Salukis rank among top in NCAA indoor track and field

By Gus Bode

The Saluki track and field team only sent three players to the NCAA indoor track and field tournament, but that was all it needed to make an impression nationally.

Senior jumper Bianca Stuart and sophomore throwers Gwen Berry and Sasha Leeth each finished among the nation’s top 20 athletes in their respective events. Stuart finished fourth in the long jump with a final leap of 21 feet, 2 inches to lead the way.

Head coach Connie Price-Smith said she was pleased with the way her team stayed calm while performing on a large stage, Texas A&M’s Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium.


‘Walking into that building is incredible, you can be pretty awestruck by it if you’re not ready,’ Price-Smith said.’ ‘I am just glad that they didn’t finish last.’

Stuart entered the tournament as the only Saluki to have appeared at the championships before, having finished 14th in the long jump last year.’ Price-Smith said she believed that experience helped her this year.

Stuart said the key to her performance was just to relax and do what she usually does.

‘I just tried to stay relaxed and not think about it too much,’ Stuart said.’ ‘Go out there and give it all I got.’

Berry and Leeth finished 11th and 16th in the weight throw, respectively.’ Berry threw 62 feet, 10 inches, while Leeth threw 56 feet, 6 and three-fourth inches.

The two Saluki throwers said they thought they could have performed better, especially Leeth, who was a late medical admission to the championship.

‘I hadn’t been training as if I was going to compete this weekend, so my body wasn’t in shape to throw,’ Leeth said.’ ‘Overall, it just wasn’t that good for me.’


Berry admitted that there were some initial jitters as she performed in her first national championships.

‘I was really nervous, I am not going to lie,’ Berry said.’ ‘The whole thing was a good experience, though.’