May 12, 2013
HOUSTON ----- UAB's distance runners again led the way Sunday as the Conference USA Outdoor Track and Field Championship wrapped up at Rice University's Track and Soccer Stadium.
For Hudak, it was her second straight C-USA Outdoor 1,500-meter title. In the 5,000-meter run later in the evening Sunday, UAB senior Rhiannon Johns, one of the Blazers' most decorated performers in school history, captured a runner-up finish in the 5,000-meter run with teammate Kirk scoring big for the second time on the night as she placed third.
Johns was clocked at 16:18.89 with Kirk running 16:22.63. UTEP senior Risper Kimaiyo edged Johns for the title with a time of 16:17.83.
The distance corps' effort helped the Blazers to a seventh-place finish in the team standings with 61 points, just two points shy of Marshall's fifth-place total of 63. UCF won the championship with 167 points.
UAB had six performers earn All-Conference USA status (top three finish).
"We're really proud of our girls," said UAB head coach Kurt Thomas. "Even though we finished seventh as a team, we ended up with several all-conference performances, a C-USA champ in Sarah for the second year in a row. Rhi had two runner-up finishes, and Eli had two top-three performances. The distances girls paced us again after their amazing efforts indoors, and really stepped up again this weekend. Tony has done a tremendous job with them, and the future only looks brighter.
"Rachel finished her conference career with two top-three finishes, second last year and third today, and has earned every bit of her success. The 4x100m had a tough handoff, but persevered, ran much faster today, finished higher than we were seeded to finish fourth and scored five big points. The relay also qualified for NCAA Prelims and broke a school record.
The UAB relay broke the Blazer mark that was originally set in 1995 by a unit led by former All-American and U.S. Olympian Vonetta Jeffery.
Other UAB highlights Sunday included a third place effort in the 400-meter hurdles by senior Rachel Harley. Harley claimed third with a time of 59.10. behind UCF's Sandy Jean-Claude (57.59) and Memphis' Maya Williamson (58.79).
Meanwhile, the quartet of White, Harley, Watson and Lytrice Thomas took sixth in the 1,600-meter relay with a time of 3:41.62.
UAB also had two sprinters score in the 100-meter dash as Bates and Knox finished seventh an eighth, respectively, with times of 11.72 and 11.75. UCF's Octavious Freeman took first with a time of 11.18.
"We didn't come in with the most ladies entered, and were thin in several events," Thomas said. "But our ladies got every point they could, had some great performances in a very, very good conference and we couldn't be more proud of them."