March 1, 2014
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Despite projected to finish seventh and only score 52 points, Louisiana Tech's men's track and field team was led by Trey Hadnot's two gold medals and Jermey Hicks' all-star performance as the Bulldogs finished second at the Conference USA Indoor Track and Field Championships at the CrossPlex Saturday evening.
Hadnot broke his own Conference USA record in the 200m and Hicks was named the league's Freshman of the Year as the Bulldogs recorded their highest finish at a conference meet since placing second at the 1999 Sun Belt Indoor Championships.
"We had a near-perfect meet on the men's side and it was done with a lot of passion," head coach Gary Stanley said. "Coming in this weekend there was lot of new blood with new teams but our guys approached like `This is a new era. Let's go get it.' I am proud of their effort this weekend."
The women's program finished fourth but the team's 65 points registered three more than projected. The Lady Techsters finished the meet three points ahead of UTEP and 12 points ahead of Tulane and Charlotte.
After breaking the C-USA record that he set less than 24 hours ago with a time of 20.81 to win gold in the 200m, Hadnot came back an hour later to run the anchor leg of the 4x400m relay with team standings weighing heavily on the outcome of the race. Despite taking the baton trailing UTEP, Hadnot would overcome the Miners' anchor leg and help record the third-fastest 4x400m relay time in school history, 3:13.48.
Hadnot, a senior from Ruston, La., joined with Andrew Hunt, Darius Statham and Yusuf Muhammad in the relay to claim a gold medal. The relay race marked Hadnot's second golf of the day and the first time the Bulldogs have won an indoor 4x400m relay championship since 2010. He also finished fourth in the 60m dash, just 0.004 (four-thousandths of a second) behind third-place Dennis Richardson.
"Trey [Hadnot] was essential to what the men did tonight," head coach Gary Stanley said. "To come back after the 200m with his spot in the national championships guaranteed and to risk injury by running the way he did for this team with all the passion these men showed today was phenomenal. I am so proud of those men and proud of the women as well. My coaching staff did a great job this weekend preparing and coaching our teams."
Hicks became the first athlete in school history to be named the Freshman of the Year at a conference indoor meet after advancing to the finals in both the 60m and 200m dashes. The New Orleans, La. native edged teammate Dennis Richardson for second place in the 60m dash by 0.001 (one-thousandth of a second) and then placed sixth in the 200m with a time of 21.82.
"Jermey started a little slow indoors," Stanley said of the freshman. "He is out of New Orleans from Edna Karr High School. I love the guy to death. A lot of people passed on him and we took him. He is a great kid that has had some unusually tough circumstances in his life. He is performing and nobody can be happier than us to have him on our team."
Kim Francis highlighted the women's side as she set a new school record time of 8.23 in the 60m hurdles, claiming silver. Finishing only 0.04 (four-tenths) of a second behind the winner, Francis completes her indoor collegiate eligibility with three WAC gold medals and one C-USA silver medal in the 60m hurdles. She is right on the bubble for qualifying for the NCAA Championships.
The women's 4x400m relay finished second overall with a time of 3:41.87, only 0.07 (seven-hundredths of a second) behind gold medalist UTEP. The relay quartet of Aldresha Bailey, Charla Craddock, Taneka Henderson and Mia Adams posted the 10th fastest time in school history.
Craddock was as busy as Hadnot Saturday as she set a new personal record with a time of 23.75 to claim silver in the 200m and then finished fourth in the 60m with a time of 7.52. Walk-on LaQuanda James entered the weekend ranked 18th in the 200m but fought her way to the finals and finished seventh with a time of 24.50.
Aaron Orduno notched a personal record throw to claim silver in the weight throw. His mark of 56-8.5 (17.28m) propelled him to second after entering the weekend ranking fourth in the event.
Louisiana Tech student-athletes now await to see who will qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships on March 14-15 in Albuquerque, N.M.
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