North Texas Daily

Track and field turns focus to C-USA Indoor Championships

Track and field turns focus to C-USA Indoor Championships

Track and field turns focus to C-USA Indoor Championships
February 18
13:30 2022

Note from the editor: This story has been corrected to accurately reflect the results of the 2021 Conference USA Indoor Championships.

After appearing at four meets this spring, track and field has its sights set on the Conference USA Indoor Championships where it will compete on Feb. 19 and 20 in Birmingham, Ala.

The team geared up for the meet with competitions hosted by Texas A&M University, the University of Oklahoma and Texas Tech University. Doing so helped the team get a feel for its top performers and improve its times before heading into the culmination of its indoor slate.

“We are a different team than last year,” track and field director Carl Sheffield said. “But I think we will go into this year’s championship looking for opportunities to compete from the beginning.”

The men’s team finished No. 2 in last year’s C-USA Indoor Championships. With the help of four finalists in the men’s 60-meter dash, first-place and second-place finishers in the men’s 200-meter dash and a first-place finish in men’s shot put, the Mean Green scored 114 points.

“We found ourselves in a situation last year after we qualified individuals to the finals like, ‘Hey, we could be in this,’” Sheffield said. “I think everyone’s morale is really high, it’s been on their radar all season.”

The women’s team finished No. 8 at the indoor meet last year with 37.50 points. Sheffield said he is expecting a better turnout for the women in this year’s championship.

Senior hurdler Monica Johnson has set career marks this season, recording a personal best at the Texas Tech Open and Multis and qualifying for multiple semifinal and final rounds in the women’s 60-meter dash.

“As a team, we do great leading each other on to support each other,” Johnson said. “The goal is for our team to win conference.”

Junior thrower Chris Samaniego has broken the school weight throw record three times since the indoor season began. With his most recent record at the Texas Tech Shootout, Samaniego threw for a distance of 62-2 ¼ (18.95 meters) to place No. 5 in the event.

“Coach has really pushed me to just go out and have fun,” Samaniego said. “All my other teammates have the same focus to just go have fun and do their best and enjoy the competition.”

The men have also seen the development of sophomore sprinter Karlington Anunagba since he placed No. 4 in the men’s 60-meter dash and qualified for the final round of the men’s 200-meter dash at last year’s indoor meet.

Anunagba tied the school record in the men’s 60-meter dash at the Texas Tech Open and Multis with a time of 6.69 seconds.

“I expect to score more points than last year,” Anunagba said. “Going into conference I do want to win all my events but I can only go out and do my best.”

The conference championship meet will be followed a few weeks later by the NCAA Indoor Championships on March 11 and 12. To qualify for the NCAA Indoor National Championships, athletes must rank inside the top 16 nationally in their respective events while relays must rank inside the top 12.

“We did not run our fastest times in our first three weeks, but if you look you can see we get better each week that we run,” Sheffield said. “The neat thing about being in the state of Texas is you can go to high-level competitions that are only three to five hours away and compete with the best in the country. For them to have to compete against [those schools] on a regular basis just sharpens them on the information of what it takes to be good.”

Featured Image: Junior sprinter Tobias Walker warms up on Feb. 5, 2022. Photo by  Maria Crane

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Kevin Walker

Kevin Walker

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