SMU Wins The Inaugural American Athletic Conference Outdoor Championship
May 4, 2014
TAMPA, Fla. (SMU) – The SMU outdoor track & field team won the inaugural American Athletic Conference Outdoor Championship as the Mustangs totaled 153.2 points over the three-day meet. With this championship, SMU completed the Triple Crown as the Mustangs won the 2013 Cross Country title last fall and the 2014 AAC Indoor Championship just a couple months ago. Sophomore Lucija Cvitanovic was named as the 2014 Most Outstanding Field Athlete for her two individual titles in the javelin and the heptathlon, while Director of Track & Field Dave Wollman and his staff were selected as the Women’s Coaching Staff of the Year. The title was the first women’s outdoor crown in program history. The meet was held in Tampa, Fla. and hosted by USF.
The Mustangs had six student-athletes claim seven individual titles throughout the meet. Juniors Rayann Chin (discus, 51.84 meters) and Stephanie Kalu (100-meter dash, 11.53 seconds) claimed the final two crowns for SMU today, the final day of the meet. SMU defeated second place UCF by 14.6 points.
“Hannah (Moss) was and has been in a genuine thought of ours since her tragic passing just a few weeks ago,” Wollman said. “We are dedicating this season to her and we all knew that Hannah was present and with us today.”
Overall, in addition to the seven individual titles from six student-athletes, the Mustangs had nine individuals earn all-conference honors across 13 events.
“Our coaching staff sat down before the meet and projected that our best score possible would be 148 points,” Wollman continued. “Instead of that finishing at that number or lower, we scored 153.2 team points which surprised us all. We hit perfect in every event and our common goal of competing for Hannah brought the best out of each of our student-athletes.”
In addition to the two champs on day three, SMU had two top-3 finishers in the 1,500-meter run as freshman Agnes Sjöström and sophomore Holly Archer placed second and third in the race with times of 4:28.36 and 4:28.93, respectively. Sjöström and Archer garnered all-conference honors for their efforts in the race.
In addition to the 100-meter dash, Kalu placed fourth in the 200-meter dash with a time of 23.91 seconds. Freshman Tochi Nlemchi earned her second top-6 finish of the weekend as she placed fifth in the discus with a personal-best mark of 48.20 meters.
“Lucija earning the Most Outstanding Field Athlete award is a great achievement,” Wollman said. “Mentally, she and Lisa (Egarter) put it all out there and did a great job all weekend.”
SMU captured the first of the three titles at the 2013 AAC Cross Country Championships last fall. SMU won the meet with five top-10 finishes and six individuals overall earning All-American Athletic Conference honors. Head Coach Cathy Casey was named the AAC’s Coach of the Year and freshman Tova Magnusson paced the Mustangs with a runner-up finish with a time of 20:23.16 in the 6K race.
SMU won its second championship at the inaugural American Athletic Conference Indoor Championships on March 1 as the Mustangs totaled 118.5 points over the two-day meet. Three student-athletes claimed individual titles for SMU as Kalu (60-meter dash, 7.31 seconds), Chin (shot put, 15.99 meters) and Cvitanovic (pentathlon, 3,854 points) led the way for the Mustangs. Chin was named as the 2014 Most Outstanding Field Athlete while Coach Wollman and his staff were selected as the AAC’s women's Coaching Staff of the Year. The title was the first women's indoor crown in program history.
The Mustangs set out with a goal before this school year began; to win the first title of the American Athletic Conference at all three meets, and the team did just that.
“Entering a new conference, we knew it was going to be a tough year as we were unfamiliar with most of the teams in The American,” Wollman said. “Major credit goes to Coach Casey as she developed a great training program and rest/recovery cycles for all of our distance runners. With those individuals making up 40 percent of our roster, we needed them to be healthy and competing at a high level all season, and they certainly did.”
Qualifying Mustangs will be back in action at the NCAA Preliminary Rounds on May 23-24 in Fayetteville, Ark.
“Our team learned how to win during the indoor season, and now everyone knows how to win and that mentality was very evident this weekend,” Wollman said in closing. “I am excited for our upperclassmen and younger student-athletes to compete at the NCAA Prelims in a few weeks.”
SMU Individual Champions