Track – Graf wins gold as five reach medal stand for McNeese on Saturday

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NEW ORLEANS – Three weeks removed from breaking a 38-year old McNeese school record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, graduate runner Christoph Graf won the gold medal at Saturday’s day two of the Southland Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships and giving the Cowboys their second gold medalist of the weekend.

Graf clocked a time of 8:56.47 to win the event by five seconds. His victory tallied 10 points for the Cowboys as they’ll head into Sunday’s final day with 31 points and tied for third place with Southeastern Louisiana.

Graf wasn’t the only McNeese athlete to reach the podium on Saturday.

Sophomore thrower Donavon Banks finished second in the javelin event with a personal best mark of 229-0 to earn the silver medal.

Three Cowgirl athletes also took their place on the medal stand.

Tijana Antic finished second in the triple jump with a personal best mark of 40-feet, 7 ½-inches while Morgan Woods has a second place finish in the javelin event with a throw of 154-00, also a personal record. Also, Ashley Johnson won a bronze medal in the heptathlon with 4,804 points.

“It was a good day for us,” said head coach Brendon Gilroy. “We had a lot of good performances and had a lot of athletes step it up. It’s also nice to have several advance to Sunday’s finals in their events.”

The Cowgirls, who are also in third place heading into Sunday’s events with 43 points, has several advance from Saturday’s preliminaries and into Sunday’s finals.

Aleyah Donald will run in the 100-meter finals; Shannon McLellan and Imogen Hull in the 1500-meter run; Tijana Antic in the 100-meter hurdles and Nina Radisavlevic in the 400-meter hurdles.

On the men’s side, Tyler Smith will compete in both the 100 and 200-meter finals, Jalon Charles in the 400m finals, Olandis Johnson in the 800m finals and Christoph Graf will look to become a double gold medal winner as he competes in the 1500-meter finals.

Sam Houston State is the top team in the women’s standings with 70.5 points followed by Stephen F. Austin with 69, McNeese 43, Northwestern State 39, Lamar 36, Abilene Christian 21, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 19, Houston Baptist 15.5, Central Arkansas 14, Southeastern Louisiana 13, Incarnate Word 8.5 and Nicholls with 2.5 points.

On the men’s side, Stephen F. Austin leads the team standings with 64 points followed by Sam Houston State with 54, McNeese and Southeastern Louisiana with 31, Abilene Christian 27, Northwestern State 25, Lamar 23, Houston Baptist 15 and Incarnate Word 3.

SATURDAY’S FINALS
Women:
3000m Steeplechase – 7, Alison Smegal 11:30.93
Triple Jump – 2, Tijana Antic 40-07.50
Shot Put – 5, Alanna Arvie 45-10.50
Javelin – 2, Morgan Woods 154-00; 4, Abbie Delcambre 130-02
Heptathlon – 3, Ashley Johnson 4804

Men:
3000m Steeplechase – 1, Christoph Graf 8:56.47; 7, Brian Flanagan 9:34.30
Javelin – 2, Donavon Banks 229-00
Decathlon – 8, Zach Dibbern 5851

ADVANCING TO SUNDAY’S FINALS
Women:
100m – Aleyah Donald
1500m – Shannon McLellan, Imogen Hull
100m Hurdles – Tijana Antic
400m Hurdles – Nina Radisavljevic

Men:
100m – Tyler Smith
200m – Tyler Smith
400m – Jalon Charles
800m – Olandis Johnson
1500m – Christoph Graf

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Matthew Bonnette

Matthew Bonnette

Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Information, McNeese State

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