track and field

Sports: Basketball weekend, men’s golf to Mexico

AAC Indoors: SMU women’s track and field will compete in the inaugural American Athletic Conference Indoor Championships, Feb. 28-Mar. 1, 2014. The championship meet is in New York City at the New Balance Track and Field Center in Armory. SMU currently has two runners, two throwers and one multi-event athlete ranked in the top 100 of the NCAA across six events. Fans can follow along with the championship event here.

Moody Magic: SMU men’s basketball returns home to play UCF Saturday, Mar. 1 at 3 p.m. The Mustangs are coming off a win on the road against UConn, 64-55 and currently have more wins this season than any SMU team since the 1999-00 season. Saturday marks the first home game as a ranked team since Mar. 9, 1985; the men are back at 23 on the AP Rankings. The UCF game is sold out but will air on ESPNews.

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Season ending: Saturday, Mar. 1 marks the final regular-season game for SMU women’s basketball. The Mustangs will take on USF on the road at 6 p.m. The women played USF at home in January and were defeated 76-62. If SMU wins Saturday’s game, they will take the No. 5 seed for the AAC tournament.

Golf goes international: The SMU men’s golf team will travel to Los Cabos, Mexico Mar. 2-5, 2014 to hosting the three-day Querencia Cabo Intercollegiate tournament for 14 teams. It is the 4th annual tournament and the Mustangs’ second time attending. All seven Mustangs will be there, including sophomore Bryson Dechambeau, who was recently named to the 2014 watch list for the Ben Hogan Award, the most prestigious award in men’s college golf.

Additional Highlights: 

  • Men’s Basketball Head Coach Larry Brown has been named a finalist for the Henry Iba National Coach of the Year Award.
  • The 2013 AAC All-Academic Team for football was just released. Out of the 246-member list, 20 of the players were Mustangs.
  • Nine women were placed on the 2014 Swimming and Diving All Conference Team.

Sports: Golf hosts DAC/SMU Invitational, Tennis on a winning streak

DAC/SMU Invitational: SMU women’s golf is hosting the 2013 Dallas Athletic Club/Southern Methodist University Invitational this weekend, April 5-7. The 15 teams in the tournament will play 54 holes over three days, 18 holes a day. Six of the teams participating are in the top 50 of the GolfWeek/Sagarin rankings including SMU, ranking at 34. Friday and Saturday have an 8 a.m. tee time and Sunday is 8:30 a.m.

Match point: SMU men’s tennis will travel this weekend to play Notre Dame Friday, April 5, and USF Sunday, April 7. The Mustangs are currently 8-7 for the season and ranked 65th in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings. The men extended their winning streak to four matches after defeating the Illinois-Chicago Flames on April 3. Friday’s match is at 3 p.m. and Sunday’s is at 11 a.m.

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Mean Green: SMU track and field is traveling to Denton for the 2013 Mean Green Invitational hosted by North Texas. The Mustangs enter the weekend after setting records at their last meet. In the 10,000 meter run, freshman Karoline Skatteboe placed first with at time of 35:52.91, which was also recorded as the third-best time in the nation. Junior Caitlin Keen was also in the 10,000-meter run and finished fourth with at time of 36:47.16, the 13th-best time in the nation. Two school records were set at the meet: the first by SMU’s 4×100-meter relay team finishing in 44.76 and the second by Helena Perez in the shot put, throwing for 15.88 meters. The Mean Green Invitational takes place April 5-6.

(Image c/o SMU Athletics) 

Sports: B-ball plays last games in Moody, men’s tennis weekend play

Basketball says goodbye to Moody:

  • Men: The men were victorious against Rice  67-55 on Wednesday, Feb. 27, in their final game before the Moody Coliseum renovation. The Mustangs celebrated Senior Night prior to the game, and SMU alumnus Bobby Mills took a final shot after the last buzzer, making him the owner of both the first and last basket in the historic coliseum. (Mills scored the first basket in Moody on Dec. 3, 1956.) The Mustangs travel to Alabama Saturday, Mar. 2 to take on UAB at 2 p.m.
  • Women: The women play their final home game, and their last before the renovation, at 2 p.m. Sunday, Mar. 3 against UTEP. Currently, the Mustangs (20-7 overall) lead Conference USA with a record of 11-3. Moody Coliseum will reopen in December 2013.

