CLINTON, MS – The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff placed four runners in the top 20 to bring home the 2018 Southwestern Athletic Conference Men’s Cross Country title, their fist since 1993.

The Golden Lions tallied 62 points, beating Prairie View A&M. The Panthers finished second for consecutive seasons, scoring 76 points. Grambling State finished third with 78 points. Wade Garner led the way, finishing fourth with a time of 26:20.3 Laurel Heath took 10th overall with a time of 26:50.44.

Rounding out the standings were Southern (98), Jackson State (102), Texas Southern (120), Alabama State (157), Mississippi Valley (195) and Alcorn State (220).

Vincent Langat bested the field with a time of 25:11:32 to earn the 2018 SWAC Men’s Cross Country Athlete of the Year award for the second year in a row. Texas Southern’s Hilary Maiyo was close behind, claiming second (25:20.91), and Lavante Williams finished third (25:28.57).

UAPB Coach Chris McCoy was named SWAC Men’s Cross Country Coach of the Year.

 

The full All-SWAC list of athletes is below:

First-Team All-SWAC Men’s Cross Country

Vincent Langat (Jackson State; SWAC Men’s XC Runner of the Year)

Hilary Maiyo (Texas Southern)

Levante Williams (Prairie View A&M)

Wade Garner (UAPB)

Henry Kiplagat (Jackson State)

Second-Team All-SWAC Men’s Cross Country

Jorge Martinez (Texas Southern)

Worthington Moore (Prairie View A&M)

Matthew Kibet (Alabama State)

Hassan Chepkwony (Grambling)

Laural Heath (UAPB)

Duer Sharp.

BIRMINGHAM, AL – The long-serving commissioner of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) which serves historically black member institutions, Duer Sharp, has resigned this past Thursday amid rumors of potential financial issues and concern among member school presidents about the direction of the conference under his leadership.

According to The Advocate, The SWAC will hold its winter meetings in Houston, where school presidents and chancellors met Thursday morning. Southern director of athletics Roman Banks stated that the council of presidents accepted Sharp’s resignation. But it is unsure whether Sharp’s resignation is effective immediately, or if he will stay in his post throughout the remainder of his contract, which is set to expire this summer.

As of today, the SWAC office has yet to issue a statement regarding Sharp’s future.

Banks stated that there was no official record of who was or was not displeased with Sharp’s performance as commissioner. But Banks said, there was a unanimous concern” about the SWAC stability and the direction the league was taking.

“Also among the concerns was a lack of sponsorships,” Banks said, which “prompted us (Southern) to look around at other leagues.”

 Sharp started with the conference as assistant commissioner in 2004 and has served as commissioner since 2008. Under he leadership, the league secured a spot in the Celebration Bowl opposite the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champion, and it also orchestrated the move of the league’s football and basketball conference championships to Houston in 2013.
Earlier this year, the SWAC announced that this year’s football conference championship game would be its last.

The decision is believed to be related to the high cost of hosting the game at NRG Stadium in Houston, the home of the Houston Texans. And when combined with an earlier decision to change the league’s scheduling format from a nine-game round-robin schedule to a seven-game schedule, which opened the door for potential chaos when it came to determining a sole champion to represent the SWAC in the Celebration Bowl.

“By focusing on the Celebration Bowl, we can continue to grow (it) as an HBCU classic for the teams and fans of both conferences and for HBCU football nationally,” Sharp said in June.

 Banks said SWAC athletics directors “unanimously agreed” to look at re-instituting the SWAC championship game next season when the conference will still operate with a seven-game schedule

“We need to be fair,” Banks said. “We need to make sure it’s settled on the field.”