McNeese’s Jasmine Webb stole the show in individual events at the Southland Conference meet, winning three events and setting the bar with the meet’s highest individual points total. (Kirk Meche / American Press)
Last Modified: Monday, May 13, 2013 10:02 AM
Stephen F. Austin continued its tradition of dominance in track and field at this weekend’s Southland Conference meet, while McNeese sprinter Jasmine Webb started one of her own.
SFA won both the men’s and women’s titles — the fifth straight for the Ladyjacks and second in three years for the Lumberjacks — but Webb stole the show for the hosts, winning three events to earn the meet’s high-point award.
“I kind of just envisioned it. I knew I wanted to be first,” Webb said. “It was wonderful. I couldn’t let anybody else come onto our home track and beat us. I just couldn’t see it. I practice here every day.”
Webb’s performance helped the Cowgirls to second place overall, their highest finish at the conference meet since 1999. The Cowgirls finished with 134 points, wedged well between first-place SFA (171) and third-place Sam Houston State (100).
The Cowboys also had their best showing since that decade, with a third-place finish that is the program’s best since 1991. McNeese had 122 points, behind SFA’s 162 and Sam Houston’s 137.5.
“It was just a great performance,” said McNeese coach Brendon Gilroy. “Going up against programs like that, they’ve got more history than McNeese does in track. To get everybody together for a performance like this on both sides wasn’t too bad. And on the women’s side, just unbelievable.”
A junior transfer from Texas-Pan American, Webb ran the anchor for the 4x100 relay team before winning the 100- and 200-meter dashes.
Webb didn’t have to work too hard in the 4x100 as the previous work of teammates Paige Lynch, Ashleigh Wells and Simone Johnson put the Cowgirls well ahead by the time Webb got the baton.
The quartet’s time of 44.94 seconds is a McNeese Cameron Communications Complex record and an NCAA regional qualifier.
“They put me in great position. I didn’t feel like I had to do anything,” Webb said. “I just got the stick and just maintained and got to the finish line. They did the work and I just wandered across the finish line.”
Webb also set the complex record with a 11.36 in the 100. She finished the 200 in 23.35.
Distance stalwart David Rooney was the other McNeese athlete to reach the top of the podium, repeating his title in the 5,000 meters by breaking a 34-year old track record with a time of 14:22.17 in his final home race.
Rooney, who sat out most of the season with an Achilles injury, also won the 10,000 on Friday and is waiting to see if his time will qualify for NCAA regionals.
“Unfortunately I’ve been injured most of the season,” said Rooney, a cross country all-American. “It’s good to go out on a positive if this is my last race for McNeese.”
The Cowboys also took third on the podium in the 5,000 as Alex Bruce-Littlewood overtook Lamar’s Sam Stabler in the final 5 meters.
The most thrilling finish was the race for second in the men’s 100-meter dash.
Cowboy football standout Diontae Spencer took the silver by less than the blink of an eye, crossing the line at 10.442 seconds to top the 10.444 of Northwestern State’s Hanoj Carter.
“I (was) just tunneled in trying to get to the finish line. I dipped my head because I knew it was going to be close,” said Spencer, who sensed Carter but didn’t see him. “We had some fast guys.”
Demons sprinter Justin Walker won the race at 10.25 seconds. All top three finishers posted better times than last year’s winner.
Pole vaulter Nicole Casper was McNeese’s other silver medalist, clearing 12 feet, 4.75 inches.
Two Cowgirls finished third in their events: Desarae Couthren in the 400 hurdles (1:01.11) and Maya Tunwar in the high jump (5-5.75).
Thrower Thomas Canchola added to his bronze medals in the hammer throw and shot put by finishing third in the discus with a mark of 157-06.
One conference record was set on Sunday when Oral Roberts pole vaulter Jack Whitt cleared the 18-2.5 mark.
SFA thrower Jon Arthur was the high-point scorer in the men’s competition.