May 15, 2014
HOUSTON, Texas ---- UAB seniors Akira McSwain and Shelby Barker got the Blazers off to a good start Thursday on the first day of competition at the 2014 Conference USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
McSwain, who has finished among the top five finishers three times at the conference outdoor meet, is currently in second place after the opening day that included four events. UAB teammate Barker, third in the C-USA Indoor Pentathlon earlier this year and seventh a year ago in the heptathlon, is in fifth place.
"We are really proud of the way Akira and Shelby competed today," said head coach Kurt Thomas. "They have put themselves in a position to be right in the thick of it for big team points tomorrow. It's not their first rodeo. This is Akira's fifth year, so this is her fourth CUSA Championship heptathlon, so we hope her experience and competitiveness shines through tomorrow. Shelby always competes so hard and was right at her seasonal bests in the hurdles and shot put, so she'll be ready to fight for points tomorrow.
"Those two will be big for us tomorrow, and of course we'll get to cheer on our 10k ladies tomorrow night for more team points. It can be a good start to our weekend."
McSwain has 3,154 points through four events and trails only UTEP junior Jallycia Pearson who tallied 3,372 Thursday. Barker is in the fifth position with 2,938 points at the Holloway Field and Ley Track on the Rice University campus.
McSwain recorded a time of 14.19 in the 100-meter hurdles, the opening event of the meet, and was the third-fastest performer in the event. Barker ran to a time of 14.81.
In the high jump, Barker had a best jump of 5-3 ¼ while McSwain topped at 5-2 ¼.
McSwain had a shot put effort of 36-11 ¾ with Barker at 32-1.
McSwain finished the day with the second-fastest effort in the 200-meter dash, crossing the line at 25.11. Barker ran to a time of 25.87.
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