LAS CRUCES, N.M.—The New Mexico State track and field team travels to Orem, Utah to compete at the 2014 Western Athletic Conference Outdoor Championships on Wednesday, May 14. The championships last four days and conclude on Saturday, May 17.
Throughout the outdoor season, the Aggies have had solid performances from their juniors and seniors as well as several standout performances from their underclassmen.
Senior Alishia Perkins leads the team into the WAC Championships and focuses on sprinting. She currently holds the fastest time in the WAC for the 200-meter dash with a time of 23.65, which she set at the Don Kirby Invitational (5/2). She also ranks as the second-fastest time in the WAC in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.78, which she set at the Texas Tech Outdoor Open (4/5). Perkins is also one of four runners who owns the fastest WAC time for the 4x100-meter relay with a time of 45.52, set at the UTEP Invitational (4/12), and she also helped the 4x400-meter relay team set the second-fastest time in the WAC at the Don Kirby with a time of 3:48.36.
Another sprinter who has been on Perkins’ heels throughout much of the season has been junior Jenna Banegas. Banegas currently holds the fourth-fastest time in the WAC in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.79 that she set at the UTEP Springtime (3/22), which also ties her for fifth all-time for NM State. In the 200-meter dash, Banegas owns the sixth spot in the WAC with a time of 24.46 set at the Don Kirby Invitational. Banegas is also a member of the 4x100-and-400-meter relay teams along with Perkins. She was also named the WAC Athlete of the Week for the week of March 17-23, for her performance at theUTEP Springtime.
Junior Diana Hawk also had a strong 2014 outdoor season for the Aggies. She currently owns the fastest time in the WAC for the 1500-meter run with a time of 4:30.61, which she set at the Rice Owls Invitational (4/26). During the outdoor season, Hawk strung together five consecutive weeks that she took home a first-place finish. Four of those wins came in the 1500-meter run while one came in the 3000-meter run.
Senior Brianna Cromartie has dealt with injuries through much of the track season, but in the meets that she was able to compete in she quickly established herself among the WAC’s best. Cromartie holds the fourth-fastest time in the WAC in the 200-meter dash at 24.10, which she ran at the Don Kirby Invitational. She is also ranked second in the WAC in the 400-meter dash with a time of 55.56 that she ran at the UTEP Invitational.
In the field events, junior Tiffany Gerber has led the team in the javelin throw. She iscurrently second in the WAC with a throw of 43.08m (141’4”) that she had at the Don Kirby Invitational. She is followed by fellow junior Nicolette Serrao, who is ranked third in the WAC in the javelin with a throw of 41.28m (135’5”).
While the upperclassmen have continued to prepare for the conference meet, several underclassmen have shown that they’re ready to compete with the best in the WAC. In the track events, this person is freshman Paige Patterson. Patterson was a member of both relay teams along with Banegas and Perkins. Individually, she holds the seventh spot in the WAC in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.17, which she set at the Bobcat Invitational (3/27). She also has the eighth-fastest time in the 200-meter dash with a time of 24.59, which she set at the UTEP Springtime. Patterson is also third in the WAC in the 400-meter dash with a time of 55.79, which was set at the Rice Owls Invitational. Her time in the 400-meter dash also ranked her fourth all-time for the Aggies.
Another freshman that has made an impact on the team all season has been field athlete Akuadasou Ezenyilimba. Ezenyilimba is currently ranked in the top-10 in three different categories in the WAC. Her highest ranking is fifth in the discusthrow with a distance of 45.12m (148’0”), which she set at the Rice Owls Invitational. She is ranked ninth in the hammer throw with a distance of 48.77m (160’0”) that she earned at the Don Kirby Invitational and she is ranked 10th in the shot put with a throw of 12.43m (40’9.5”), which she earned at the Rice Owls Invite.
Sophomore Latrice Brooks leads the team in the 800-meter run, where she is currently ranked second in the WAC with a time of 2:12.30, which she ran at the Rice Owls Invitational.
After the WAC Championships any Aggies that qualify will travel to Fayetteville, Ark., to compete in the NCAA Regional Round on May 29.