Tennis comes back strong: SMU Men’s Tennis travels to TCU Friday, March 1 for a 5:30 p.m. match and returns home to play Tulane at noon Sunday, March 3 at Dallas’ Samuell Grand Tennis Center. The men enter the weekend after defeating Arkansas-Fort Smith 7-0 last weekend. It was their first match in three weeks, giving them ample time to practice and improve their play. The Mustangs are at 2-4 for their spring season.

Mustang Highlights:

SMU Men’s Swimming took first place in the C-USA Championship Meet Feb. 20-23, 2013. The women finished in third:

  • Mindaugas Sadauskas: Men’s Swimmer of the Meet
  • Isabella Arcila: Women’s Swimmer of the Meet
  • Devin Burnett: Men’s Diver of the Meet
  • Eddie Sinnott: Co-Men’s Swimming Coach of the Year
  • Jim Stillson: Men’s Diving Coach of the Year

SMU Track and Field finished fifth at the C-USA Indoor Championship:

  • Mary Alenbratt: Broke the school record for the 3000 meter run
  • Craisha Washington, Rachel Scruggs, Isis Wilson and Stephanie Kalu: Broke the school record for the 4×400 meter relay

SMU Women’s Tennis extended their winning streak to four matches.

(Images c/o SMU Athletics) 

Sports: SMU’s wild season ends with semifinal loss to Santa Clara

Simone Du ToitEnd of the road: The men’s basketball team ended their wild season with an unfortunate, injury-affected loss to Santa Clara at the semifinals of the CIT on Friday, March 25. The Mustangs (20-15), who found a second life after a first-round defeat in the Conference USA Tournament by participating in the relatively unknown CollegeInsider.com Tournament, enjoyed a string of wins against Oral Roberts, Jacksonville and Northern Iowa before losing to the Broncos (23-14) with a final score of 72-55. Senior star Papa Dia suffered an injury resulting from a foul on him with 8:18 left to go in the first half, and did not return for the rest of the game. Robert Nyakundi and Collin Mangrum scored 14 and 13 points respectively, with Nyakundi posting his 3rd double-double of the season. The Mustangs finished their unpredictable season with 20 wins- the first 20-win season since 1999-2000.

Du Toit nabs another award: Junior shot put/discus athlete Simone Du Toit (pictured) nabbed SMU’s second consecutive C-USA Female Track & Field Athlete Of The Week award on Tuesday, March 29. Du Toit, a native of Johannesburg, South Africa, picked up a pair of North Texas Spring Classic titles last weekend (March 25-27), recording a discus throw of 55.12 meters and a shot put toss of 16.61 meters. This is Du Toit’s fourth weekly honor of her career, and the first this season. She follows last week’s winner, junior Ayla Gill of Auckland, New Zealand, who recorded a winning toss of 61.70 meters in the hammer throw at the TCU Invitational.

Marta LesniakWeekly Marta Lesniak Dominance Segment: As is becoming usual in the SMU Sports community, junior tennis player Marta Lesniak (pictured) received yet another award this week with a performance strong enough to earn her the C-USA Tennis Athlete of the Week award. Lesniak (No.9 national rank) went 4-0 against nationally-ranked squads from No. 9 Baylor and No. 66 UC Santa Barbara, winning a pair in both singles and doubles competition. Her singles victories were against No.11 Sona Novakova of Baylor (6-4, 4-6, (14-12)) and Natalia Lozano of UCSB (6-2, 6-2). Lesniak also teamed up with junior Aleksandra Malyarchikova for the doubles victories, defeating Baylor with a 9-7 mark and posting an 8-3 mark against UCSB. This is Lesniak’s third award this season and the eighth of her career.

