Published 12:53 am Thursday, February 23, 2017

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Lamar women, led by sophomore Thai Williams, highlighted the track and field program’s opening day at the 2017 Southland Conference Indoor Championships at the CrossPlex Arena.

The women’s team — which has the team lead after the first day on 36 points — had several Cardinals claim accolades, including three medals that closed out the day with 28 points.  Williams — who has the top qualifying seed in the women’s 60-meter dash heading into Thursday – won the women’s long jump and shattered her personal best with a 19-foot, 8¾-inch leap. Her 10 points were followed by Deja Phillips’ silver medal finish and eight points on her personal record of 19 feet, 6¾ inches.

Just before they won their events, the women’s distance medley relay team — made of Alexandra Sokolova, Meagan Menifee, Georgia Tuckfield and Evelyn Chavez — was crowned as the conference’s best. Sokolova had the 1,200-meter leg, and handed off the baton to Menifee with the Cardinals in first. By the time Menifee handed to Tuckfield and then on to Chavez, the pack worked back and held LU in second place. Chavez sat back during her 1,600 meters until the bell lap and she turned it on and burned the field by five seconds. Their total time was 12:02.17.

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Jannika John started the day for the Cardinals in a big way. She scored eight points for the women’s team in the day’s first race, the 5,000 meters. She was able to grab a second place finish with a 16:59.94 mark.

On the men’s side, Brian O’Bonna led the way with a silver medal in the men’s long jump on a lifetime best of 24 feet, 1 1/2 inches. He scored his eight points on the final jump.