Posted: Feb 25, 2013 9:34 AM
FAYETTEVILLE, AR -- In a weekend full of exciting performances and season highlights, there is one that stands above the rest: freshman Markesh Woodson's first place finish in the 60m dash to make him the first SEC Champion in Tiger history. Woodson's All-SEC finish was one of ten top eight performances by the Tigers during the final day of SEC competition, including an eighth-place finish from the men's DMR.
Woodson came out of Saturday's prelims ranked second in the competition after tying his 6.63 school record, made on the same track two weeks ago during the Tyson Invitational. A good start out of the blocks quickly put him in front, a position he maintained through the line to finish in a new school record of 6.60, 0.03 seconds separating him from the rest of the pack. This is the fourth-time so far this season that Markesh has lowered the men's 60m dash school record, and puts him in third currently in the national rankings.
Senior Laura Roxberg is also bringing home some hardware in the women's mile, placing second overall in 4:36.02, just two seconds shy of her school record performance two weeks ago. Roxberg came out of Saturday's prelims ranked fifth in the event, finishing second in her prelim heat. She took control of the race from the gun, leading the pack of three who quickly separated themselves from the rest of the field. She lost the lead with about 400m to go, but responded and held on strong for the remainder of the race.
Sophomore Kearsten Peoples also earned a top three finish, taking third in the weight throw to start the day for the Tigers. She threw down a PR mark of 19.81m (65-00) on her first attempt, besting her previous top mark of 19.57m (64-2.5) by 9.5". Seeded in fifth coming into the competition, this mark was enough to push her up two spots in the conference.
Junior Bethany Pfeiffer also scored in the women's weight throw, marking in a PR of 19.16m (62-10.5) to improve on her ninth seeding and land in sixth overall. Her previous best of 18.43m (60-5.75) was first eclipsed on her second throw, hitting a mark of 18.71m (61-4.75). She surpassed that mark again on her final throw, letting loose her 62-10.5 to secure her sixth place finish and three more points for the Tigers' tally.
Next up for the Tigers' scorers was freshman Jonathan Ilori in the triple jump. Marking in a best mark of 15.37m (50-5.25) in the prelims, Ilori went on to tie that mark in his final jump of the finals. These top marks were enough for eighth in the competition, and a point for the Tigers' total. Finishing out the Tigers' scorers in the field events was senior Brooks Mosier, who entered a stiff shot put competition ranked seventh and came out a place better, claiming sixth. He threw a top mark of 17.73m (58-2) on his second attempt to move up into sixth, and maintained the position through the finals.
On the track, Roxberg wasn't the only mid-distance and distance runner to emerge with some points for the Tigers. Sophomore Merid Seleshi, the final competitor to make it into the final heat during Saturday's prelims, raced to a PR of 4:07.20 to place eighth in the final competition.
Senior Max Storms, who earned a Second Team All-SEC honor in cross country, came back to continue his strong conference performances with a PR of 14:14.2 in the men's 5k. He took off with the first of two sections in the competition, keeping pace with the lead group for the first part of the race before drifting back as the pack began to thin. He finished third in his section and waited through the second section to discover where he fell in the mix overall. He was able to hold on to his top eight place, as the PR performance was good for sixth overall and three points toward the Tigers' total.
The DMR squads finished out the Championship weekend for the Tigers, with the women just missing out on scoring with a ninth place finish, and the men cruising into eighth. Freshman Sam Dickerson popped off for the Tigers with the 1200m leg, followed by sophomore Drake Stuedemann in the 400m, an event which he PR'd in yesterday, then freshman Will Crocker in the 800m, and Seleshi as anchor in the mile, back on the track after his eighth place finish in the same event earlier in the day.
Junior Kyle Wessel vaulted to a new personal best in the pole vault, marking at 5.07m (16-7.50) to finish ninth overall, just missing out on scoring for the Tigers. Both teams leave the weekend with top ten finishes in the nation's most competitive conference. The women tallied up a total of 28 points for ninth place, and the men brought in 32 points for eighth. They look forward now to the NCAA National Championships in a couple weeks, where a few Tigers will represent the black and gold in the final stage of the indoor season, and then the outdoor season set to begin next month.