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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (2/24/14) – Arkansas State University’s Roelf Pienaar and Sharika Nelvis were crowned individual long jump champions to highlight the Red Wolves’ day one performances this Monday (Feb. 24) at the 2014 Sun Belt Conference (SBC) Indoor Track and Field Championships in Birmingham, Ala.

The A-State men’s team is presently in second place among the seven teams with a 30.33 points total and trails UT Arlington, which posted 40 points.  On the women’s side, the Red Wolves currently occupy fifth place in the nine-team field with 21 points and are one point in back of fourth-place South Alabama (22 pts.).  WKU holds down the top position to date by accumulating 55 points.

A freshman, Roelf Pienaar won the men’s long jump by leaping a 25-03.93/7.72 distance inside the Birmingham CrossPlex facility.  His first-place performance, which resulted in 10 points for A-State, was just one centimeter shy of tying the conference meet mark of 7.73 meters set by Middle Tennessee's Stanley Gbagbeke in 2010.   

Sharika Nelvis, a senior and a two-time second-team All-America indoor performer, repeated as the conference indoor meet champion with a jump of 19-05.46/5.93m to register 10 points for the A-State women’s team.  She also would generate a school-record 8.03 time in the 60-meter hurdle preliminaries to qualify for the finals and also advanced to the in both the 60-meter and 200-meter dashes.       

“We had some positive things happen today but we also made a few mistakes,” said A-State head coach Jim Patchell.  “We are still in a good position to do well in the finals tomorrow. Both our teams are competitors, we just need to come out tomorrow and have a great day.” 

The Red Wolves turned in a pair of top-five place efforts in the men’s pole vault to pick up 10.3 points.  Senior Ethan Sandusky cleared the bar at 16-06.42/5.04m to place in a three-way tie for second.  Another senior, Shane Heathcock would take fifth place as a result of posting a 16-06.42/5.04m mark. 

In the men’s weight throw, A-State earned 10 points as senior Chris Nicasio recorded a third-place 65-00.31/19.82m performance for six points while fellow senior Richard Chavez’s 61-06.18/18.75m toss was good for fifth place and four points.  Both Nicasio and Chavez registered personal season bests in this year’s league championship event.  A-State’s other point scored occurred in the men’s distance medley relay as freshman Kyle Somerville, junior Devin Noel, freshman Denton Postlewait, and sophomore Jesse Duvall clocked a 10:37.85 time to end up in eighth place.

The A-State women’s squad, which claimed the 2012 conference indoor meet crown, received a third-place showing from redshirt junior Kristina Aubert in the 3,000-meter run.  Aubert crossed the finish line in a third-place time of 9:43.44 to narrowly miss breaking her own school record, but did provide the Red Wolves with six points in finals of the event.

Arkansas State tallied five more points in women’s competition with four coming in the distance medley and one in the weight throw event.  Junior Rexi Parcells, sophomore Shakeria Marshall, junior Heather Newberry, and sophomore Abbey Dixon represented A-State in the distance medley where the four compiled a fifth-place time of 12:12.46.  A personal best of 52-03.95/15.95m by freshman Kiarra Simpson in the weight throw proved worthy of eighth-place honors.  

The second and final day of the SBC Indoor Track and Field Championships is this Tuesday (Feb. 25) at 9 a.m. (CT), beginning with the women's pentathlon.  The conference meet continues through to the 4x400-meter relays, which are scheduled for 5 p.m. and 5:15 p.m. (CT) start times.  Fans can visit for up-to-date information and results on the 2014 conference championship event.

Men's Team Scores

1. UT Arlington - 48 pts

2. Arkansas State - 31.33 pts

3. South Alabama - 30.66 pts

4. Texas State - 29 pts

5. UL Lafayette - 21 pts

6. WKU - 20 pts

7. ULM - 12 pts

8. UALR - 3 pts

Women's Team Scores

1. WKU - 55 pts

2. Texas State - 31 pts

3. UL Lafayette - 29 pts

4. South Alabama - 22 pts

5. Arkansas State - 21 pts

6. UT Arlington - 18 pts

7. UALR - 9 pts

7. Georgia State - 9 pts

9. Troy - 1 pts