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Trojans take off on right track with new season

Submitted by Antonio Gayden on September 19, 2013 – 1:55 pmNo Comment

Senior sprinter Ashley Boykin (photo by Antonio Gayden)

Run Trojan run. Track season is here. The track teams began their seasons on Sept. 14 at the UT Arlington Gerald Richey Invite in Arlington, Texas, where the men’s team finished in first place and the women’s team fourth. This season the team’s have extra motivation. Head coach Milton Williams was inducted into the 2013 Track and Field Hall of Fame over the summer.

The Trojan men’s cross country team was voted by Sun Belt conference coaches to finish second in the conference. The team fell only four votes behind UT-Arlington, who is new to the league this year and is predicted to finish first. The Trojans men’s team won the Sun Belt championship in 2012. The woman’s team is predicted to finish in sixth place and received 48 points in the preseason poll.

The track and cross country team added a total of 15 new players to the 19 returnees.

Returning for the men’s cross country from its 2012 championship team is senior Markus Pearson, senior Felix Maritim, senior Shaun Koehn and sophomore John Vodacek. All four made their way to the top seven at the conference championship race in 2012, with Pearson coming in seventh overall and Maritim finishing eighth. Both were named to the All-Sun Belt Second Team. Koehn took 13th at that race and earned a spot on the Sun Belt Third Team.

The track team is coming off 10th (men) and 11th (women) place finishes to end the season at the Sun Belt outdoor championships last May in Miami.

Every team has the ultimate goal of a championship. To reach that goal will take the whole team coming together collectively. One person who has this instilled in her is Ashtin Boykin a senior sprinter from Little Rock who plans to major in Early Education.

“I want us to work together,” Boykin said. “Realizing there’s one goal and representing UALR in a positive way.”

Prior to UALR, Boykin attended Coffeyville Community College where she was named to the 2012 NJCAA All-Academic Team. At the Sun Belt Conference Outdoor Championships (May 10) she ran the second-fastest 400m Hurdles in school history to finish ninth with a time of 1:03.03. Her personal goal for the upcoming season is to break that record and see her hard work place her at the number one spot.

To keep her on track, Boykin looks to one of her favorite quotes from Steve Prefontaine who said, ‘To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the give.’

In addition to the the Hall of Fame honor for coach Williams, both the men’s and women’s teams were also recognized as All-Academic Track and Field Teams by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross-Country Association.

The team’s next meet will be the Chile Pepper Festival on Oct. 5 at Fayetteville, Ark.

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