Grambling pulls away for SWAC men’s track crown

NEW ORLEANS — Southern’s track resurgence will have to wait until next season.

Behind its strength — field events — the men’s team entered the final day of the Southwestern Athletic Conference track and field championships in second place but exited Tad Gormley Stadium on Sunday afternoon out of reach of Grambling, which earned its fifth consecutive title.

In three days, the Tigers scored 146 points, led by four individual winners. Keenun Guillory won the 110-meter hurdles (14.52), Akeem Williams took the 400 meters (46.19), Shawn Jackson claimed the 400-meter hurdles (52.87) and Grambling won the 400-meter relay (40:65) — a race the Jaguars were in contention for until faulty handoffs dropped them to third (40:84).

“We were determined to win this championship,” said Grambling coach Bertram Lovell, whose indoor team finished second to Prairie View A&M in Funerary. “I’ve got a thing I say: I’m not going to let anybody beat me twice. And I tried to instill the same thing in the students. That showed today because they were determined.”

Prairie View finished second with 130 points, followed by Mississippi Valley (117) and Southern (113).

In the women’s competition, Alabama State won its fourth consecutive title by finishing with 196.5 points, followed by Prairie View (183.3) and Mississippi Valley (101.3). Southern was fourth with 74; it was led by Katelyn Roth, who won the hammer throw (158-10), and Kashmia Weary, who claimed the shot put (44-2.75).

“To finish fourth and fourth, it’s OK. We’re making improvements,” Southern coach Brian Johnson said. “But I thought we had a really good shot of winning it on the guys’ side. It just didn’t happen.”

D’Wayne Houston gave the Southern men a chance with wins in the hammer throw (165-6) and shot put (52-0.50). He also was third in the discus (151.3). Hasoni Alfred won the javelin (164-7), and Akil Bennett took the long jump (23-6.25) and was fifth in the triple jump (47-1.00).