Thomas strikes SWAC gold

NEW ORLEANS ­— One throw of the javelin has made Erick Thomas into a SWAC champion and put Arkansas-Pine Bluff in third place through one day of the conference outdoor track and field meet.

Thomas threw 187 feet, 11 inches (57.27 meters) to clearly outdistance the field Friday in the javelin throw. Thomas’ throw was 8 feet, 7 inches better than runner-up Kaylon Roberts of Grambling State.

Thomas received 10 points for his victory, putting UAPB in third place behind Grambling State (25) and Mississippi Valley State (18). In fact, Grambling scored 17 points in the javelin throw alone, taking four of the top six spots, including fourth through sixth.

Lawerence Williams of Southern was third with a 178-4 throw.

In women’s standings, UAPB is seventh with two points, thanks to Sireta Roach’s seventh-place toss of 136-1 in the hammer throw. Roach is the reigning SWAC indoor shot put champion.

UAPB’s Ninfa Barnard, last year’s Most Outstanding Track Performer, is expected to try and defend her titles in the 5,000 meters, 1,500 and 800. She set a conference record of 17 minutes, 50.38 seconds in last year’s 5,000.

Barnard also won the 3,200 and 1,600 in February’s SWAC indoor meet.

Alabama State leads the women’s standings with 21, followed by Southern with 19 and Texas Southern with 15.

The SWAC Championships will continue through Sunday.