Ritchie Beene, who said on Sunday he’ll “take a championship any time we can get one,” isn’t allowing any of the other women’s track coaches in the Southwestern Athletic Conference to test that theory.
Beene apparently wants to win them all.
The Alabama State women’s track team won their fifth consecutive indoor conference title on Sunday in Birmingham, capturing the 2013 Southwestern Athletic Conference Indoor Track and Field Championship with a 63-point victory over second-place Prairie View A&M.
It was the ninth indoor title for the ASU women, which includes championships in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and now 2013.
“The girls did exceptional today,” Beene said, “and we had a lot of the younger girls really step up and respond well in a championship setting.”
Sunday continued a spectacular performance by Tia Rolle, who won the individual conference title in the long jump on Saturday and the 60-meter dash and 200-meter dash on Sunday, accounting for 30 of her team’s 218-point total.
The Lady Hornets, in fact, owned the 200-meter dash as Rolle was joined by teammates Kadijah Gordon in third, Latrice Lee in fourth, Jasmine Pope in sixth and Brianna Scott-Glover in seventh, giving ASU 26 points for the event. The 60-meter dash provided the Hornets with 22 points as Rolle was joined in the top five by Pope (second) and Lee (fifth).
ASU went one-two in the 5000-meter run, grabbing 18 points with Paige Rankine winning the event in 18:42.12 and Artrailia Lesane finishing second in 19:04.36. Another point producer for the team was the 800-meter run, where Jerrica Mahone finished second, Shantia Wilson was fourth and Lesane placed seventh.
Lesane had a busy day as she led an ASU trio in the mile run with her second-place finish. Rankine was third and Soyong Smith finished seventh. Alexis Ferebee finished fifth in the 400-meter dash, followed by Kim Wedderburn in sixth place and Pope in eighth.
The final event of the day saw the Lady Hornets team of Wedderburn, Gordon, Pope and Mahone finish second in the 4x400m relay with a time of 3:58.72.
And while the Lady Hornets have been strong in the track events, improvements to the program’s on-campus practice facility has paid dividends as ASU had a strong showing in the three field events on Sunday. Imani White was third and Mia Mike eighth in the weight throw, Quinta Collier placed second and Fola Richardson third in the pole vault and Gordon was second in the triple jump, with teammate Vernezia James placing seventh.
“We did really well in the field events,” Beene said. “We had not been doing so well in some of the field events this season but put it together and dominated (in the conference championship). We had been on the lower end on our jumps and throws during the regular season, but we could tell they were getting better as the season went along and they put it all together (on Sunday).
“Tia was Tia in winning three events over the two days, but I was really proud of Artrailia, a freshman who won 23 points for us. “Jas (Pope) was also strong for us competing in four events and pulling in points in all four events.”
And, to no one’s surprise, Beene was named the SWAC indoor track coach of the year. But don’t expect him to rest on his laurels for more than a day or two. The Lady Hornets open defense of their 2012 SWAC outdoor track and field championship on March 8-9 at the Samford Invitational in Birmingham.