Houston’s men finished second, women third on final day of American Indoor Championships
The Houston track and field team concluded its indoor season on Saturday at the American Athletic Conference Indoor Championships with six individual titles and a relay title on the final day of the competition. Thrower Nu’uausala Tuilefano broke the school record and conference meet record in the shot put.
Junior hurdler De’Vion Wilson never saw a faster time in the conference all season, leading from the first meet to the last meet, on his way to the 60-meter hurdles crown. Wison’s 7.74 second winning time wasn’t a season-best but was plenty fast to cruise to his second straight title in the event. Wilson was busy over the weekend, running a personal best in the 200-meter dash in prelims and running a leg of the silver medalist 1,600-meter relay at the end of the meet.
Junior Shaun Maswanganyi then did Shaun Maswanganyi things winning the 60-meter dash and 200 “double”. The South African set a personal-best in the indoor-200, going under 21 seconds at 20.79 and won the 60 in 6.67. Maswanganyi’s 6.58 time from prelims ranks 12th nationally and tied his career best. By winning the 60 and 200 races, and finishing third in the long jump on Friday, Maswanganyi won his fifth Most Valuable Performance award of his career (indoor and outdoor combined).
After breaking the school record in the 800-meter run in three-straight meets, Kelly-Ann Beckford cruised to her first American title in the event. Winning by nearly three seconds on her way to setting the meet record in 2:05.44.
The Houston men went one-three-five-eight in the 800 final with senior Devin Vallejo-Bannister winning in 1:51.48 thanks to a brilliant kick around the final 75 meters of the race. Junior Lloyd Frilot finished third in a lean-off at the finish in 1:51.65 with sophomore Adam Mason finishing fifth in 1:53.00 and Jeremiah Wilson scoring a point with a 1:55.33 finish.
Tuilefano then busted out a school record and meet record as she blew the competition away for her second consecutive shot put title. Tuilefano won the event by over a meter and a half (over five feet). The senior shattered the meet record by 0.90 meters.
In the final event of the day, the 1,600 relay, Houston’s women came out on top, led by Iman Babineaux, Beckford, Linesha Thompson and anchored by Sydni Townsend, the Cougars ran 3:37.90 to win the title. The men’s relay finished second overall.
Senior Cecilia Tamayo-Garza finished second overall in the 200, running 23.40. Destiny Lawrence and Alexis Tilford-Rutherford finished third-fourth in the triple jump with Tamayo-Garza and Lawrence earning All-Conference honors by placing in the top three.
Freshman Aaron Bell finished third overall in the 60-meter dash and Quinton Stringfellow finished third in the triple jump, earning All-Conference honors along with Frilot in the 800. The athletes in the men’s 1,600 relay and distance medley relay also earned All-Conference honors.
Once all the events had been scored, Cincinnati’s men’s team and UCF’s women’s teams were crowned champions. Houston finished second on the men’s side and the women finished third.
Houston will wait to see how many student-athletes qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships held March 10-11 in Albuquerque, N.M. The top 16 athletes in each event qualify based on the descending order list on TFRRS.org.