NEW ORLEANS - The 2022 Sun Belt Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships are set for May 12-14, hosted by Louisiana at the Home Bank Soccer and Track Facility in Lafayette, La. The three-day event will begin Thursday at 9 a.m. CT and finish on Saturday evening as the Arkansas State men’s team looks to defend its 2021 Championship title, while the Red Wolves eye the first Sun Belt's first women's three-peat since 2011.
After the 2020 OTF Championships were canceled due to COVID-19, the A-State program swept the Championships in 2021 – the first time one program took home both titles since Western Kentucky captured both trophies in 2011.
The Red Wolves women claimed their third title in six seasons with 139 points, a comfortable 26.5-point cushion over runners-up South Alabama (112.5), while Louisiana finished in third place with 100.
The men from Jonesboro, Ark. captured the Championship for the third time in five seasons, riding 22 points from its 1,500-meter runners and another 19 points earned in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, posting 164 points – 32 more than runner-up South Alabama (132). Texas State finished just nine points behind the Jaguars with 123.
The 2022 Championships will start on Thursday (all times listed are Central Time) with the men's decathlon at 9 a.m., followed by the women's heptathlon at 9:30 a.m. The women's hammer throw will start at noon, and the men's hammer throw will follow at 2:30 p.m.
Day 1 will also include the women's javelin (3 p.m.), men's javelin (5:30 p.m.) and the women's 10,000 meters (8:30 p.m.). The men's 10,000 meters is set for 9:15 p.m. for the final competition for the day.
UT Arlington’s Arthur Peterson enters the meet – for the second year in a row – with a league-best 79.90m (262' 2") javelin throw. Louisiana's Maria Bienvenu paces the women's javelin field with a 53.57m (175' 9") mark. South Alabama sophomore Kyle Rademeyer will defend his title from last spring and enters the Championships with a conference-best 5.55m (18' 2.5") jump. Costal Carolina’s Shani’a Bellamy will also attempt to keep her crown after taking the top podium spot at the 2021 Championships as she enters this year’s meet with a league-best time of 57.92.
Texas State’s Kwanele Mthembu (28:50.02) and A-State’s Sophie Leathers (33:48.24) both return to the Championships eyeing back-to-back titles with the Sun Belt’s top 10,000 meter times, respectively.
Thursday's preliminary races will include the women's 1500m run (7:10 p.m.), men's 1500m run (7:20 p.m.), women's 400-meter hurdles (7:40 p.m.), and men's 400-meter hurdles (7:55 p.m.). The women's 200 meter-dash will start at 8:10 p.m., and the men's 200 meter-dash will follow at 8:15 p.m.
Friday's competition will start with finals of the men's decathlon (9 a.m.) followed by the women's heptathlon at 9:30 a.m. Finals in field events will begin at 12:30 p.m. with the women's long jump. Field event finals will continue with the women's shot put (2 p.m.), women's high jump (2 p.m.), men's long jump (3 p.m.) and will conclude with the men's shot put at 5 p.m.
Texas State’s Will Blaser and Alyssa Wilson both lead the league in the shot put. Blaser registered an 18.08 meter (59’ 4”) throw at the Michael Johnson Invitational, and Wilson tossed a 17.41 meter (57’ 1.5”) effort at the Charles Austin Classic. Wilson, a native of Toms River, N.J., accumulated six of the Sun Belt’s eight weekly Outdoor Track & Field Athlete of the Week honors after claiming the top podium spot in the weight throw at the 2022 Indoor Track & Field Championships.
For a second consecutive season, A-State’s Carter Shell currently sits in the top long jump spot with a mark of 8.06 meters (26’ 5.5”). Jade Bontke of UTA own’s the No. 1 spot in the women’s long jump with a 6.25 meter (20’ 6.25”) leap. South Alabama’s Christian Ellis will enter the championship meet with a Sun Belt-best 15.52 meter (50’ 11”) triple jump, while ULM’s Eunice Ilunga Mbuyi enters the championship meet leading the women with a 13.25 meter (43’ 5.75”) mark.
