First place finishes highlight indoor track championships

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First place finishes highlight indoor track championships

February 22, 2016:  Day one of the Sunbelt 2016 Indoor Track & Field Championship

February 22, 2016: Day one of the Sunbelt 2016 Indoor Track & Field Championship

Michael Wade/Wade Event Photography

February 22, 2016: Day one of the Sunbelt 2016 Indoor Track & Field Championship

Michael Wade/Wade Event Photography

Michael Wade/Wade Event Photography

February 22, 2016: Day one of the Sunbelt 2016 Indoor Track & Field Championship

Josh Dean

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A new ULM record set the pace for the Warhawks on day one of the Indoor Sun Belt Conference Championships.

Junior Alton Clay, Jr. threw for 18.70 meters in the weight throw to become the first Warhawk to win gold in the event in a conference championship in school history.

The toss came on his fourth of five throws and blew away his previous best of 17.78 by almost a full meter.

“I made a lot of changes with my technique so I knew I was going to come get a big throw. I expected at least a personal record in the event”, Clay said.

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GOING FOR GOLD: From left to right: 1) Junior Alton Clay, Jr. earns gold in the weight throw with a toss of 18.70 meters. 2) Senior Isaac Grieder wins the pole vaulting event on his way to gold in the heptathlon.

Junior Jemal Parharm, Jr. followed up the strong start to the day with a bronze  medal in the long jump. He leapt for a season-best 7.52 meters. On the women’s side two points were earned on the day.

Junior Alex Gordon tossed for 17.2 meters in the weight throw which beat her previous season best of 16.87 meters.

In the distance medley the crew of   Angela Jepchirchir, Colby Carey, Edith Jebit, and Teona Glave delivered a point with a time of 12:54.38.

Entering day two plenty of action was still to unfold. After four events senior Isaac Grieder sat in third place in the heptathlon.

“I was nervous, but I knew my best events were coming,” Grieder said.

The next event was the the 60 meter hurdles, and with a personal record of 8.51 seconds Grieder surged into second place.

The competitors then moved onto pole vaulting, which is Grieder’s best event. Clearing the bar at a season-best 4.85 meters Grieder vaulted into first place with one event to go.

The athletes stepped up to the line for the 1000m, and despite a strong race by University of Louisiana Lafayette rival Franz Beyer, Grieder held on to win his second gold medal in the seven event competition.

The heptathlon marked the last competition of his collegiate career and Grieder said emotion overcame him on the podium.

“I teared up a little bit on the podium, because I knew that I wasn’t going to be standing there anymore,” Grieder said.

The Warhawks were not done soaring to new heights and several more medals were won before the day was over.

Sophomore Delwin Nelson sprung for a personal best of 15.40 meters in the high jump to take the silver medal.

“When I first went out there I actually texted my coach and said, ‘I’m really nervous.’ He told me nerves were good. After hitting a personal best 15 meters on my second jump I told myself it was time  to get a nice jump in, and that’s when I jumped for 15.40,” Nelson said.

Also medaling on the day was senior Andrew Tate. He blazed around the track in the 400 meter with a time of 47.79 to claim third place in the event.

“I wanted to come out with the Sun Belt record, but a bronze medal is a medal. It’s a step forward and pushes me well for the outdoor season,” Tate said.

A fifth place finish by freshman Lavaughn Battick in the 60 meter hurdles and fourth place finish by the men in the 4 by 400 meter closed out the tournament.

After the medals were awarded and the dust settled the men stood in second to last and the women last.

Coach J.D. Malone thought the team showed potential for the outdoor season.

“Our overall placement was dissapointing but we just have to keep getting better,” Malone said.