Alabama-Huntsville men and women win inaugural Peach Belt Conference crowns
ROME, Ga. -- The inaugural Peach Belt Conference Championships belong to both Alabama-Huntsville's men and women, as both teams took home first place this weekend on the campus of Shorter.
The women's team edged Nova Southeastern for the top spot finishing with 171 points to Nova's 163, while the men's team got past UNC Pembroke for their crown by just four points 164-160.
“This was the most exciting track meet I have been a part of. The score was so close we had to wait for the announcement of the final team scores. To pull out wins in such a tightly contested meet was thrilling,” head coach David Cain said.
Despite just three first-place finishes in the 14 events that took place on Saturday, both teams filled up the top eight spots in the running events and had others score high in the field events. It was a complete team effort by both teams to take home the championship.
Luke Beck took the top spot in the pole vault to earn 10 points and Wil Lester threw 145-00 to take first place in the discus and also earned 10 points. Beck provisionally qualified in the pole vault with a height of 15-11.00.
Also claiming a first place finish was Devin Jones in the high jump. The freshman had a tremendous weekend taking second in the long jump with a personal record and finishing fifth in the 400 meter hurdles.
Beck also came through in the javelin throw, taking second place. Beck held the best distance until the final toss by an opponent to fall to second place.
The women's team really stepped up following the injury to national-qualifier Kedeshia Simpson. Simpson injured herself in the final of the 100 and took eighth place in the event before walking in the 200 and also taking eighth.
“I am so proud of each member of our women's team for giving it all they had and overcoming a major setback when Kedeshia hurt her leg. Our seniors Nadia and Elisa went out with a bang with them both scoring a big three points in each of their respective events,” Cain said.
Katelin Barber took second place in the 100 meter with a 12.41, just .03 off the first-place pace. Mariah Tolbert took fifth place in the event with a 12.83 to earn four points as well.
Coming up huge in the 400 meter was Eden Williams, who a ran a personal-best 57.38 to take second place and also ran a personal-best 25.66 in the 200 meter.
Elisa Baskin finished a strong second in the women's shot put with a toss of 39-06.50 to earn eight points, while Alisia Matthews threw a 37-07.75 to take fourth.
Taking fifth and sixth place, respectively, in the triple jump were Desni Scaife and Alex Briscoe. Scaife leaped 35-05.00, while Briscoe jumped a distance of 35-00.25.
Both the men's and women's 4x400 meter relay team took a solid third place to earn six points. Both races came down to the final 100 meters.
Sophomore Blaise Binns was huge for the men as he took second place in the men's 5,000 meters and second in the 800 meter. Binns ran a 1:56.65 in the 800 meter, five seconds off his school-record pace he set earlier this year, but still strong enough for a runner-up.
Also coming up big in the men's 110 hurdles was Brennan Parks with a second place finish and Aaron Lee with a solid third. Parks ran a 15.74 with Lee running a 15.91 in the highly-competitive race.
Senior Nadia Araiinejad notched six points for her third place finish in the women's javelin throw, picking up crucial points.
“I am extremely proud of both teams and I am at a loss for words. We were absolutely outstanding and I couldn't be happier for these kids and this program for how hard we worked. The first-ever Peach Belt Conference Championship belongs to UAH,” Cain said.