NATCHITOCHES - Northwestern State freshman Jessica Talley wasn't on her coach's radar when she started college last fall, but Saturday she stood atop the medal stand as the javelin champion at the 2011 Southland Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
Talley's triumph was one of the big reasons the Lady Demons could be poised for the best conference meet finish in school history Sunday when the competition concludes at the Walter P. Ledet Track Complex. After eight event finals Friday and Saturday, the NSU women trail only two-time defending champion Stephen F. Austin 63-49 in their quest for at least a runner-up finish to break new ground for the program. Thirteen more finals will be contested Sunday, beginning with field events at 11 before running starts at 3.
"We're in second? That's cool," said Lady Demons head coach Mike Heimerman. "I'm looking forward to seeing if we can battle for a team championship, with all these young ladies. Going back into the 1980s, the best finish ever for our program is third. Of our 22 qualifiers for this meet, 18 come back next year, and 16 are sophomores or freshmen. But right now our future is tomorrow and we have a lot of points within our reach. We're excited about a chance to make history, and at least be the top Louisiana team again."
Talley didn't plan to compete in track at NSU, but in the middle of last fall, she decided to give it a try.
"I didn't think about track until October, and I talked to Coach Mike. He brought me out to practice and I became a part of the team, and now I've made it all the way," she said after her winning 145-11 throw. "I'm very happy, ecstatic, about how it's worked out. Hopefully what I did, and we did, today can help us get up the standings."
As surprising as Talley's victory was in the long term, she did enter the meet as the favorite after uncorking a 152-10 mark late in the season, more than 30 feet better than her prep best. There was no disappointment in Saturday's distance, however, considering the sudden arrival of cool winds and clouds.
"The wind was horrible. It was hard to maneuver and throw. It makes the javelin die, but we all had to deal with it," she said. "I got what I was shooting for, first, and that's what matters, not my distance."
Another pleasant surprise was sophomore Carrie Lantrip climbing onto the medal stand in third place with a 139-4 mark.
"I was not expecting that. I scored eighth at conference last year, so this is big, very exciting to me. With a large headwind, it was a factor for everybody. We had an advantage, competing on our home track, and it was good for us today," she said. "Hopefully the points we scored are a big help. We're in second right now and we'd like to win it all."
NSU picked up an even more surprising third place from high jumper Keyera Thomas (5-5 Â¼), who was seeded 10th. That more than offset a two-point dip in from All-American Trecey Rew, whose 49-10 netted a runner-up finish instead of the anticipated victory in her specialty, the shot put. Teammates Chantel Bratton (sixth, 46-2) and Keona Jackson (eighth, 45-4 Â¼) each exceeded projections.
"We mis-timed Trecey's cortisone shot for her (injured) wrist, and she could never get it going today," said Heimerman. "She feels terrible about it, but there is no way we do. Trecey is the best there's ever been in this program and in this conference and we wouldn't be in the running if not for her."
On the men's side, NSU sprinter Justin Walker had the fastest 200 meter qualifying time (20.81, a season's best) as he prepared to defend his title in that race, and was the third-fastest 100 meter qualifier at 10.46. He will anchor the Demons' 4x100 relay team (39.82) that will battle SFA (39.80) in the first race of the day, one which figures to be one of the meet highlights.
The Stephen F. Austin men maintained their lead in team standings, opening a commanding margin, 82-55 over Texas-Arlington (58 Â½) and Texas-Arlington (55).
The Lumberjack men have scored 82 points through eight events and lead UT Arlington (58.5) and UTSA (55.5).
Saturday's finals results and team scores from the second day of the 2011 Southland Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships hosted by Northwestern State at the Walter P. Ledet Track Complex:
Heptathlon - 1, Katherine Evans, Texas State, 5,007 points; 2, Jasmine Ellis, Central Arkansas, 4,888; 3, Mariah Georgetown, McNeese State, 4,857; 4 (tie), Morgan Davis, Sam Houston State, 4,723; Danessa Lyssy, Texas State, 4,723; 6, Aimee Jonas, Texas-San Antonio, 4,697; 7, Danielle Ordonez, Sam Houston State, 4,696; 8, Tina Valenzuela, Texas State, 4,444
