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Trojans have record breaking performances at Sun Belt Championships

Submitted by Adrian Miller on February 22, 2017 – 9:18 amNo Comment

By: Adrian Miller
On Feb. 20-21, the Trojan men and women track and field teams competed in the Sun Belt Indoor Championship in Birmingham, AL. Senior sprinter Anika Charles was the standout performer for UA Little Rock’s (LR) women’s team. Junior distance runner Imad Amenzou highlighted the men’s team performances.
On the second day of the meet, Charles made history by breaking a 21-year old school record that was previously held by LR Hall of Famer and Olympic sprinter Dawn Williams. Charles ran a 53.92 in the 400-meter dash, breaking the record held by Williams by four-tenths of a second (54.32) and scoring 8 points for the Lady Trojans. The previous closest time was 56.09. Tramesha Hardy of Texas State won the event with a time of 53.84, beating Charles by an eyelash.
Charles’ historic day continued in the 200-meter dash. Her time of 23.97 broke her own school record (24.26) and made her the first Trojan to ever place with a time under 24 seconds in LR history. She picked up another 8 points for the Lady Trojans, being edged out of first place again by Hardy of Texas State, but only by less than three-tenths of a second (23.69). Charles then ran the anchor leg of the 4×400 relay and posted the fastest time of the four splits (55.93). In addition to Charles, seniors Bless Dupeh, Tyler Kelly, and sophomore Akeia Joyner placed 5th in the event and scored an additional four points. The relay time of 3:49:55 was the fourth fastest in LR history and Anika Charles played a part in all 20 points of the meet for the Lady Trojans.
Amenzou ran a 1:53.78 in the 800 and scored 5 points for the Trojans. His 4th place finish was the highest placing for the Trojan men during the meet and his time in the event is 5th all-time in program history. He also ran the mile where he placed 24th with a time of 5:06.03.
The men’s 4×400 relay team of seniors Dez Mapps, Zodani Francois, Michael McGruder and Travion Clark scored 5 points with a 4th place finish and a time of 3:16.87. The time is the fourth fastest in program history.
Other notable finishes for the Trojans include senior Adela Hernandez with a time of 18:15.14 in the 5K. The time was a personal best for Hernandez and almost placed her in the top 10 in program history. Senior Kennedy Chumba ran the sixth best time in LR history in the mile with a time of 4:16.18. His eighth place finish scored a point for the Trojans. Chumba was asked how he felt about his chances and the team as a whole going into the meet. He replied, “Personally any finish in the top 10 is good. I feel the team has a lot of solid individual runners and other teams’ better watch out for us.”
Texas-Arlington won the Championships on the men’s side with 133.50 while Texas State placed second with 119 points. The two teams went vice-versa on the women’s side with Texas State edging out Texas-Arlington 166 to 99, respectively. The Trojan men placed 8th at the SBC totaling 25 points, while the Lady Trojans finished 10th with 20 points. The Trojans will now begin their outdoor season with meets yet to be announced.

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