Richardson, Texas-University of the Ozarks will be among nine teams converging on Hardin-Simmons University Friday and Saturday for the 21st American Southwest Conference Men's and Women's Track and Field Championships.
Conference competition opens at 8:00 a.m. Friday (April 21) with the 10,000 meter run followed by sprint event preliminaries throughout the morning. Field events are scheduled at 2:00 with Steeplechase finals closing the day at 6:00. Saturday (April 22) is finals day with events beginning at 9:00 a.m. and running through the afternoon. Presentation of awards will follow completion of the championships.
The ASC Track and Field Championships include two more scoring teams in this year's meets. McMurry is eligible for Conference titles and awards for the first time since the 2012 championships after moving through NCAA membership changes. Louisiana College added men's and women's track and field for 2016-17 and will be participating in its first conference championships. Under ASC policy, Belhaven will participate as non-scoring teams and individuals as it continues toward Division III membership.
UT Tyler enters as four-time defending men's champion (2013, '14, '15, '16) while Hardin-Simmons won last season's women's title. Concordia Texas, East Texas Baptist, University of the Ozarks and Sul Ross State complete the eight scoring teams.
Sprint and jump events are projected to be most competitive in the men's championship. The Sul Ross State 4x100m relay has the second-best time in Division III (41.23) and includes Byron Jones who lists No. 9 in Division III 200m (21.68) and Richard Snyder who is the defending ASC 400m champion. Louisiana College freshman James Willingham has the Division III-best high jump mark (7 1/2) and ranks No. 10 triple jump (47-3 1/2). Concordia Texas sophomore Gabriel Spivey is defending long jump champion and has posted a season-best 23-11 3/4 for sixth-best in Division III.
On the women's side, UT Tyler senior Whitney Simmons will defend her hammer throw and discus titles. Simmons has a Division III-best hammer throw performance (205-1) and has posted a 132-6 mark in the discus. Simmons won the Division indoor weight throw title in March. Sprint events will be highly competitive as defending 200m and 400m champion Karley Harris of Sul Ross State will face challenge from McKaila Shelfer and McKenzie Shelfer of McMurry. Hardin-Simmons sophomore Sydney Tencate is one of the top ASC distance performers and recorded a 41:14.94 in the 10,000m for a Top 15 mark in the South/Southeast Region rankings.
East Texas Baptist
University of the Ozarks
Sul Ross State
*2017 Non-scoring team, individuals.