Shot Put - 1, Kaitlyn Andrews, Stephen F. Austin, 51-0; 2, Trecey Rew, Northwestern State, 49-10; 3, Ashlee Smith, McNeese State, 46-11; 4, Christina Webb, Sam Houston State, 46-10 Â¼; 5, Zaquita McClanahan, Texas-San Antonio, 46-8 Â¼; 6, Chantel Bratton, Northwestern State, 46-2; 7, Kelsy Titzman, Texas State, 45-11 Â¼; 8, Keona Jackson, 45-4 Â¼
High Jump - 1, Chelsea Dockery, Nicholls, 5-9 Â¼; 2, Katherine Evans, Texas State, 5-7 Â¼; 3, Keyera Thomas, Northwestern State, 5-5 Â¼; 4 (tie), Megan Harlan, Stephen F. Austin, 5-3 Â¼; Aimee Jonas, Texas-San Antonio, 5-3 Â¼; Jessica Potter, Central Arkansas, 5-3 Â¼; Lisa Bingham, Texas State, 5-3 Â¼; 8, Brandi Huff, A&M-Corpus Christi, 5-3 Â¼
Long Jump - 1, Ernestine Cray, A&M-Corpus Christi, 19-2; 2, Camelia Sams, Stephen F. Austin, 19-1 Â¼; 3, Ambra McCuin, Sam Houston State, 18-10; 4, Crystal Walker, Stephen F. Austin, 18-9 Â¾; 5, Jessica Edwards, Texas-San Antonio, 18-9; 6, Jennifer Brown, Texas-Arlington, 18-8; 7, Krystal Wynn, Texas-San Antonio, 18-7 Â¼; 8, Alicia Jackson, Stephen F. Austin, 18-4 Â¼
Javelin - 1, Jessica Talley, Northwestern State, 145-11; 2, Jaimee Springer, Nicholls, 145-3; 3, Carrie Lantrip, Northwestern State, 139-4; 4, Meraiah Young, McNeese State, 137-6; 5, Aja Scott, Nicholls, 133-11; 6, Shalicia Rochon, Southeastern Louisiana, 127-9; 7, Chelsey Steele, Southeastern Louisiana, 127-3; 8, Danielle Daigle, Nicholls, 126-10
3000 Steeplechase - 1, Kadi Whisnant, Nicholls, 10:47.15; 2, Randi Wymer, Stephen F. Austin, 10:51.41; 3, Caitlin Arumbula, A&M-Corpus Christi, 11:00.54; 4, Laurie Byrd, Stephen F. Austin, 11:07.72; 5, Samantha Fish, Texas-San Antonio, 11:09.45; 6, Courtney Nelson, Texas-San Antonio, 11:17.79; 7, Cecilia Gonzales, A&M-Corpus Christi, 11:17.89; 8, Jessica Bitterly, Texas-San Antonio, 11:19.52
Team Standings (8 events) - 1, Stephen F. Austin 63 Â½; 2, Northwestern State 49; 3, Texas State 38, 4, Nicholls 36, 5, Texas-San Antonio 29 Â½; 6, McNeese 29; 7, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 23, 8, Sam Houston State19 Â½; 9, Central Arkansas 11 Â½; 10 (tie), Southeastern Louisiana 5; Lamar 5; 12, Texas-Arlington 3
Decathlon - 1, Romain Martin, Texas-Arlington, 7,556 points; 2, Chris Jones, Stephen F. Austin, 7,076; 3, Kyle Kaase, Texas-San Antonio, 6,667; 4, Andrew Plentl, Stephen F. Austin, 6,353; 5, Josh Sigmon, Sam Houston State, 6,196; 6, Ben Marvin, Texas State, 6,184; 7, Lucas Neeper, Texas-San Antonio, 6,129; 8, Stephen Atkinson, Southeastern Louisiana, 6,006
Long Jump - 1, Jaron Criswell, Central Arkansas, 24-9 Â¼; 2, Lionel Mungwari, Texas-Arlington, 24-1 Â¾; 3, Jamal Peden, Stephen F. Austin, 23-8 Â¾; 4, Brandon Waller, Texas-Arlington, 23-6 Â¾; 5, Matthew Johnson, Sam Houston State, 23-5 Â½; 6, Phillippe Moore, Southeastern Louisiana, 23-5 Â¼; 7, Michael Rheams, Southeastern Louisiana, 23-3 Â¼; 8, Tyler Williamson, Texas-San Antonio, 23-0 Â¾
High Jump - 1, Keith Benford, Texas-San Antonio, 6-10 Â¾; 2, Louis Hedgeman, Sam Houston State, 6-10 Â¾; 3 (tie), Isiah Clements, Texas-Arlington, 6-8 Â¾; Kerry Thompson, Texas-San Antonio, 6-8 Â¾; 5, Bobby Washington, Central Arkansas, 6-8 Â¾; 6, Garrett Robinson, Texas State, 6-6 Â¾; 7 (tie), Joshua Commiato, Northwestern State, 6-6 Â¾; Mari Konate, McNeese State, 6-6 Â¾; Sean Masek, Texas-San Antonio, 6-6 Â¾
Shot Put - 1, Jon Arthur, Stephen F. Austin, 58-8; 2, Richard Garrett, Texas-San Antonio, 58-6; 3, Casey Keeter, Texas-Arlington, 57-2 Â¾; 4, Preston Sanders, Sam Houston State, 56-01 3/4; 5, Thomas Canchola, McNeese State, 53-9 Â¼; 6, Jacob Shultz, Sam Houston State, 53-5 Â¾; 7, Daniel Rodriguez, Texas-San Antonio, 52-2 Â¾; 8, Branko Petrovic, Texas-Arlington, 51-9 Â¾
3000 Steeplechase - 1, Adam Saloom, Stephen F. Austin, 9:07.46; 2, Xavier Rodriguez, Stephen F. Austin, 9:07.56; 3, Arisel Perez, A&M-Corpus Christi; 4, Henry Rop, Southeastern Louisiana, 9:27.61; 5, Aaron Purser, Texas-Arlington, 9:27.98; 6, Michael Morris, Texas State, 9:35.19; 7, Brandon Chiuminetta, Texas-San Antonio, 9:43.98; 8, Jacob Abrego, A&M-Corpus Christi, 9:45.81
Javelin - 1, Sam Vidrine, McNeese, 218-6; 2, Ivan Storic, Texas-Arlington, 212-0; 3, Adam Wolfe, Stephen F. Austin, 205-4; 4, Matthew Johnson, Sam Houston State, 197-0; 5, Romain Martin, Texas-Arlington, 189-6; 6, Mason McGee, Southeastern Louisiana, 186-10; 7, Chris Jones, Stephen F. Austin, 185-3; 8, Sohji Izumi, Central Arkansas, 185-2
Team Standings (8 events) - 1, Stephen F. Austin 82, 2, Texas-Arlington 58 Â½, 3, Texas-San Antonio 55 Â½; 4, Sam Houston State 33, 5, McNeese State 25, 6, Southeastern Louisiana 20, 7, Central Arkansas 15, 8, Texas State 10, 9, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 7, 10, Lamar 5, 11, Northwestern State 1.
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