Jan 19, 2013 3:47 PM by UL Sports Information
LAKE CHARLES - An individual champion in women's long jump, the top collegian in men's pole vault and three cross country standouts pacing a first-place finish in men's distance medley were the highlights of the 2013 indoor season opener for Louisiana men's and women's track and field here Friday in the McNeese Invite.
In his first performance as the lead pole vaulter for the Cajuns men, Michael Vani began his senior campaign with a clearance of 4.75m/15-7 which placed him second overall and tops amongst all collegians in the event. Vani's height was a full foot greater than the next collegiate competitor (Lamar's Jared Parker - 4.45m/14-7 ¼).
Stacy Imagbe landed the Cajuns first individual title of the season when she leaped 5.86m/19-2 ¾ in the women's long jump, a mark that was just shy of her indoor best of 5.99m/19-8 set at the 2012 Sun Belt indoor meet.
Men's cross country standouts Scott Brewster, Matt Rice and Cole Stafford teamed with senior Antoine Jackson to top opposing teams from Northwestern State and Southeastern Louisiana in the distance medley relay. The Cajuns posted a time of 11:44.36 which was four full seconds faster than NSU (11:48.83).
In what turned out to be a strong day for the Cajuns jumps units, Louisiana saw a 2-3-4 finish in women's triple jump with Jasmin Fusilier (2nd - 11.82m/38-9 ½), Ta'Shania Bean (3rd - 11.82m/38-9 ½) and Tarvia Conway (4th - 11.72m/38-5 ½) comprising the trio.
In men's triple jump, three-time Sun Belt Conference indoor Top 3 finisher O'Daylon Thibeaux landed a Top 5 mark in the 2013 opener with a leap of 14.37m/47-1 ¾. Joining him in the Top 5 was Quadaex White with a fifth place finishing leap of 14.34m/47-0 ¾
"It was a good start to the season for us. This meet is more of a test of fitness for us to determine where we stand, but there were some standout areas and surprises for us," head coach Lon Badeaux said. "I thought the jumps group as a whole performed extremely well as well as some of the youngsters on the track that we mainly had in relays.
"Overall it was a successful meet and start to the season," Badeaux added.
Junior Morgan Breaux's 55 meter dash time of 7.39 qualified the North Vermilion High product for the finals of the event where she placed sixth (7.40).
Freshman Ashley Irwin's debut in the 1 mile run resulted in an eighth place finish. Irwin traversed the distance in 5:43.66 and was a mere six seconds from fifth place.
In men's track, Lafayette native Trey Bonin made his collegiate indoor debut and was Louisiana's top runner in the 3,000 meter run with a time of 9:38.99.
The grouping of Morgan Cormier, Kegan Keys, Zach Meche and DeMarcus Runnels competed in the Cajuns men's first 4x400 meter relay of the season and came in five seconds off the top time. The Cajuns' quartet clocked in a 3:31.26, coming in right behind Southern's first-place time of 3:26.38.
Meredith Driskell's collegiate debut in women's pole vault resulted in a clearance of 3.35m/10-11 ¾, a mark that placed her third amongst the nine competitors.
Jana Jones gave the Cajuns a Top 10 mark in the women's shot put with a toss of 12.25m/40-2 ¼. The distance marked a personal indoor best for the sophomore from Hinesville, Ga.
All-American Albert Fournette sat out the event, but the Cajuns still managed two Top 10 finishers in men's shot put. Scottie Williams' shot put of 13.32m/43-8 ½ placed eighth overall, while Sander Maes claimed 10th place with a toss of 12.49m/40-11 ¾. Maes had the top mark in his group.
UP NEXT FOR LOUISIANA
The Ragin' Cajuns venture to Jonesboro, Ark. to compete in the ASU Invitational hosted by Arkansas State at the Convocation Center on Friday, Jan. 25. Field events begin at 10 a.m. with men's and women's weight throw. Running events are slated to start at 11 a.m. with the 55 meter dash preliminaries.