Lone Star Conference champions: WTAMU’s track and field team clocking milestones

Photo of the seating area and anchor lane with hurdles of the track stadium

The West Texas A&M University’s track and field team are the 2021 Lone Star Conference (LSC) champions after competing in Lubbock, Texas. The Buffs, with a collective point of 198 defeated 2nd and 3rd places, Angelo State University and Texas A&M University by a whopping 80 points to emerge champions. The Lady Buffs also won the LSC championship with a total of 234.5 points.

The team is sectioned into sprints, long distances, throws and the jumps. The team is led by coach Matthew Stewart, assisted by coaches Ryan Gibson, Jake Krolick and Randy Denham. These notable names are assisted by two volunteer coaches: Abraham Seaneke and Jimmie Vaughn. Altogether, these coaches are a huge part of their athletes’ success stories.

“My experience here in WT so far has been great for me, I had a great experience in cross country, and I am hoping to have a great experience indoor and outdoor,” said Florence Uwajeneza, a 5000-to-10,000-meter runner. “I have a great coach who gives me a lot of mileage and so far, I’ve been strong and healthy, so I am ready.”

The Buffs won their first LSC title in 2014 and copped their second title in 2019. The Lady Buffs on the other hand, have been a strong force to contend with, as they have been the LSC defending champions since 2014. The team also won the 2017 outdoor trophy.

“It’s not hard, as long as you make time for everything because you have practice at a certain time and then whatever time you don’t have classes, you can look forward to doing your assignments,” said Butari Rugenerwa, an 800-meter runner. “But sometimes it does become a lot, so you just always have to find a way to make sure you make everything fit.”

12 Buffs and Lady Buffs have made qualifications for this year’s Division II NCAA championship in Birmingham, Alabama which is to take place from March 11-13. Benjamin Azamati and Desmond Aryee will take on the 60-meter dash, with the former coupling it up with the 200 meters. Tyrin Lewis and Jahmaal Wilson will both compete in the 60-meter hurdles as well. Butare Rugenerwa and Arnaud Taki both plan to take on the 800 meters race.

“It has its ups and downs, but I really prevailed this last meet at really throwing 16.31 and I plan on throwing 17 meters at nationals,” said Zada Swoopes, a discus, shot-put, hammer and weight thrower. “I really put one hundred and ten percent in anything that I do, just making sure that I perfect my form and technique, making sure that I can do the best that I can do, and just having fun.”

The Lady Buffs team consists of Raquel Chavez, Luisa Neumann, Nyia Sena and Eleonora Curtabbi running in the distance medley relay. Flore Gracia, Miriam Zanovello and Taylor Nelloms also compete in the triple jumps, Zada Swoopes in the shot-put event and Florence Uwajeneza competing in the 5000 and 10,000-meters races.

“I think for us it’s just the process and just trying to get better each day and trying to improve, and I really don’t think about anything beyond what we need to do today to get better and then we really try to just do what we’ve always done and not overdo anything,” said Matthew Stewart, head coach of the team. “It’s just the same thing we’ve been doing all year. Just keep everything relaxed, have fun. It’s supposed to be fun and do our best and that’s all you can do at the end of the day- do your best and execute to the best of your ability.”

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