Arkansas State Athletics sweeps SBC Indoor Championships for 3rd straight season

When the Arkansas State track teams entered the Birmingham CrossPlex on Tuesday, the task was simple: bring home a pair of conference titles.

It’s safe to say they got the job done, running away with a sweep of the 2022 Sun Belt Conference Indoor Championships for the third consecutive season. Both teams held a lead going into the final day and never let it go, with the A-State men totaling 162.5 points and the women finishing with 127 points. Texas State finished second as a team on both sides.

The conference crowns marked the school’s 19th and 20th under director of athletics and cross country Jim Patchell, which moved him past the great Jay Flanagan for the most titles conference in the history of the program. Tuesday also marked the men’s 10th indoor championship and the women’s seventh, making the Red Wolves the winningest active program in the Sun Belt on either side. The women’s crown tied former member Western Kentucky for the all-time lead.

“It was an outstanding performance from both of our teams and I’m extremely proud of our effort and our competitiveness,” Patchell said. “It’s not easy to continue to perform at such a high level in the championships, and the fact that we’ve done that consistently over the past few years in a very good conference against very tough programs is a testament to the work hard work and dedication from our student-athletes and our coaching staff. It’s a great day to be a Red Wolf and I couldn’t be prouder.

A day after winning the men’s long jump crown, Carter Shell went on to win gold in the triple jump with a personal best 15.30m (50-2.5). He became the first A-State jumper to win the indoor doubles horizontal jumps at the Sun Belt Indoor Championships and the first since Roelf Pienaar at the 2016 Outdoor Championships.

Frank Massey took silver in the men’s high jump, posting an indoor record 2.11m (6-11.0), while Camryn Newton-Smith finished his comeback season with a second-place finish in the pentathlon, totaling 3,753 points. Rookie Isabel Daines also put up a strong showing, placing fifth with a college-best 3,472 points.

On the track, outside All-American Bennett Pascoe did what he does best, breaking the men’s mile meet record to win gold, finishing in 4:06.84. His performance led a monstrous 23-point production by the men’s team, as Seth Waters took silver in 4:08.47. Lasse Funck and Grégoire Saury followed sixth and seventh respectively.

Waters and Cheyenne Melvin then notched second-place results in the 800m, with Waters crossing the line in 1:52.34 and Melvin finishing in 2:09.74.

Hurdler Ke’Von Holder also set a meet record. Rainee Bowers took silver in the women’s race, clocking a blistering 8.35 that ranks second all-time at A-State in the event. Tyra Nabors and Chelby Melvin followed her in sixth and seventh.

Freshman Willem Coertzen recorded his best performance of the indoor season for when it mattered most in the men’s shot put, throwing the apparatus 17.00m (55-9.25) to win the money. Fellow rookie Jacob Tracy added two more points in the event with a throw of 15.44m (50-8.0). Evangelynn Harris placed third in the women’s shot put with a throw of 15.40m (50-6.25), as she was one of three A-State throwers in the top 8.

Another freshman, Omari Walker, displayed his blistering speed with a bronze medal in the men’s 60m, running 6.81. Jonae Cook had six points for the women’s team in the sprints, placing fifth in the 200m with a time of 24.34 which ranks fourth in school history, and seventh in the 60m with a score of 7.54.

Lauren Beauchamp cleared a season-high 3.86m (12-8.0) in the women’s pole vault to win bronze, while Avery Shell and Grace Shaffer both cleared 3.76m (12 -4.0) to finish sixth and seventh.

After taking second place in the women’s 5000m on Monday, Sophie Leathers grabbed another silver medal in the 3000m on Tuesday. The Grapevine, Texas native finished in 9:54.44, with Sophia Oury and Sarah Trammel also factoring in the team score with sixth and seventh place finishes.

The men also won a silver medal in the 3000m, with Jacob Pyeatt leading a group of red wolves who totaled 15 points in the event. The Mountain Home, Ark. native finished in 8:19.76.

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