Jefferson, Melgar headline 2019 All-Southland Outdoor Track & Field Teams

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Jefferson claims three Southland gold medals; Melgar recorded 26 points in three Southland events

FRISCO, Texas – Sam Houston State sprinter Chris Jefferson and Abilene Christian thrower Kayla Melgar are the 2019 Southland Conference Outdoor Track & Field Athletes of the Year, the league announced Wednesday along with the complete list of all-conference teams. Southland yearly awards are presented by Ready Nutrition.

Men’s Athlete of the Year & Outstanding Running Events Performer – Chris Jefferson, Sam Houston State

Jefferson registered 23.75 points at the 2019 Southland Outdoor Championships to become the men’s Most Valuable Performer. The senior from Jersey Village, Texas, secured a pair of individual gold medal finishes in the 100-meter (10.20) and 200m dash (20.48) events on the final day of competition. Jefferson also helped his Bearkats squad to a gold medal in the 4x100m relay as the team’s anchor leg.

Men’s Outstanding Field Events Performer – Aaron Akens, Sam Houston State

Akens collected 22 points for the Bearkats at the 2019 Southland Outdoor Championships, helping SHSU to its third consecutive outdoor title. The senior thrower from Mesquite, Texas, bagged a first-place finish in the discus with a mark of 187-04.0 ft and a 196-00.0 ft heave for second place in the hammer throw. Akens also tossed a 55-02.75 ft throw in the shot put for fifth-place honors.

Men’s Freshman of the Year – Jo’vaughn Martin, Sam Houston State

Martin completed his first Southland Outdoor Championships in style notching a trio of podium finishes at the three-day event. The Conroe, Texas, product finished third overall in the 100m dash with a time of 10.40 and second individually in the 200m dash with a 20.92 clip. Martin completed the event as the second leg of the Bearkats’ first-place 4x100m relay team.

Men’s Newcomer of the Year – Josh Smith, Sam Houston State

Smith, a transfer from Spring Arbor University, claimed Newcomer of the Year honors after a pair of second-place finishes in the 110m (14.20) and 400m (52.42) hurdle events for the Bearkats. The Katy, Texas, native’s 16 points pushed the Sam Houston State men’s squad to a team title with 164 points, beating out the second-place team by 73 points.

Men’s Coach of the Year – David Self, Sam Houston State

Self is in his 10th year coaching the Bearkats and has created a wave of success throughout the decade. After leading his men’s squad to its third-straight title at the 2019 outdoor championships, Self has now compiled five men’s team titles since the 2005 season. The Bearkats’ three-peat marks the first time in program history that the feat has been performed. The Sam Houston State sweep of all five men’s individual superlative winners marks the first time in conference history that a team has done so across the five awards.

Women’s Athlete of the Year – Kayla Melgar, Abilene Christian

Melgar sealed her status as the women’s Most Valuable Performer at the 2019 outdoor championships after ringing up 26 points with three podium appearances. The senior from Tempe, Ariz., finished first overall in the shot put with a toss of 52-08.0 ft to go along with a pair of second-place finishes in the discus (168-08.0 ft) and hammer throw (184-00.0 ft) events.

Women’s Outstanding Field Events Performer – Sarea Alexander, Incarnate Word

Alexander locked up her third consecutive conference title in the long jump with a 21-4.25 ft leap on her first attempt of the day for the Cardinals. The San Antonio, Texas, product’s three-straight Southland championships makes her the first woman in UIW program history to accomplish the feat and the second competitor in conference history to win three consecutive long jump gold medals. Alexander’s success was not limited to one event as the senior also claimed gold in the triple jump with a mark of 43-02.5 ft.

Women’s Freshman of the Year & Outstanding Running Events Performer – Gracie Hyde, Central Arkansas

Hyde, a native of Benton, Ark., put together an impressive run at the 2019 championships with a pair of first-place finishes in the 3,000m steeplechase (10:27.55) and the 5,000m run (17:50.89). The freshman’s time in the steeplechase marked a stadium record for Walter P. Ledet Track Complex in Natchitoches, La.

Women’s Newcomer of the Year – Madison Pecot, Stephen F. Austin

The senior transfer from UT-Arlington concluded her appearance at the 2019 championships with a silver medal in the pole vault. Pecot cleared the bar at 13-06.25 ft behind teammate Nastassja Campbell and ahead of Kaylee Bizzell, cementing a Ladyjack sweep of the podium in the pole vault event.

Women’s Coach of the Year – Phil Olson, Stephen F. Austin

Olson nabbed his Coach of the Year honor after leading the Ladyjacks to a dominant first-place team finish at the outdoor championships. The SFA women combined for 195.5 points across 18 of the championship’s 21 events, sealing their ninth outdoor title in program history. Olson has now led the Ladyjacks to a championship in three of the last five outdoor seasons.

Outdoor track & field individual awards are nominated and voted on by the league’s head coaches. Voting for oneself or one’s own athletes is not permitted. The top three finishers from each event’s final at the championship meet are automatically named All-Southland Conference.

