ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Samford track and field standouts Tray Oates and former Calhoun High standout Keyth Fightmaster both turned in top-10 outings at the 2018 USA Track & Field (USATF) Indoor Championships on Saturday as the nation’s best athletes gathered at the Albuquerque Convention Center to vie for a spot on Team USATF for the Indoor World Championships in Birmingham, United Kingdom.
Oates earned a fourth-place finish in the pole vault and cleared a height of 5.63 meters, which translates to 18-feet, 5.5 inches. The Bulldogs’ senior proved to be the only collegiate competitor in the event. The rest of the field was comprised of professionals or unattached athletes.
Oates proved to be one of only five competitors in the event to advance to the fourth round of attempts. Scott Houston, of the Shore Athletic Club, placed first with a height cleared of 5.83 meters, or 19-feet, 1.5 inches.
Samford’s Fightmaster competed in the high jump Saturday and cleared a mark of 2.14 meters to finish eighth in the meet. He also proved to be the only collegiate competitor in the event, joining 11 either professionals or unattached jumpers.
Erick Kynard, who is a member of Brand Jordan, won the high jump with a leap of 2.3 meters, or 7-feet, 6.5 inches.
Oates, Fightmaster and the Samford University track and field teams will next be in action Feb. 23-24, as they travel to Lexington, Virginia, to compete in the highly-anticipated 2018 SoCon Indoor Championships to be held at VMI.
In other recent track and field news:
Rhea finishes fifth in pole vault for Aquinas
The No.7-ranked Aquinas men’s indoor track and field team earned a runner-up finish at the WHAC Championships in the Alksnis Athletics & Recreation Building on Saturday (Feb. 17). AQ had a pair of conference champions emerge on Saturday, with a number of runner-up individual performances.
Aquinas scored 156 points on Saturday, finishing behind only #1 nationally Indiana Tech (259 points). #4 Cornerstone was third with 106 points and #25 Siena Heights placed fourth with 66 points. Madonna (63 points) was fifth, while Concordia (35) was sixth.
The Saints captured a pair of conference titles, with Curtis Bell (SR/Coleman, Michigan) notching the pole vault WHAC championship and Will Haran (SO/Linden, Michigan) also doing so in the 600 meter.
Bell won the pole vault conference title with a leap of 5.10 meters. His efforts allowed him to win Performance of the Meet, which tied his season-best effort. That is the highest pole vault in the NAIA this season.
The Saints also scored in spots five through eight in the event, as former Calhoun High standout John Rhea (FR) was fifth (4.70m), Scott Berzley (JR/Coopersville, Michigan) placed sixth (4.60m), Aaron Hodges (SR/Cadillac, Michigan) was in seventh (4.35m), and Assad Wilson (SR/South Haven, Michigan) in eighth (4.35m).