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Seniors to lead track at SBC Championships

Teams looking for first outdoor championship since 2008

May 6, 2010 · Christian Lemon

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Middle Tennessee track and field teams will travel to Denton, Texas to take on the conference's best athletes at the 2010 Sun Belt Outdoor Championships. The Blue Raiders will be looking to bringing home a 16th SBC title for hall of fame coach Dean Hayes.

Rival Western Kentucky has had a stranglehold in recent years, sweeping both the men's and women's outdoor titles in 2008 and 2009. The WKU women's team has been more dominant winning the past four SBC Outdoor Championships.

Middle Tennessee's answer to the Lady Hilltopper dominance will be a quartet of seniors who have a combined 15 individual Sun Belt victories in their respective events. Brittany Cox, Sarah Nambawa, MeLyn Thompson and Zamzam Sangau will be competing for the one title they have not earned since coming to Murfreesboro, a Sun Belt team championship.

In the 2010 outdoor season, the Middle Tennessee women have enjoyed success as six athletes currently qualify in 12 events for the NCAA East Preliminary Round at the end of May.

Brittany Cox enters the SBC Championships with the top conference marks in both the discus (167-1 [51.13m]) and shot put (54-1.25 [16.49m]) and the second best in the hammer throw (181-8 [55.37m]). The Antioch, Tenn., native's shot put toss in the fifth longest in the East Region this season.

The team will look to score multiple points in the long jump with three athletes ranked at the top of the conference list. Nyeisha Wright, Sarah Nambawa and Kortney Thurman all have Top-48 East Regional marks of 19-11.75 (6.09m), 19-11.5 (6.08m) and 19-8.75 (6.01m), respectively. Nambawa holds the top conference triple jump mark of 41-11.25 (12.78m) and sits 11th in the East Region. She is the two time defending conference outdoor champion in the event.

Cherice Robertson's season best leap of 5-8.75 (1.75m) in the high jump is tops in the Sun Belt and 28th in the East Region. Robertson also hold a current East Region qualifying time of 13.73 in the 100 meter hurdles, third fastest in conference. The junior earned top female meet scorer at the 2010 Sun Belt Indoor Championships.

In middle distance, Zamzam Sangau sits tops in conference and 13th in the East Region in the 800 meters with a time of 2:06.5. The senior suffered a disappointing injury in March 2010 SBC Indoor meet and will look to finish her stellar MT career as the conference's top middle distance runner.

A part from its strong top talent, the team has a excellent depth that will prove crucial in defeating WKU. Athletes such as Marla Bailey, Ashley Comstock, Jackie Serem, Kiara Henry, Alissa Ruggle and Amber Jackson have all performed well in 2010 and must have good weekends if the team is to be successful.

Like the women, the Middle Tennessee men's team is laden with talent at the top of the roster. Stanley Gbagbeke is returning to form after winning the long jump at the prestigious 2010 Penn Relays. The 2009 NCAA Outdoor runner-up sits a top the conference in the event and fourth in the East Region with a mark of 25-8.25 (7.83m).

Roscoe Payne, the 2009 Sun Belt Outdoor Freshman of the Year, has run well in both the 110 and 400 meter hurdles this season. The Flint, Mich., native has positioned himself as the top hurdler in the conference. He is currently 13th in the East Region in the 400 meter hurdles with a time of 51.34 and 29th in the 110 meter hurdles in 14.14.

Other athletes including Festus Chemaoi, William Songock, Chris Mason, Greg Franklin, DeRay Sloss and Curtis King can all score in multiple events to help the men's team.

Full results and coverage for all three days of competition will be available on GoBlueRaiders.com.

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