NACOGDOCHES – Tarleton track and field made itself right at home in the self-proclaimed “Oldest Town in Texas” on Friday at the SFA Invite.
Facing their east Texas-based Western Athletic Conference rivals – Lamar, Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin – for the first time on the outdoor stage amidst a 12-team field, the Texans dazzled. Tarleton obtained four individual victories, snared 23 medals and placed a total of 49 of the 57 athletes it traveled to the Piney Woods in the top-10 in at least one event. The program demonstrated considerable progression in relays, too, as both its 4x400m relay teams notched season personal records as did its women’s 4x100m relay quartet.
The first event of the single-day affair spawned the Texans’ first win. Freshman Allison Robling cleared 10″ 10″ to win the pole vault to kick off the meet.
Jordan Anglin then blitzed the women’s 400m field in 55.98 and earned her first event win in Purple and White. Anglin’s ranks fourth on Tarleton’s all-time outdoor top-10 list, seventh in the WAC and 31st in the NCAA South Central Region.
Oscar Rodriguez followed by cruising to the crown in the discus behind a toss of 161′ 3″. Rodriguez, the reigning WAC champion in the event, also finished second in the hammer throw with a heave of 168′ 2″. He was one of three athletes to earn two medals for Tarleton.
The fourth-and-final event victory belonged to Dominick Vastlik, who won the 5,000m in 15:35.79.
The multiple-medal distinction was reserved for Brady Sisneroz and Breonna Campbell as well. Both athletes undoubtedly enjoyed their best collegiate meets. They each competed in two open events and one relay.
Sisneroz finished second in the 400m hurdles (54.07) and crossed the finish line third in the finals of the 110m hurdles in 14.91, notching personal records in each event. He continues to rank sixth among his conference peers and jumped to 23rd in the NCAA South Central Region in the 400m hurdles.
The sophomore’s afternoon was far from complete. The Rogers, Texas native then anchored Tarleton’s 4x400m relay team to a season personal record of 3:14.31 via a personal record split. Sisneroz was joined by Brandon McKissick, Bailey Smotek and Zachary Martinez. The Texans moved to fifth in the WAC in the relay following the performance.
Campbell’s time in the Piney Woods followed a similar trajectory. She began her day with a third-place finish and personal record of 11.96 in the 100m, then earned a silver medal and was Tarleton’s top finisher in the 200m at 24.73 – also a lifetime best. A freshman from Wichita Falls, Texas, Campbell also ran the second leg of Tarleton’s 4x100m relay, helping the team claim second place in 46.00.
Before the meet transitioned to the track, Tarleton delivered a clarion call that it boasts one of the best javelin throwers in the nation. Elise Smith registered her fourth straight medal and personal record in as many weeks, slinging the spear 152′ 10″ to move to second in the WAC, 12th in the NCAA South Central Region and 65th among all D1 athletes.
The Texans were particularly dominant in sprints.
Especially the 400m.
All four of Tarleton’s women’s competitors finished in the top-eight.
Anglin led the way while junior Alessa King finished second with a lifetime personal record of 56.75. Freshman Macie Evans followed suit with her third consecutive personal record of 57.50 en route to a fifth-place finish. Fellow freshman Brenna Lee rounded out the effort by placing seventh in 58.33.
On the men’s side, Brandon McKissick added to his best career outdoor season with a bronze medal on the strength of a lifetime personal record of 47.41. The senior jumped to fifth in school history and on the WAC Outdoor Performance List following the race.
The 100m and 200m were just as fruitful for Tarleton.
Hanna Dudley and Summer Croxton combined to give the Texans three athletes in the top-10 of the women’s 100m. Dudley matched her lifetime personal best at 11.91 to place third. Croxton came in at 12.29 to finish 10th.
Nyla Barlow finished one one-hundredth of a second and one spot back of Campbell in the 200m at 24.74 while Croxton earned her second-of-two top-10 finishes with a split of 25.34.
Reigning WAC Track Athlete of the Week Justin Raines matched his lifetime personal record in the 200m at 21.33 seconds to finish second.
Tarleton turned heads in both the short and long distance hurdles, too.
Sullivan Sanders unquestionably had the race of his life in the finals of the 110m hurdles. The senior earned the silver medal with a lifetime personal record of 14.51. Sanders vaulted himself to sixth in the WAC and 36th in the NCAA South Central Region.
Joey Ortiz-Martinez was just as impressive as Sisneroz in the 400m hurdles. He obtained a personal record of 54.40 to finish third and solidify his spot within the top-10 of the WAC Outdoor Performance List.
Senior and reigning All-WAC second team honoree Dahmir Pearson continued his return to health with a fourth-place effort via a time of 56.87.
For the women, Ashlynn Cash firmly put it all together in the 400m hurdles. She smashed her previous personal record by more than two seconds, claiming the bronze in 1:04.51 and moving to ninth among her conference peers.
Heptathlete Rese Schoonover delivered a monster personal record of 1:06.44 to finish fifth and trim five seconds from her personal record.
It’d be remiss to fail to mention the 800m. All five athletes Tarleton entered secured season and/or lifetime personal records.
Kevin Calvani clocked Tarleton’s fastest men’s outdoor 800m in three years (1:54.91) to place fourth. He was followed by freshman Angel Gomez at eighth place in 1:57.35.
Kailey Sykora secured one of the largest personal records of the afternoon, trimming seven seconds off her collegiate best to finish sixth in 2:20.27. Senior Johnnie Wilkinson continued her triumphant return to the track by shaving 15-seconds from her personal record and placing 10th at 2:25.25. Sage Lancaster rounded out the combined effort with a time of 2:29.94 in her first time racing in the event.
Over in the field, the high jump was highlighted by Gentrye Munden’s official march toward another conference medal. She finished second after clearing 5′ 7″ for the first time in 2022. Munden is firmly among the elite high jumpers locally and nationally. At press time, she occupies the No. 4 spot on the WAC Outdoor Performance List and ranks 19th in the NCAA South Central Region.
Also on the high jump apron, Maxon Newell, one of Tarleton’s most consistent jumpers, was rewarded with a lifetime personal record of 6′ 4.75″ and a second-place finish. Kyler Seymore followed suit by clearing six feet for the second straight week at 6′ 0.75″ to finish fifth.
Jaden Hall and Nakia Dunn were the Texans’ leaders in the sand pits.
Hall finished second in the triple jump at 44′ 2.75″. Dunn leapt 18′ 3″ in the long jump to secure a personal record and followed up the performance with a seventh-place showing in the triple jump at 37′ 2.25″.
Aneudy Pimentel and Ben Presley teamed up to finish fourth and fifth in the men’s javelin behind respective throws of 157′ 3 and 153′ 11″.
Elena Reagan tallied a pair of top-five finishes in the discus and hammer throw to lead the women’s contingent in both events. She heaved the disc 137’6 ” to earn a silver medal and heaved the hammer 144′ 5″ on her way to a fourth-place finish.
In the distance carnival, Kevin Baez secured Tarleton’s fastest 1,500m time this season at 3:54.60. Vianney Sanchez capped the evening with a personal record of 18:49.85 in the 5,000m.