2019 Southland Conference Outdoor Track & Field All-Conference Teams

Event First Team Second Team Third Team
Women’s 100m Deja Keys, UIW Aleyah Donald, MCN Ajah Criner, UCA
Men’s 100m Chris Jefferson, SHSU Tyler Smith, MCN Jo’vaughn Martin, SHSU
Women’s 200m Natashia Jackson, NSU Deja Keys, UIW Ajah Criner, UCA
Men’s 200m Chris Jefferson, SHSU Jo’vaughn Martin, SHSU Tyler Smith, MCN
Women’s 400m Natashia Jackson, NSU Cayla Burch, SFA Imani Nave, SFA
Men’s 400m Jared Williams, ACU Donovan Storr, SLU Webster Slaughter, LU
Women’s 800m Dominique Allen, UIW LaSean Davis, SFA Jamie Eckford, SHSU
Men’s 800m Drake Murphy, SFA Deion Hardy, UIW Jorge Quintero, UIW
Women’s 1,500m Kelsey Ramirez, SFA Itzel Alcantar, UIW Alia Henderson, UIW
Men’s 1,500m Garett Cortez, UIW Deion Hardy, UIW Ryan Cleary, ACU
Women’s 5,000m Gracie Hyde, UCA Brittany Innis, SFA Taryn Surratt, SFA
Men’s 5,000m Jamie Crowe, LU Jordan Rowe, LU Matthew Arnold, LU
Women’s 10,000m Valentina Campos, AMCC Gladys Jerotich, MCN Taryn Surratt, SFA
Men’s 10,000m Markus Schweikert, UCA Jamie Crowe, LU Aaron Albert, UNO
Women’s 100m hurdles Jerica Love, UIW Jillian Turner, SFA Irene Akwitti, ACU
Men’s 110m hurdles Tremayne Flagler, NSU Joshua Smith, SHSU Ketavion Humber, AMCC
Women’s 400m hurdles Dominique Jackson, SFA Daijia Carr, SFA Kendall Rodriguez, AMCC
Men’s 400m hurdles Garrett Gibson, HBU Joshua Smith, SHSU Ketavion Humber, AMCC
Women’s 3,000m steeplechase Gracie Hyde, UCA Brittany Innis, SFA Taryn Surratt, SFA
Men’s 3,000m steeplechase Ryan Cleary, ACU Matthew Arnold, LU Jaron Hamilton, UCA
Women’s 4x100m relay D. Jackson, C. Burch, I. Nave, A. Teel – SFA D. Moore, K. Evans, O. Giles, N. Jackson – NSU J. Love, T. Mays, B. Ransom, D. Keys – UIW
Men’s 4x100m relay F. McCall, J. Martin, B. Henderson, C. Jefferson – SHSU E. Clarke, M. Larkins, J. Arrington, T. Carr – NSU W. Williams, T. Smith, G. Brown, T. Syrie – MCN
Women’s 4x400m I. Nave, A. Teel, D. Jackson, C. Burch – SFA D. Granados, N. Jackson, K. Evans, C. Willis – NSU E. Sebastion, D. Allen, D. Keys, T. Mays – UIW
Men’s 4x400m J. Williams, B. Brownlow, R. Linton, A. Williams – ACU A. Ruiz, A. Bennett, D. Murphy, I. Pittman – SFA T. Jones, G. Coleman, J. Benson, D. Storr – SLU
Women’s High Jump Sashane Hanson, AMCC Jasmyn Steels, NSU Kadejah Wilson, SFA
Men’s High Jump Tyler Adams, SHSU Iyanu Adeyeye, HBU Noah Berney, SFA
Women’s Pole Vault Nastassja Campbell, SFA Madison Pecot, SFA Kaylee Bizzell, SFA
Men’s Pole Vault Branson Ellis, SFA Clayton Fritsch, SHSU Carter Scott, SFA
Women’s Long Jump Sarea Alexander, UIW Jasmyn Steels, NSU Chelsea Harrington, NICH
Men’s Long Jump Jacorious Jeter, NSU Markeit Steverson, NSU Isaiah Pittman, SFA
Women’s Triple Jump Sarea Alexander, UIW Natayla Nance, HBU Jasmyn Steels, NSU
Men’s Triple Jump Chris Welch, HBU Quindarrius Thompson, NSU Javon McCray, LU
Women’s Shot Put Kayla Melgar, ACU Ashley Davis, SLU Annina Brandenburg, ACU
Men’s Shot Put Kai Schmidt, ACU Michael Nichols, SHSU Morgan Knight, ACU
Women’s Discus Annina Brandenburg, ACU Kayla Melgar, ACU Lauryn Caldwell, SHSU
Men’s Discus Aaron Akens, SHSU Morgan Knight, ACU Ryan Simmons, ACU
Women’s Hammer Throw Lonnie Smith, ACU Kayla Melgar, ACU Lauryn Caldwell, SHSU
Men’s Hammer Throw Joshua Hernandez, SHSU Aaron Akens, SHSU Vojislav Gvero, UNO
Women’s Javelin Throw Kelsey Frank, NSU Annina Brandenburg, ACU Amber Bruce, NSU
Men’s Javelin Throw Cord Neal, SFA Logan Robinson, AMCC Ryan Simmons, ACU
Women’s Heptathlon Migle Muraskaite, LU Sashane Hanson, AMCC Jillian Turner, SFA
Men’s Decathlon Rodney Littlejohn, UIW Scott Boon, HBU Bjoern Adden, AMCC
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