Football still lives: The Mustang football team will kick off a grueling spring training camp on Monday, April 4 to prepare for the upcoming Fall 2011 campaign. Head Coach June Jones is expected to hold 15 practice sessions over 27 days, nearly all of which will be at 7 a.m. Practices will generally be closed to the public, but the final practice of the season is open for anyone to attend and is scheduled for Saturday, April 30.

Sports: Premium seating sold out for 2010 football season

SMU tennis player Marta LesniakPremium seating is sold out for the 2010 Mustang football season, according to a statement from SMU Athletics. With about 4 months remaining before the home opener, SMU has sold all 29 suites and 731 club seats in Gerald J. Ford Stadium. Overall sales are also significantly ahead of last season’s pace. Read more.

Sophomore tennis player Marta Lesniak (right), currently ranked No. 28, begins play in the 2010 NCAA Singles Championship against No. 15 Venise Chan of Washington at 4:30 p.m. CT May 26 in Athens, Georgia. She earned her automatic spot in the 64-person field as Conference USA’s highest-ranked player and is making her second consecutive appearance in the national championship.

Read more, and see a CW 33 News item on Lesniak, featuring Head Coach Lauren Longbotham-Meisner, that aired May 24, 2010. video

SMU thrower Simone Du ToitThe track and field team finished 5th with a score of 76.33 points at the 2010 Conference USA Championships May 13-15 in Orlando, Florida. Sophomore thrower Simone Du Toit (left) – the co-Conference USA Track and Field Athlete of the Week of May 4, 2010 – scored victories in the shot put and discus with throws of 16.33m and 54.06m, respectively. Senior Lauren Kuhner placed third in the discus with a personal best of 47.64m.

The team dominated the women’s 3000m steeplechase as the Mustangs swept medalist honors. Junior Silje Fjortoft took gold with a time of 10:14.67, followed by junior Kristine Eikrem-Engeset and freshman Klara Bodinson with times of 10:28.71 and 10:34.52. Fjortoft also had a 4th-place finish in the 5000m run with a time of 16:33.21. First-year runner Mary Alenbratt finished third in the 1500m with a personal-best time of 4:25.00, and sophomore Amber Evans earned 6th in the 200m dash, finishing in 24.34 seconds.

The 2010 NCAA Regionals take place May 28-29 in Austin, with the national championships scheduled for June 9-12 in Eugene, Oregon. Read more.

Sports: Swimming and diving teams win C-USA championships

SMU swimming poolThe men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams each won their 5th consecutive Conference USA title at the University of Houston Feb. 27, 2010. For both teams it marked a 14th straight conference title, includling 9 Western Athletic Conference titles before joining C-USA in 2005.

The men totaled 871 points to beat second-place Hawaii by 38 points (833). The women scored 707 points to dominate second-place East Carolina by 96 (611). The Mustangs also made a clean sweep of the relays, winning all six on both the men’s and women’s sides. The teams compete next at the 2010 USA Swimming Austin Grand Prix March 4-6. Read more.

SMU basketball player Alice SeverinSenior post Alice Severin (right) has been named to the 2010 Conference USA All-Academic Team in women’s basketball, announced by the conference March 4. She holds a 3.71 G.P.A. in psychology and biology, the third-highest average of all players nominated. Severin is third in the conference, shooting 52.5-percent from the field, and ranks 4th in the league with 35 blocks. She is averaging 6.3 points per game and 5.1 rebounds per contest this season. The team plays in the second round of the 2010 GMC Sierra C-USA Championship March 9 in Tulsa. Read more.

