish in the triple jump with a distance of 12.29m (40-04.00).
Women’s Outstanding Running Events Performer – Michaela Hackett, Abilene Christian
Hackett dominated the women’s distance running with gold medals in the 3,000m and 5,000m. Her 3,000m finishing time of 9:30.75 broke the conference championship record (9:30.98) set in 2015 by this year’s second-place finisher, Lamar’s Jannika John. In the 5,000m, the senior out of Cranston, R.I. took a comfortable first-place finish with a time of 16:41.57.
Women’s Freshman of the Year – Imani Nave, Stephen F. Austin
Nave took a top finish in the 200m dash for the Ladyacks, edging out a pair of Northwestern State upperclassmen with a time of 24.04. She also anchored Stephen F. Austin’s fourth-place 4x400m relay team (3:49.88).
Women’s Newcomer of the Year – Daeshon Gordon, Northwestern State
Gordon took a gold medal in the 60m hurdles (8.20), leading a gold-silver podium spot for the Lady Demons alongside fellow junior Braneshia Payton (8.44). The LSU transfer was one-hundredth of a second off the Southland championship meet record (8.19) set by Sam Houston State’s Sabrina Starr in 2014. She also ran the third leg of Northwestern State’s gold-medal winning 4x400m relay team.
Women’s Coach of the Year – David Self, Sam Houston State
David Self earned his third women’s team title in four years – fifth in program-history – with a finishing team points tally of 127. It is Self’s second-straight Women’s Coach of the Year honor. Three Bearkat women earned gold medals at this year’s championships.
Southland Conference Track & Field individual athlete award winners are nominated and voted upon by the conference’s head coaches. Coaches are not permitted to vote for themselves or their own athletes. The top three finishers in each event from the conference championship are named All-Conference; first place finishers are named to the first team, second place to the second team and third place to the third team.
2017 Southland Men’s Indoor Track & Field All-Conference Teams
|60-meter Dash||Chris Jefferson, SHSU||Amir James, NSU||Clinton Cole, UIW|
|60-meter Hurdles||Michael Nicholls, UNO||Kerry Gleason, SFA||Fabian McCall, SHSU|
|200-meter Dash||Amir James, NSU||Clinton Cole, UIW||Tedrick Hawkins, SFA|
|400-meter Dash||Andre Colebrook, SLU||Tedrick Hawkins, SFA||Will Gibson, SFA|
|800-meter Run||Jeffrey Moore, SHSU||Daniel Shelton, HBU||Deion Hardy, UIW|
|Mile Run||Christoph Graf, MCN||Deion Hardy, UIW||Jorge Quintero, UIW|
|4×400-meter Relay*||Stephen F. Austin||Abilene Christian||Northwestern State|
|3,000-meter Run||Nathan Jones, MCN||Chris Speaks, SHSU||Oliver James, MCN|
|5,000-meter Run||Nathan Jones, MCN||Enrique Soto, MCN||Chris Speaks, SHSU|
|DMR*||McNeese||UIW||Sam Houston State|
|High Jump||Eric Moore, UCA||Tyler Adams, SHSU||Quillan Haughton, HBU|
|Pole Vault||Devin King, SLU||Antonio Ruiz, SFA||Garrett Larson, SHSU|
|Long Jump||Isaiah Pittman, SFA||Brian O’Bonna, LU||John Lemke, MCN|
|Triple Jump||John Lemke, MCN||Tylen Guidry, LU||Brian O’Bonna, LU|
|Shot Put||Hiram Morales, MCN||Kai Schmidt, ACU||Marcell Kecskeméty, SLU|
|Weight Throw||Kalvin Singletary, SHSU||Ben Bibby, SFA||Lucas Akins, SFA|
|Heptathlon||Tyler Adams, SHSU||Hunter Key, SFA||Connor Wilbur, SFA|
1. Stephen F. Austin: Kerry Gleason, Tedrick Hawkins, D’Lance Sharp, Will Gibson
2. Abilene Christian: Avery Williams, Lee-Andrew Bloomfield, Ryan Linton, Rosen Daniel
3. Northwestern State: Charlie Milton, Amir James, Micah Larkins, George Flaviano
1. McNeese: Oliver James, Blake Comeaux, Olandis Johnson, Nathan Jones
2. UIW: Jorge Quintero, Collin Sepulveda, Cameron White, Garett Cortez
3. Sam Houston State: Chris Speaks, William Stark, Evan Arambula, Jeffrey Moore
2017 Southland Women’s Indoor Track & Field All-Conference Teams
|60-meter Dash||Thai Williams, LU||Chanissey Fowler, LU||Sharrona Williams, SLU|
|60-meter Hurdles||Daeshon Gordon, NSU||Braneshia Payton, NSU||Jerica Love, UIW|
|200-meter Dash||Imani Nave, SFA||De’Shalyn Jones, NSU||Jermeka McBride, NSU|
|400-meter Dash||De’Shalyn Jones, NSU||Dekayta Alex, SLU||Kodii Church, SHSU|
|800-meter Run||Briana McCall, SHSU||Camry Grigsby, SHSU||Kierstin Santana, HBU|
|Mile Run||Evelyn Chavez, LU||Rana Ryan, SFA||Taylor Anderson, SFA|
|4×400-meter Relay*||Northwestern State||Sam Houston State||Houston Baptist|
|3,000-meter Run||Michaela Hackett, ACU||Jannika John, LU||Shelby Pesek, SFA|
|5,000-meter Run||Michaela Hackett, ACU||Jannika John, LU||Shelby Pesek, SFA|
|DMR*||Lamar||Stephen F. Austin||Sam Houston State|
|High Jump||Sashane Hanson, AMCC||Morgan Heinrich, SHSU||Baylee Lara, SHSU|
|Pole Vault||Nicole Casper, MCN||Hannah Callaway, SHSU||Dakota Mayr, SFA|
|Long Jump||Thai Williams, LU||Deja Phillips, LU||Farydah Inoussa, UNO|
|Triple Jump||Tristyn Allen, SHSU||Thai Williams, LU||Fabriana Nation, NSU|
|Shot Put||Kristine Hanks, SHSU||Ashley Davis, SLU||Destiney Myers, NSU|
|Weight Throw||Lonnie Smith, ACU||Yarixza Rivera, SHSU||Kristine Hanks, SHSU|
|Pentathlon||Farydah Inoussa, UNO||Samantha Gibson, UCA||Madeline Kaufmann, SFA|
1. Northwestern State: Tamara Style, Natashia Jackson, Daeshon Gorgon, De’Shalyn Jones
2. Sam Houston State: Megan Smith, Kodii Church, Briana McCall, Camry Grigsby
3. Houston Baptist: Milan Fisher, Kierstin Santana, Jazmine Warden, Brandy Thomas
1. Lamar: Alexandra Sokolva, Megan Menifee, Georgia Tuckfield, Evelyn Chavez
2. Stephen F. Austin: Taryn Surratt, Tiffany Williams, Caitlin Lennon, Rana Ryan
3. Sam Houston State: Briana McCall, Jasmine Lewis, Jamie Eckford, Camry Grigsby