Courtesy University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Athletics Department
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Senior track sensation Ninfa Barnard of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff captured top runner honors here during the Southwestern Athletic Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships at the Birmingham Crossplex.
Barnard single-handedly scored 30 of the Lady Lions’ 54 points, which were good enough to give the women’s team a fourth place finish as Alabama State University, 218 points, won the title for a fourth straight year. Prairie View A&M University, 155, and Southern University, 58, finished just ahead of the Lady Lions.
Rounding out the final women’s standings were Texas Southern University with 52 points, Mississippi Valley State University, 43, Jackson State University, 18, Alabama A&M University, 15, and Grambling State University, 10.
Barnard turned in spectacular performances in three events, setting new SWAC indoor championship records in the 3,000 meters with a time of 10:05.98 and in the 800 meters with a time of 2:13.23. She also won the mile run after clocking 5:05.91 in that event.
“Ninfa did an outstanding job for us,” said UAPB head coach Christopher McCoy. “The two records she broke were held by former UAPB athletes. She’ll also do well during the outdoor season.”
The UAPB Golden Lions, meanwhile, settled for eighth place in the men’s championship with 61 points. The two-time defending champion Grambling State Tigers were dethroned by the Prairie View A&M Panthers, who won their first indoor crown since 2008 with 132 points. GSU finished second with 89 points.
Rounding out the men’s standings were Texas Southern with 80 points, Jackson State, 79.5, Mississippi Valley State, 78, Southern, 76, Alabama State, 61, UAPB, 17, and Alabama A&M, 10.5.
The men’s team’s best finishes came in the distance medley relay (fourth at 10:45.87) and the mile run, where Matthew Agard came in fifth with a time of 4:26.94.
McCoy said he thinks both of his squad are making progress.
“On both sides, I think we did pretty good, compared to last year,” noted McCoy. “We’re making strides because we placed in areas that we didn’t score any points in last year. I can see us getting to a point where we can win championships.”