EDINBURG – The first conference champion of the Texans’ Division I and Western Athletic Conference era officially belongs to Tarleton track and field.
Alan Palmer achieved the milestone in the long jump to begin day two of the WAC Championships on Friday at UTRGV. He leapt 24′ 11.75 to claim the gold medal. More than three-quarters of a foot separated Palmer from the next closest competitor.
Palmer, a junior, picked up 10 points for Tarleton’s men’s team with the win. The Broken Arrow, Oklahoma native sealed the victory on his third-of-six jumps.
The accomplishment added to Palmer’s already decorated career in Purple and White. He broke the indoor program record in the event in 24′ 0.75″.
Palmer’s triumph was the apex of a robust team showing for Tarleton. Two other athletes received all-conference honors in field or combined events while 11 others advanced to Saturday’s finals in sprints, hurdles and middle distance events.
Emily Simon claimed second place in the heptathlon to join Palmer in giving Tarleton two All-WAC first team athletes on Friday. She took third in the long jump (17′ 5.25″) and fifth in the javelin (96′ 3″) to aid her overall score of 4,958 points. Simon, from Vernon, Texas, set a personal record with her score and won a trio of events on Thursday: the 100m hurdles, shot put, and high jump.
Joining Palmer and Simon on the All-Conference list was Jasmine McQuirter. The senior nabbed fifth place in the long jump with a leap of 18′ 1″. She then turned around and qualified for the finals in the 100m dash with a time of 11.87 in the prelims. McQuirter, a two-time NCAA Division II All-American, set a personal record with the mark.
Tarleton’s collective effort in the track events was highlighted by its performance in the 400m dash. Anterius Brown, Zachary Martinez and Brandon McKissick all advanced to the finals. Brown won the prelims in 47.68. Martinez and McKissick went fourth and sixth with respective times of 48.61 and 48.89 seconds.
The trio will run the first three legs of the Texans’ 4x400m relay team on Saturday. Sophomore Bailey Smotek is set to anchor.
Smotek registered a two-second personal record in the 800m (1:55.39) to finish eighth in the prelims and move on to Saturday’s finals. Fellow underclassman Kevin Calvani also set a new personal record in the event with a time of 1:57.97.
Four of Tarleton’s five men’s hurdlers qualified for Saturday’s grand finale. In the 110m hurdles, Cornelius Coleman and Sullivan Sanders came in third and fourth at 14,46 and 14.67 seconds. Sanders set a person record in the race.
Joey Ortiz-Martinez and Dahmir Pearson then earned berths in the 400m hurdles finals. Ortiz-Martinez set a two-second personal record with a time of 54′ 66″ and placed fifth. Pearson was not far behind, as the Sul Ross State University transfer finished one spot behind Ortiz-Martinez with a time of 54.80.
Overall, Tarleton’s men’s and women’s teams both sit in fifth place. The men have 19 points while the women have registered 11 points.