Texas State women’s track and field team pulled off a three-peat conference win at the Sun Belt Indoor Championships Feb. 18 and 19 at the Southern Alabama track. The men’s team racked up 119 total points for a third place finish overall.
The two-day meet was kicked off by junior transfer Leslie Romero, who claimed multiple school records over the course of the competition. The versatile distance runner brought in the first gold for the Bobcats by smashing her own previous time in the 3000-meter run with a time of 9:40.57. Romero bounced back on the second day for another gold and another record time in the 5000-meter run, stopping the clock at 17:06.00.
Head coach Jody Stewart said Romero has exceeded all expectations and will only get better as the season switches to outdoor.
”This is really just the cusp for (Romero) as she gains more mileage throughout the season,” Stewart said. “She’s a true competitor across the board, so as far as her range and endurance goes she’s just going to get better.”
Senior Tramesha Hardy claimed two three-peats of her own after being crowned the top scoring performer of the meet with 30 total points. The sprinter also took the 400-meter title for the third consecutive year with a time of 55.14 and grabbed another gold in the 200-meter run with a record-breaking time of 23.51. Hardy finished the meet with a silver medal in the 60-meter dash, crossing the finish at 7.46.
But the women’s team didn’t stop there, as the team broke yet another school record in the distance medley relay competition.
Newcomers Romero and freshman Sydney Cole as well as sophomores Tina Sierra and Javlyn Cameron joined forces to bring home the second place title in the championship meet with a time of 11:49.95.
Thrower T’Mond Johnson set off the men’s team with its sole field title, taking the gold with a throw of 19.01 meters. The veteran shot putter has claimed first place for three consecutive years and currently holds the second farthest launch in school history.
Stewart said Johnson is successful because of his track athlete mentality, a state of mind which stays long after he leaves the track.
“It’s not just about showing up to practice,” Stewart said. “From the minute he wakes up, he’s planning ahead for every meal and he’s making track and field a lifestyle instead of something he does, even off the track.”
Junior Ben Collerton broke both the school and conference records for the gold medal in the heptathlon, outpacing the competition with a score of 5,379 overall. The athlete far outpaced his own previous school record of 5,115 points from the previous year.
Alongside the five school records and medals, the teams combined to bring home 21 all-conference selections.
Although track and field is based on individual competition, Stewart believes teamwork and collaboration ultimately brought home the win. The Bobcats hold a leadership counsel with representatives from each class and strive to bring everyone together regularly to promote team bonding.
“Winning a championship takes everybody,” Stewart said. “You might have somebody who scored 30 points, but the athlete who scored two points. You have to recognize how hard she had to work for those two points. Everyone has to compete for each other.”
Despite high marks, the team recognizes there is always room for improvement. Stewart said training will focus on strengthening their weak points, prioritizing field events, and working towards improvements across the board.
“Yes we won, yes we did well, but the fact is we left a lot of points out there,” Stewart said. “For us, we’re going to assess where we fell short, bring some points up for our field events, and always look for improvement as we move on to the spring.”
The Bobcats will take a much-needed break before gearing up for the outdoor season’s opening meet March 22 at UTSA’s Roadrunner Invitational.