May 11, 2012
MOSCOW, Idaho - Chelsea Hayes won three gold medals and set two Western Athletic Conference records on the final day of competition at the WAC Championships but the Lady Techsters finished third ending a run of seven consecutive outdoor championships at the Dan O’Brien Track in Moscow Friday.
The women’s team finished third with 129 points while Utah State won with 148.5 points. Idaho placed third with 133.5 points. The men’s team placed fourth with 84 points behind Fresno State’s 137 points. Idaho won the men’s team title with 219.5 points.
Overall, Louisiana Tech athletes won 18 gold medals and brought home 47 all-conference honors in two days of competition.
Hayes, a redshirt senior, scored a WAC record 37.5 points in the meet to break her old record of 32.5 points scored last year. She became the first WAC athlete since Rice’s Keitha Moseley to repeat in that award since 2000-01. The New Orleans native was also named the WAC Female Track Athlete of the Year. Her gold medal count Friday brought her career total to 14 WAC gold medals won in her career.
Meanwhile Dennis Richardson also won three gold medals as the sophomore was named the WAC Male Track Athlete of the Year. A Louisiana Tech male athlete has won a WAC superlative award every year since 2007.
After winning the long jump Thursday, Hayes came back and won the 100m and 200m dashes Friday while also running on the WAC Champion 4x100m relay. Her winning 100m dash time of 11.15 broke the WAC Championship record time of 11.19 set by UTEP’s Melinda Sergeant in 1996. That time currently ranks 14th in the world and is an automatic qualifying time for the U.S. Olympic Trials on June 22-26 in Eugene, Ore.
In the 200m Hayes ran 23.22 to win, beating Utah State’s Bailee Witworth by 0.8 seconds. Hayes’ prelim time of 23.15 ranks 13th in the nation this year. She also placed fourth in the triple jump with a mark of 40-1.25 (12.22m) while running the second leg of the 4x100m relay that won with a time of 44.49 marking the ninth time in 10 years LA Tech has won the WAC title in that relay.
Richardson, like Hayes, won gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay. The relay team’s winning time of 40.82 edged Fresno State by 0.08 seconds while he topped Nic Bowens of Utah State in the 200m by 0.06 seconds. Richardson easily won the 100m dash with a time of 10.46.
The closest finish of the meet came in the men’s 800m with one of the closest finishes of any race in WAC Championship history. After leading for almost the entire race, Louisiana Tech’s Alwayne Green was edged at the finish line by Idaho’s James Clark by 0.003 seconds.
A day after setting a new personal record time in the prelims, Kim Francis won the gold medal in the 100m hurdles with a time of 13.49, dominating a race as she won by a half second. Francis also finished sixth in both the 100m dash (11.86) and the 200m dash (24.52).
Tech now turns its attention to the NCAA East Preliminary Championships held in Jacksonville, Fla. in two weeks. The NCAA will release the full participant field next week.
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