NSU\'s Hayward earns SLC\'s Outstanding Track man award

TRACK AND FIELD: Demons' junior All-America won the 100 in 10.30 at the SLC championships

NATCHITOCHES — Northwestern State All-America sprinter Ravyn Hayward has been voted the Outstanding Track Performer in the men’s division of the 2007 Southland Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships held last weekend in Nacogdoches, Texas.

Hayward scored 20 points with a win in the 100 meters, a second place in the 200 and the anchor leg on the Demons’ second-place 4x100 meter relay team. Head coaches from the SLC’s 12 member institutions voted on an array of awards following the conference meet and the league office announced the recipients Wednesday.

In his specialty, the 100, Hayward won by charging from way back in the pack of eight finalists over the final half of the race to win the 100 in 10.30, just 0.01 behind his season-best that ranks sixth nationally.

Hayward, a junior Tyler, Texas, served notice he was ready to win with a sensational anchor leg on the Demons’ 4x100 meter relay team, helping NSU overcome a jumbled exchange earlier in the race with a furious charge from the middle of the pack to nearly overtake the winning Texas-Arlington team. UTA survived with a 40.14 time while Hayward’s leg gave the Demons a season-best 40.18 time, an 0.20 improvement over their season best.

That left onlookers anticipating Hayward’s turn in the 100 meter final with the top three finishers, including defending champ Jay Connaughton of UTA, back from last year.

Hayward kicked into a higher gear midway through the race and dominated the last 25 meters, winning in 10.30, just one-hundredth off his season’s best 10.29 that ranks sixth nationally. UTA’s Coby Morrison took second at 10.44, with Connaughton fourth at 10.48.

Hayward’s late kick nearly earned him the sprint sweep an hour later, but Connaughton’s blazing start and strong finishing kick held off the fast-closing Demon in the 200 meters. The UTA star ran a season-best 20.76 while Hayward was next at 20.90, 0.11 behind his career best that ranked 13th nationally and tops in the league entering the meet.

Hayward will next run in the NCAA Mideast Regional Championships May 25-26