Texas State was the last 2018-19 Bobcat athletic program to wrap up their season this year as 11 athletes traveled to Sacramento, California to compete in the NCAA West Prelims May 23-25.
Although no athletes qualified for the national meet up I-35 in Austin, several came close. In her last race as a Bobcat, track and field veteran Tramesha Hardy finished 14th in her signature 200-meter dash, clocking in at 23.16 seconds in the quarterfinals. The sprinter also competed in the 100-meter dash, crossing the finish with a 27th place time of 11.71 seconds out of 48 overall runners.
On the men’s side, senior powerhouse T’Mond Johnson just missed a spot at nationals with a 17th place, 18.47 meter hurl in the men’s shot put. Senior Kyle Denomme placed 24th in the 800-meter run, coming in fifth in his heat despite beating five national qualifiers.
The teams had strong performances overall throughout their long-lasting season. After a third-place performance in the Sun Belt Indoor Championship meet, the men’s team steadily gained momentum before making history as the first men’s Sun Belt Outdoor champions in program history on May 10-12. The women’s side was consistently hot, with the team winning the indoor championship for the third consecutive year before taking runner-up at the outdoor meet.
At the outdoor championship, eight athletes were crowned individual champions, while 21 Bobcats were named for all-conference honors. Before the championship, the teams had racked up a total of 48 top ten Sun Belt slots, trailing only Arkansas State and South Alabama in rankings.
Many athletes crossed the finish line for the last time this May, including strongholds Hardy and Johnson. Both seniors were team leaders throughout their time as Bobcats. Hardy was crowned Sun Belt Conference Champion 13 times in her career, named Sun Belt Most Outstanding Track Performer six times, and took a three-peat title as Sun Belt Top Scoring Performer at the indoor championship early this season. Johnson made huge improvements from his freshman year to win conference six times in his time as a Bobcat and was rewarded for his efforts as the Sun Belt Conference Most Outstanding Field performer this season.
Other seniors include Kylah Smith, who had her final 100-meter hurdle race at the Prelims, finishing 38th with a time of 13.74. Smith was also the Sun Belt champion in both the 60-meter and 100-meter hurdles in the 2018 season.
Senior Dawnshae Evans, who was given the 2019 Heart of A Champion Endowment alongside fellow senior Denomme in May, also proved a vital part of Texas State track. The sprinter was a part of two Sun Belt gold medals in the women’s 4×400 meter relay, including the record-breaking team at the 2018 LSU Alumni Gold meet.
As these Bobcats retire their spikes, blocks and uniforms, many up-and-coming underclassmen are making a name for themselves. Distance standout and junior Leslie Romero broke not only the 3,000-meter steeplechase record -twice- but also the 3,000- and 5,000-meter run, winning first in the indoor season in both events with times of 9:40.57 and 17:06.00, respectively.
Junior Ben Collerton also made waves in the heptathlon and decathlon, breaking his own school record in the decathlon with a total of 7,218 points. At one point, Collerton was ranked in the top ten in the Sn Belt for five separate outdoor events.
Texas State also has a promising future in the long jump event: three athletes qualified for regionals in the event, including sophomore Ronnie Briscoe, junior Naomi Ferdinand and freshman Live Hilton, who placed 22nd, 27th and 39th at the preliminary meet, respectively.
Sophomore triple jumper Noah Herring, freshman sprinter Sadi Giles, sophomore sprinter Jaylen Allen and sophomore thrower Brandon Busby were the other qualifiers for the Prelims, each with exciting potential ahead of them as Bobcat athletes.
Head coach Jody Stewart was also rewarded for the season’s success. Stewart has produced six Sun Belt Conference champion teams in his four years at Texas State and has been named Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year all six times, including the 2019 season.
While the season has ended for Bobcat track and field, the hope for the future hasn’t. Even as a self-proclaimed younger team, Texas State established themselves as a top Sun Belt and regional competitor in this historic season, leaving many fans excited for what’s to come for the program.
Texas State track and field takes a much-needed hiatus before starting up again next December. Follow @Txstatetrack on Twitter or visit txstatebobcats.com for more information on the season’s accomplishments and upcoming events.