The SMU Athletic Department, in conjunction with the SMU Lettermen’s Association, has announced the newest class of its Athletics Hall of Fame. The 2010 inductees are:

  • Kajsa Bergqvist (’99), world champion, indoor world record holder, and 2000 Olympic bronze medalist in the high jump.
  • Raymond Berry (’55), Pro Football Hall of Fame player who coached the New England Patriots to an AFC Championship and Super Bowl XX.
  • Michael Carter (’84), national high-school record holder in the 12-pound shot put and the only athlete in history to win an Olympic podium and a Super Bowl ring in the same year (1984), as silver medalist in the shot put and nose tackle for the NFL champion San Francisco 49ers.
  • Jerry Heidenreich (’72) a 23-time All-America swimmer and winner of two gold medals, one silver and one bronze at the 1972 Olympics.
  • Jon Koncak (’85), a 12-year NBA veteran who led the Mustang basketball team to two NCAA Tournaments and was a member of the gold medal-winning 1984 U.S. Olympic team.

The five will be honored at a dinner ceremony beginning at 7 p.m. May 7 at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas. Buy tickets online or call 214-768-4575. Read more.

Research Spotlight: Breaking the human speed limit

SMU sprinter Ebony CuingtonJamaican sprinter Usain Bolt‘s record-setting performances have unleashed a wave of interest in the ultimate limits to human running speed. A new study published Jan. 21, 2010, in the Journal of Applied Physiology offers intriguing insights into the biology and perhaps even the future of human running speed.

The newly published evidence identifies the critical variable imposing the biological limit to running speed, and offers an enticing view of how the biological limits might be pushed back beyond the nearly 28 miles per hour speeds achieved by Bolt to speeds of perhaps 35 or even 40 miles per hour.

The new paper, “The biological limits to running speed are imposed from the ground up,” was authored by Peter Weyand of SMU; Rosalind Sandell and Danille Prime, both formerly of Rice University; and Matthew Bundle of the University of Wyoming.

“The prevailing view that speed is limited by the force with which the limbs can strike the running surface is an eminently reasonable one,” says Weyand, associate professor of applied physiology and biomechanics in the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.

“If one considers that elite sprinters can apply peak forces of 800 to 1,000 pounds with a single limb during each sprinting step, it’s easy to believe that runners are probably operating at or near the force limits of their muscles and limbs,” he says. “However, our new data clearly show that this is not the case. Despite how large the running forces can be, we found that the limbs are capable of applying much greater ground forces than those present during top-speed forward running.”

The researchers found that the critical biological limit is actually imposed by time – specifically, the very brief periods of time available to apply force to the ground while sprinting. In elite sprinters, foot-ground contact times are less than one-tenth of one second, and peak ground forces occur within less than one-twentieth of one second of the first instant of foot-ground contact.

The researchers used a high-speed treadmill capable of attaining speeds greater than 40 miles per hour and of acquiring precise measurements of the forces applied to the surface with each footfall. They also had subjects perform at high speeds in different gaits. In addition to completing traditional top-speed forward running tests, subjects hopped on one leg and ran backward to their fastest possible speeds on the treadmill.

The unconventional tests were selected to examine the prevailing belief that human running speed is limited by how forcefully a runner’s limbs can strike the ground. However, the researchers found that the ground forces applied while hopping on one leg at top speed exceeded those applied during top-speed forward running by 30 percent or more, and that the forces generated by the active muscles within the limb were roughly 1.5 to 2 times greater in the one-legged hopping gait.

The new work shows that running speed limits are set by the contractile speed limits of the muscle fibers themselves, with fiber contractile speeds setting the limit on how quickly the runner’s limb can apply force to the running surface, the researchers say.

Read more and review international press coverage at the SMU Research blog

(Above, sophomore sprinter Ebony Cuington of SMU’s track and field team.)

Research Spotlight: Prosthetic legs gave sprinter advantage

Peter Weyand and Oscar PistoriusThe artificial lower limbs of double-amputee Olympic hopeful Oscar Pistorius give him a clear and major advantage over his competition, taking 10 seconds or more off what his 400-meter race time would be if his prosthesis behaved like intact limbs.

