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.

Hot Links: Women’s tennis begins NCAA title drive May 9

SMU tennis player Marta LesniakForty-six SMU student-athletes have earned the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Medal during the 2008-09 academic year. They are among 394 medal winners leaguewide, each of whom has achieved a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.75 or better. The 46 Academic Medal winners represent an increase of almost 25 percent for SMU, which had 37 medal-winners a year ago. See the complete list of winners here.

The No. 23 and Conference USA champion women’s tennis team will face No. 38 Texas A&M in the first round of the 2009 NCAA Championships at 11 a.m. May 9 at the Baylor Tennis Center in Waco. First-year player Marta Lesniak (No. 59, right) will compete for the individual title as well as the doubles championship with partner Aleksandra Malyarchikova, also a first-year player. Currently C-USA’s top-ranked doubles team at No. 32, Lesniak and Malyarchikova went undefeated in 13 matches this spring. Read more.

SMU thrower Simone du ToitFirst-year thrower Simone du Toit (left) was named the Conference USA Outdoor Track and Field Athlete of the Week for the week of May 4, 2009. She posted the second-longest throw in the nation this season with a winning discus toss of 57.35m (188-02.0) at the Mean Green Twilight April 30, setting a school and stadium record and surpassing the NCAA Regional standard. Read more.

Meanwhile, the entire track and field team jumped 10 spots to a No. 23 ranking in this week’s U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) outdoor track and field poll. Three standouts combine to rank in the nation’s top 15 in five different events: Freshman Simone du Toit, ranked 2nd in the discus and 10th in the shot put; sophomore Silje Fjørtoft, ranked 3rd in the steeplechase and 12th in the 5,000m; and first-year competitor Viktoria Leks, ranked 15th in the high jump. Read more.

The men’s basketball team will be one of eight to play in the inaugural Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii, Dec. 22-25, 2009, as announced by ESPN Regional Television, Inc. The field includes Hawaii, College of Charleston, Saint Mary’s (California), UNLV, USC, Western Michigan and one team to be determined. The games will be played Dec. 22, 23 and 25 at the Stan Sheriff Center. This will be the Mustangs’ fourth trip to Honolulu for a tournament, but the first since the 1987-88 season. Read more.

Hot Links: Fjørtoft sets world’s fastest time at Stanford Invitational

SMU distance runner Silje FjortoftSophomore distance runner Silje Fjørtoft (left) won the 3,000-meter steeplechase in the fastest time run by any woman in the world this year at the 2009 Stanford Invitational March 27. Racing in a field of elite distance specialists, including some of the fastest in the world, she took the title in 9:56.73. Fjørtoft was named Conference USA Co-Athlete of the Week March 31 with UCF thrower Kelsey Poljansek. The Mustang cross-country team will compete April 2-4 at the 2009 Texas Relays in Austin. Read more.

Read more about Silje from the April 1, 2009 Daily Campus

Senior Kseniia Tokarieva earned Conference USA Player of the Week honors in women’s tennis March 31, 2009. She led the No. 24 Mustangs to a 5-0 winning streak during the previous week, defeating UALR, No. 28 DePaul, No. 59 Nevada, Louisville and No. 66 Wichita State. Tokarieva went 3-0 at No. 3 doubles and 2-0 at No. 6 singles. Currently, she is tied in 7th place for SMU career doubles victories with 55. Read more.

Former SMU men's soccer coach Jim BenedekTwo Mustang football games for 2009 have been slated for national television broadcasts. The annual State Farm DFW Duel – Battle for the Iron Skillet against TCU will be televised on The Mtn. with a 7 p.m. kickoff Oct. 3, and the SMU-Houston game will be aired on CBS College Sports at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 24, starting at 6:30 p.m. In addition, due to a scheduling conflict, the SMU-Tulane game will now be played on Nov. 2. Read more.

A memorial service for Jim Benedek (right), the first soccer coach in SMU history, will be held at 11 a.m. April 4 at Moody Coliseum. A reception will take place afterward from 1-3 p.m. at Campisi’s Egyptian Restaurant on Mockingbird Lane. Benedek, who died March 30, coached the Mustang men for their first 9 seasons, 1975-83. He led the team to a 129-31-15 record and its first three NCAA Tournament appearances in 1979, 1980 and 1983. His .765 winning percentage remains the highest in school history. Read more.