The University of Mobile’s (UM) outdoor track and field teams have concluded a very successful campaign. The women’s squad secured the overall team title at the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) Championships, while the men finished third.
Numerous competitors garnered individual honors. Meanwhile, UM head coach Andy Canegitta, who is in his seventh season with the Rams, was named the SSAC Women’s Track and Field Coach of the Year.
“I’m excited and thrilled for our women’s program,” Canegitta told Lagniappe. “They all worked hard for this moment and were focused, motivated and determined on getting the SSAC conference title.
“We have several returners next year and all are looking to shift their focus on making their presence known at the NAIA Championship level. Also, not only is this group talented on the track, but they are also great students in the classroom. I am excited for the future of our program.”
Several members of the women’s team shined at the SSAC meet hosted by William Carey University in Hattiesburg, Miss. Headlining the field were Elyssa Paulding, LaKirstan Hooks and Anna Cabrera.
Paulding placed first in the discus throw. Her effort of 44.00 meters broke the SSAC record.
Hooks set an SSAC Conference record in the hammer throw with a toss of 43.86 meters. Hooks placed second behind Paulding in the discus with a mark of 33.23 meters. Paulding then finished one spot behind Hooks in the hammer with a throw of 40.26 meters.
Cabrera recorded a winning toss of 33.44 meters in the women’s javelin. She later placed third in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 15.08 seconds and third in the long jump with a mark of 5.68 meters.
Overall, UM had three of the top four finishers in the javelin, four of the top five in the hammer, two of the top four in the discus and two of the top three in the shot put.
Multiple Rams were named to all-SSAC teams. Additional members were on the conference’s all-academic team.
UM saw Hooks, Cabrera and Paulding selected to the first-team roster. Hooks earned her spot in the hammer, Cabrera in the javelin and Paulding for the discus.
The Rams dominated the SSAC second-team list, earning honors in 12 events. This includes Madelyn Wells, a senior from Robertsdale (3000m steeplechase school record time of 13:02.22; 4×800 relay), Lillie Hawthorne-Abrams, a sophomore from Daphne (4×400; 4×800), Indeya Armstead, a freshman from Loxley (4×400), Isebel Valenzuela, a freshman from Satsuma (4×800), Angel Peterson, a senior from Saraland (high jump), Tatalia Carmichael (shot put school record distance of 11.79 meters), Shawnessy Edwards, a sophomore from Point Clear (400m), Brianna Page (400m hurdles; 4×400 relay), Myla Edwards (4×100 relay), Azaria Jones (4×100 relay), Samantha Mansur (4×100 relay), Jhanya Quinones (4×100 relay; 200m), Rayvion Williams (4×400; 4×800; 800m) and Paulding (hammer; javelin).
On the SSAC third-team roster, Cabrera earned honors for the 100-meter hurdles and the long jump. Joining here were Quinones (100m), Mansur (200m), Page (400m) and Valenzuela (5000m). With Cabrera in the throwing events were Savannah Vigor, a junior from Semmes (hammer), TaNaja Williams (triple jump) and Paulding (shot put).
Several members of the UM team took part in the NAIA Outdoor Championships in Gulf Shores last week. Cabrera competed in the heptathlon and the long jump. She was the only Ram to qualify for the Indoor Championships, where she was an All-American in the long jump.
She was an All-American again in Gulf Shores, as she finished seventh in the heptathlon. Her best efforts were third-place finishes in the shot put (10.11 meters) and long jump (5.57 meters).
Paulding earned her berth in the discus, while Peterson competed in the high jump. Quinones, who advanced in the 100- and 200-meter runs, joined Edwards, Jones and Mansur in the 4×100 meter relay.
Off the track
UM placed numerous names on the Barnes & Noble College Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Scholar-Athlete Team for the SSAC. Cabrera headlined the honorary squad as the Scholar-Athlete of the Year. The sophomore kinesiology major from Spain has a 3.86 GPA.
She was also named as UM’s representative on the SSAC Champions of Character Team for having “displayed great heart and sportsmanship in each event throughout the entire season.”
UM saw four other Rams on the conference’s scholar-athlete team. Vigor, Mansur, Paulding and Peterson all surpassed the GPA requirements while seeing success in meets throughout the season. UM took five of the 11 available spots throughout the entire conference. To be eligible, student-athletes must have been a sophomore or above in both academic and athletic standing, must have been starters or important reserves, had at least a 3.3 cumulative GPA and had competed in 50 percent of competitions
Men also honored
UM’s Anfernee Jones was the top scorer among the male competitors at the SSAC championships with 31 points. This is the second straight conference championship meet where Jones has earned the men’s top scorer honor.
Jones set a school record in the hammer throw with a winning mark of 48.24 meters. He also won the shot put (14.15m) and discus (39.05m). He finished eighth in the javelin.
Jones was named first-team all-conference along with Daylon Wooten, a senior, who won the javelin throw.
On the second-team roster, Cameron Alexander (sophomore from Mobile), Kevin Richardson (sophomore from Theodore), Hudson Freeman and Donald Evans III were selected in the 4×100 event. Alexander was also awarded second-team honors in the long jump. Ethan Cowart was picked for the hammer while Wooten earned a second-team selection in the discus event. Freeman was the only Ram selected to the third-team roster following his performance in the 400-meter run.
Selected to the Barnes & Noble College All-Academic Team were Rider Jernigan (sophomore from Brewton), Cowart, Tucker Reynolds, Richardson and Jayson Isaac Sansom. Reynolds and Jernigan were named to the conference’s men’s cross-country scholar-athlete team in April.
Jace Martinez (sophomore from Wilmer) was named UM’s representative on the SSAC Champions of Character Team. The honor stated Martinez displayed great sportsmanship in each event throughout the entire season.
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