That’s the conclusion – released to the public for the first time – of human performance experts Peter Weyand of SMU and Matthew Bundle of the University of Wyoming.

The Weyand-Bundle conclusion is part of a written point-counterpoint style debate published online Nov. 19 in the Journal of Applied Physiology. Weyand and Bundle were the first two authors of the study publishing the test results acquired as part of the legal appeal process undertaken after the governing body of track and field – the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) – banned Pistorius from able-bodied track competitions, including the Olympics.

In banning Pistorius, the IAAF had concluded on the basis of other data that Pistorius’ J-shaped artificial lower limbs, called “Cheetahs” by the manufacturer, gave him a competitive advantage over able-bodied competitors. But the ban subsequently was overturned on appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The case has been considered groundbreaking for the eligibility of disabled athletes and the regulation of prosthetic technology in sport. Pistorius hopes to qualify for the 2012 Olympics.

The newly released conclusion from Weyand and Bundle analyzes the scientific evidence and quantifies the competitive advantage provided by Pistorius’ “Cheetah” limbs.

“Pistorius’ sprinting mechanics are anomalous, advantageous and directly attributable to how much lighter and springier his artificial limbs are. The blades enhance sprint running speeds by 15-30 percent,” says Weyand, associate professor of applied physiology and biomechanics in SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development. Below the knee, Pistorius’ limbs weigh less than half as much as the limbs of an able-bodied male sprinter.

(Above, SMU Professor Peter Weyand and sprinter Oscar Pistorius during testing. Photo by Jeff Fitlow, Rice University.)

Read more from the SMU Research blog

Hot Links: Mustangs take 3rd at C-USA Outdoor Championships

SMU thrower Simone du ToitThe track and field team finished 3rd at the 2009 Conference USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at the Hurricane Soccer and Track Stadium May 16. SMU finished the meet with 96 points, while Rice won with 131. Following the meet, first-year thrower Simone du Toit (right) was named Freshman of the Year. Read more.

First-year standout Marta Lesniak battled No. 4 seed and 2008 All-American Ani Mijacika of Clemson in the opening round of the 2009 NCAA Women’s Tennis Singles Championship, but fell in three sets (7-6, 4-6, 5-7) May 20 at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station, Texas. Lesniak and her doubles partner, freshman Aleksandra Malyarschikova, begin play for the doubles title May 21. Read more.

SMU golfer Kate AckersonGolfer Kate Ackerson (’09, left) has been named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District Team, as announced by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). This marks the third straight season she has been so honored.

A four-time All-C-USA golfer, Ackerson was also a unanimous selection to the 2009 C-USA Women’s Golf All-Academic Team. Read more.

Hot Links: C-USA Outdoor Championships begin May 14

SMU senior forward Mouhammad FayeThe track and field team will compete in the 2009 Conference USA Outdoor Track and Field Championship May 14-16 at the Hurricane Soccer and Track Stadium in Tulsa, Oklahoma. SMU enters the Championships with a national ranking of No. 23 from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA)

Sophomore Silje Fjørtoft, the 2008 C-USA cross country champion, will defend her 3,000m steeplechase and 5,000m titles this weekend. Last season, she became the first C-USA distance runner to claim both titles in the same outdoor season. Senior Christina Mueller currently holds the league’s 3rd-best distance of 51.13m (167-09) in the discus. She won the 2008 title with a throw of 54.26m (178-00). Currently, first-year teammate Simone du Toit tops the C-USA with a throw of 57.35m (188.02) that ranks 2nd in the nation. Read more.

In men’s basketball, senior forward Mouhammad Faye (left) has been named to the 2009 Senegal national team. The team will compete in the Zone 2 qualifying event of the 2009 African Championships May 15-20 in Mali. If the Senegalese advance from the Zone 2 qualifier, they will compete in the 25th African Championships Aug. 5-15 in Libya. Read more.

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