Davis, Bowleg leads the way at Championships

Sophomore thrower Ashley Davis broke the Southland Conference Indoor Championships' record with her throw of 54 feet, 6 inches. Courtesy of Sports Information 

The track and field team competed at the Southland Conference Indoor Championships last week in Birmingham, Alabama. The men’s team came in eighth with 41 points while the women’s team finished ninth with 38 points.

The two-day championships, held on Feb. 21 and Feb. 22, saw the team continue its progression in breaking multiple personal and school records.

Head Coach Corey Mistretta was pleased with the showing of his team.

“It was really exciting from a personal standpoint,” said Mistretta. “We took 36 kids at the championships, and 20 of them had personal bests. That’s really good. Our kids go and perform to the best of their abilities and reach all time high.”

Sophomore distance runner Grant O’Callaghan described the team’s performance during the championships.

“We had a lot of great performances across the events,” said O’Callaghan. “Most of the best performances came from veterans in the program, but we had a few people who were performing in their first conference meet who turned up.”

One of the main attractions of the event was sophomore thrower Ashley Davis’ display at the shot put event. Davis broke the championship record by recording a throw of 54 feet, 6 inches.

Senior Maverick Bowleg set his career-best time of 47.71 seconds in the 400-meters at his last collegiate meet. Bowleg described how he felt after winning a championship event.

“In September 2017, I said I wanted to win conference, and God presented me with the opportunity,” said Bowleg. “I know my body could’ve went faster if I changed up my race plan, but I’m thankful for the result.”

Bowleg explained how the team has continuously improved throughout the indoor season despite facing several injuries.

“There was a lot of unexpected injuries that hindered the team,” said Bowleg. “So, we never got to see how great the team could’ve done. But times were falling, throwers were throwing further, and continuous improvement says a lot for the team.”

O’Callaghan came in fourth in the 3000-meter category, setting his personal best at eight minutes 22.68 seconds. He discussed his progress at the event compared to his performance last year.

“Last year, I wasn’t even in the conversation to score for my events, so it was exciting to be talked about amongst the favorites coming in,” said O’Callaghan. “I had very high expectations going in and was kind of let down by how things turned out. I think I raced decently well but made some tactical errors that I will learn to correct with more experience.”

The team is composed of young student-athletes. O’Callaghan is excited by the prospect of the team’s future.

“The majority of our team are freshmen and sophomores, and that makes me excited for the future of this program,” said O’Callaghan. “I think we have a lot of talent, and the fact that we scored more points this year than last year with such a young squad is a good sign.” 

Bowleg pointed out the positives from the indoor championships. 

“Supporting teammates,” said Bowleg. “It’s a loud crowd at conference, so being able to hear your team chanting and screaming does a lot while in competition. We had people injured who still got out there and competed, and that says a lot about character, being selfless and scoring points for the team.”

With the commencement of outdoor season on Friday, March 2 at Tulane Early Bird Twilight, O’Callaghan gave his thoughts on the outdoor season.

“Even though I love indoor, it really just feels like a tuneup for outdoor to me,” said O’Callaghan. “In outdoor, we’re only gonna keep getting stronger and faster, and I'm really excited about it. We’re gonna be hungry, ready to go, and I think we’re going to have some real special performances.”

Bowleg described his plans after the end of his collegiate career.

“I’ll still be training with the team,” said Bowleg. “So, I’ll make sure they continue to work hard. However, I’ll be running unattached where I’ll get to race a few of them in the relay and have some fun with other SLU alumni.”