Two All-Americans Highlight Rebel Track
March 3, 2005
The foundation was laid for the Rebels' track and field future during the 2004 season, the team's second under head coach Barbara Ferrell-Edmonson. Three school records were broken, five individuals advanced to the outdoor NCAA West Regionals and two competed at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, including Christine Spence, who garnered All-America honors.
Those individual performances highlighted a solid team effort both indoor and outdoor last year.
UNLV finished in a tie for sixth place with New Mexico at the MWC Indoor Championships last season, as the Rebels scored 18 team points.
Spence, who missed all of the 2003 track seasons with an injury, finished second in the high jump at the league championship for the Rebels, clearing 5'-8.75". Kiyota Reed's fifth-place time of 8.69 in the 60 meter hurdles made her UNLV's only other athlete to finish in the top 10 at the championships.
Angie Turner also set the school record in the weight throw with a toss of 47'-3.00" at the Holiday Inn Invitational on Feb. 14, 2004.
UNLV rebounded from a poor showing at the 2003 MWC Outdoor Championship to post a sixth-place finish at last year's league meet, as two Rebels won individual titles to lead UNLV to 58 team points.
Spence's skills shined brightly at the league meet, as the junior won the high jump, clearing a UNLV and MWC record 6'-00.75". Spence also finished second in the heptathlon with 5,194 points and seventh in the 400 meter hurdles. Halima Decree won the 100 meters in a time of 11.60, which qualified the junior for the NCAA West Regional Meet.
Joining Spence and DeCree at the West Regional Meet was Reed and Miesha McClendon in the 100 meter hurdles and Tiffany Smith in the triple jump. From that group of five, Spence in the high jump and 400 meter hurdles and DeCree in the 100 meters qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
At the NCAAs, Spence earned All-American honors in the 400 meter hurdles, finishing in seventh place with a time of 57.20. That time was the second-fastest in UNLV history as Spence became the first Rebel to earn All-America honors since 2002.
Another highlight of the 2004 season came earlier in the year, when junior Michele Suszek broke the school record in the 3,000 meter steeplechase with a time of 11:03.28 at the MT Sac Relays.
For the second consecutive season the UNLV women's cross country advanced to the NCAA West Regionals, as the team continued to improve under the new leadership of Barbara Ferrell-Edmonson.
The Rebels were paced by junior Michele Suszek, who had three top-10 finishes, including a season-best 2nd place at the UNLV Invite. She covered the 5k course in a time of 18:48.00. Suszek was the team's highest placer at the MWC Cross Country Championships as she finished 31st with a time of 23:47.00. As a team UNLV finished in 8th place at the league championship with 234 points. Joining Suszek at the conference meet were Sarah Loughlin (48th, 25:16.00), Heather Walsh (50th, 25:38.00), Ashley Pierce (52nd, 25:50.00), Erin Hammond (53rd, 25:54.00), Samantha Serrano (55th, 27:48.00) and Monica Matute (56th, 28:39.00).
The Rebels then ran to a 26th-place finish at the NCAA West Regionals, as Suszek once again paced the UNLV squad. She crossed the finish line in a time of 21:56.0 to finish 48th.
Suszek capped her strong junior campaign by earning a spot on the MWC Academic All-Conference team. She was joined on the team by Rebel teammates Katie Hughes, Loughlin, Serrano and Walsh.