Barnard claims 3 SWAC titles

NEW ORLEANS — Ninfa Barnard of Arkansas-Pine Bluff won three distance running events at SWAC outdoor track and field championships and earned the title of Most Outstanding Track Performer at the meet, which concluded Sunday at Tad Gormley Stadium.

Barnard, a senior from St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, set a conference record in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 17 minutes, 50.38 seconds, breaking the old mark by 12 seconds.

She also won the 1,500 meters in 4:37.47 and the 800 in 2:15.16.

The three outdoor titles give Barnard six conference championships this year. She also won the 800, mile and 3,000 at the SWAC indoor championships in February.

“You can’t put it into words,” UAPB coach Christopher McCoy said. “That’s an athlete you dream of having.”

Despite her championships, Barnard has yet to qualify for an NCAA preliminary meet. She must rank among the top 48 in the nation in an event to qualify.

Barnard will run the 3,000 this week at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia. According to McCoy, she is ranked 59th nationally in that event.

She will attempt to qualify in the 800 on May 11 in a meet at Georgia Tech. She is ranked 52nd in that event, according to McCoy.

UAPB finished seventh in SWAC women’s team standings with 45 points and 10th in men’s standings with 16. Alabama State’s women and Grambling State’s men won the team titles.