Rodriguez, Smith earn All-WAC credentials on Day One of WAC Championships

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SEATTLE – A slippery, sodden surface at Husky Track on the first of three days of competition at the 2022 Western Athletic Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships did not slow Tarleton down in the slightest. 

Especially in the infield, where juniors Oscar Rodriguez and Elise Smith lived up to their billings as two of the best throwers the conference boasts. They became the first pair of athletes to garner postseason All-WAC credentials for Tarleton. Both Rodriguez and Smith received All-WAC second team accolades in their respective event 

Rodriguez finished fifth in the hammer throw at 179′ 1″, breaking his school record for the second time in as many meets in 2022. The sling from the thrower’s circle in Seattle firmly cements the Del Rio, Texas native’s legacy as one of the undeniable best to ever throw for Purple and White. Rodriguez is now a two-time recipient of All-WAC second team credentials in the hammer throw. He’ll now defend his 2021 WAC title in the discus on Saturday. Should Rodriguez win or place in the top-eight, he’ll become the first athlete in Tarleton outdoor track and field history to claim All-WAC recognition on four occasions. 

Smith, a junior transfer from Napoleonville, Louisiana, accomplished everything she set out to achieve in 2022. The two-sport star – Smith is also a member of Tarleton Volleyball – claimed fourth place after slinging the spear 143′ 0″. Smith, who arrived in the Cowboy Capital by way of Sam Houston State, is now a two-time all-conference honoree in the javelin She caps her first season in Stephenville ranked second in school history in the event. 

The performances by Tarleton’s pair of throwers highlighted an encouraging showing on day one of the team’s stay in the Emerald City. In addition to the pair of All-WAC accolades, the Texans sent a combined five athletes to the finals of the 200m and 400m hurdles.  

On the men’s side, reigning WAC Indoor Freshman of the Year Justin Raines placed eighth in the 200m prelims at 21.94 to move on to Saturday’s finale. 

The Texan women were even more impressive, as Nyla Barlow and Breonna Campbell finished seventh and eighth, respectively, with wind-altered times of 25.29 and 25.03. 

Joey Ortiz-Martinez and Brady Sisneroz then ensured Tarleton lived up to its billing as to boasting the No. 31 ranked 400m hurdles squad among all D1 programs in the USTFCCCA Event Squad Rankings. 

Ortiz-Martinez crossed the finish line fifth in the prelims in 54.68 to advance to the finals for the second time in as many years. Sisneroz (54.07), who entered the meet seeded sixth in the event, adopted the “survive and advance” moniker, as he placed eighth in 55.79. 

Tarleton had nine other athletes in action on Thursday. 

Elena Reagan commenced the final meet of her collegiate career by placing 11th in the hammer throw with a toss of 144′ 7″. Reagan, a fifth-year senior, departs Tarleton ranked second on the program’s all-time outdoor top-10 list behind a personal record of 158′ 3″. She will close out her collegiate career on Saturday in the discus.  

Graduate student Mikel Stone finished 18th in the 200m at 22.51. He is penciled in to conclude his Texan career as a member of Tarleton 4x100m relay team. 

Tarleton was also represented in the women’s 400m hurdles by four athletes. Freshman Rese Schoonover led the way, as she placed 15th in 1:07.35. Fellow heptathlete Kyndal Gladson finished one spot back at 1:07.81. Ashlynn Cash (1:08.95) and Karleigh Hill (1:10.10) capped the Texans’ showing in the event by placing 18th and 19th. 

Summer Croxton finished 14th in the 200m prelims in 25.42. Fellow sophomores Hanna Dudley (26.17) and Danielle Thomas (26.82) followed in 28th and 32nd place.

Day two commences on Friday in the field at 2 p.m. CT with finals for the men’s and women’s long jump. Friday’s field slate also includes finals for the men’s and women’s shot put and women’s pole vault. The meet then transitions to the track at 6:30 p.m. for prelims in the short hurdles, 800m, 400m and 100m. 

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