Southeastern Louisiana Men’s Track Rallies to Claim First Southland Crown
NACOGDOCHES, Texas – In one of the most thrilling finishes in Southland Conference Men’s Track and Field Championships history, Southeastern Louisiana nipped UT Arlington in the 1,600 relay by just more than a half second to claim the 2009 outdoor title on Sunday at Fletcher Garner Track at Homer Bryce Stadium.
With the Lions trailing the Mavericks by only 1.5 points heading into the 1,600 relay, an event that would see the top-five teams earn NCAA Regional Qualifying times, it was quickly evident that the entire championship would come down to the relay’s anchor leg. That final 400 meters pitted Southeastern’s Shannon Grover against UT Arlington’s Eddie Beckwith, and with the crowd in a tizzy, Grover pulled away during the final straightaway and crossed the tape in first place to give the Lions a 140-139.50 edge over the Mavericks.
“Really what an amazing feat, to set a personal best [in the 1,600 relay] by more than a second with the entire [meet] coming down to the wire,” Southeastern coach Sean Brady said of his program’s first Southland outdoor title. “The people on this relay team [George Cunningham, Jerel Butler, Adlus Wiltz and Grover] were recruited by only one school, and we’re lucky to have them. But this was not just about our relay team.”
Southeastern netted only three individual titles on the weekend, but it claimed points in multiple events thanks to the athletes’ ability to perform and the team’s overall positive outlook.
“We worked so hard and fought and fought,” Brady said, “and then it looked like we might just [win]. This was a complete team effort. We knew we had a chance, and we really showed what we are made of after we got down after Friday.”