Three Named Indoor Track All-America First Team

COURTESY: Arkansas State 

NEW ORLEANS, La. (3/17/14) – The Arkansas State University track and field program can add three more names to its lengthy All-America honors list as seniors Sharika Nelvis and Richard Chavez along with freshman Roelf Pienaar have all earned first-team indoor track recogition by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

The 2014 All-America Indoor Track and Field Teams for NCAA Division I were announced this Monday (March 17) by the USTFCCCA.

The three A-State athletes claimed All-America recognition as a result of their noteworthy performances at the 2014 NCAA-I Indoor Track and Field Championships this past weekend (March 14-15) in Albuquerque, N.M.  Nelvis was crowned the national champion in the 60-meter hurdles while Chavez finished sixth place in the men’s shot put.  Pienaar registered a third-place showing in the men’s long jump.

The trio accomplished a feat never set previously in an indoor campaign at Arkansas State and established only two other times – the 1976 and 1988 outdoor seasons.

First-team All-America honors were given to those athletes who placed in the championship’s top eight in an event or were a member of an eight-person final.  Those individuals placing between ninth and 16th place received second-team laurels while 14 men and four women claimed honorable mention accolades.  USTFCCCA membership by a program is required to earn All-America awards.

Nelvis earned All-America plaudits for the third season in row by winning the 60-meter hurdles last Saturday (March 15) at the national meet in a conference and school-record 7.93 time.  The Memphis, Tenn., native became A-State’s first women’s individual national champion.  Nelvis was twice (2012-13) recognized as an indoor second-team All-America honoree by the USTFCCCA and is a three-time (2012-14) Sun Belt Conference (SBC) Most Outstanding Women’s Indoor Track Award recipient.

Chavez turned in a sixth-place throw of 63-10.50/19.47m this past Saturday (March 15) at the field event finals in his first indoor national championship appearance.  Chavez, who hails from Clovis, N.M., is A-State’s current indoor record holder in the shot put following his first-place 65-09.76/20.06m mark set in the season-opening ASU Kickoff Klassic (12/1).

Pienaar made his national championship debut a memorable one last Friday (March 14) in the long jump by tallying a personal-best 25-07.09/7.80 mark, which is the second-longest distance ever in A-State’s indoor annals.

The 1976 team featured three first-team All-America performers in Earl Bell (pole vault), Ed Preston (200-meter dash), and William Tate (long jump).  A-State would boast three more All-America First Teamers in 1988 with William Beasley (triple jump), Monica Klebe (intermdiate hurdles), and Kelly Riley (pole vault) being afforded such honors.