Friday evening's preliminary running events will begin with the women's 100-meter hurdles at 5 p.m., followed by the men's 110-meter hurdles at 5:15 p.m. Running events will continue with the women's 400 meters (5:30 p.m.), men's 400 meters (5:45 p.m.), women's 100 meters (6 p.m.), and the men's 100 meters (6:15 p.m.).
Running events will conclude with two mid-distance preliminary races, including the women's 800 meter (6:30 p.m.) and men's 800 meter (6:45 p.m.) and two finals events featuring the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase (7 p.m.) followed by the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase (7:25 p.m.).
Championship Saturday will feature the rest of the field events beginning at 11:30 a.m. The women's 4x100-meter relay will be the first of the running events starting at 4 p.m. The final event will start at 7 p.m. (men's 4x400-meter relay), and the award ceremony will follow that event at approximately 7:30 p.m.
For a second-straight season, A-State's Seth Waters sits atop the league in the 1,500 meter, recording a time of 3:44.20 in the Bryan Clay Invitational, while Troy’s Edita Sklenska earned a finish of 4:21.94 in the 1,500 meter at the Penn Relays. Sklenska, in consecutive years, also owns a league-best 2:05.01 time in the 800 meter.
Waters, like Sklenska, also holds an SBC-best 1:49.70 time in the 800 meter, edging teammate Lasse Funck (1:51.52) and UTA’s Jackson Chicon (1:51.60).
The 2022 Sun Belt Outdoor Track & Field Championships will be broadcast on ESPN+. All three days of the Championships will be shown live, starting with the running events each day. Field events will be recapped during the live broadcast each evening.
The Louisiana broadcast duo of Drew Fellios (play-by-play) and Consuella Moore (color) will serve as the Championships on-air talent, while Flash Results will provide live results. ESPN+ links and live results are available on the Sun Belt Championship Central Page.
Follow #SunBeltOTF on social media via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
2022 Sun Belt Men’s Outdoor Track Athlete of the Week
Week 1 – Reuben Dotson, Troy
Week 2 – Joel Bengtsson, UTA
Week 3 – Joel Bengtsson, UTA
Week 4 – Dominick Yancy, Texas State
Week 5 – Ryan Brown, App State
Week 6 – Cameron Jackson, Little Rock
Week 7 – Dominick Yancy, Texas State
Week 8 – Cameron Jackson, Little Rock
2022 Sun Belt Men’s Outdoor Field Athlete of the Week
Week 1 – Arthur Petersen, UTA
Week 2 – Aimar Palma Simo, Arkansas State
Week 3 – Carter Shell, Arkansas State
Week 4 – Kyle Rademeyer, South Alabama
Week 5 – Francois Prinsloo, South Alabama
Week 6 – Aimar Palma Simo, Arkansas State
Week 7 – Arthur Petersen, UTA
Week 8 – Aimar Palma Simo, Arkansas State
2022 Sun Belt Women’s Outdoor Track Athlete of the Week
Week 1 – Tatyana Terrell, UTA
Week 2 – Sophie Daigle, Louisiana
Week 3 – Melissa Jefferson, Coastal Carolina
Week 4 – Iyana Gray, UTA
Week 5 – Jasmine Donohue, App State
Week 6 – Melissa Jefferson, Coastal Carolina
Week 7 – Melissa Jefferson, Coastal Carolina
Week 8 – Jermaisha Arnold, Coastal Carolina
2022 Sun Belt Women’s Outdoor Field Athlete of the Week
Week 1 – Liv Cantby, UTA
Week 2 – Alyssa Wilson, Texas State
Week 3 – Alyssa Wilson, Texas State
Week 4 – Alyssa Wilson, Texas State
Week 5 – Bodine Degli-Umberti, South Alabama
Week 6 – Alyssa Wilson, Texas State
Week 7 – Alyssa Wilson, Texas State
Week 8 – Alyssa Wilson, Texas State
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