HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - After wrapping up the outdoor regular season with the Southern Miss Open two weeks ago, Southern Miss track and field is ready for the Conference USA Outdoor Championships.
Held on the campus of UTEP in El Paso, Texas, the C-USA Championships run Thursday through Sunday.
Both the USM men's and women's teams hope to finish the outdoor season strong while several Golden Eagles look to qualify individually for the NCAA Outdoor Track Championships.
"Without a win, loss record in track and field, we're competing for one meet," said Southern Miss Track & Field coach Jon Stuart. "One meet indoors, one meet outdoors. The conference championship means everything so we lay it on the line for this one meet."
Several Southern Miss athletes own conference-best marks this season.
Junior Brashe Wood's shot put of 15.81 meters ranks first in the C-USA. USM senior Emron Gibbs' javelin throw of 70.27 meters is tops among the conference.
A native of the Caribbean country Grenada, Gibbs placed fourth at the 2016 NCAA Championships with a javelin throw of 74.63 meters. With a career-best throw of 75.72 meters, Gibbs hopes to make a return trip to Eugene, Oregon for the 2017 NCAAs.
"The goal is always to win," Gibbs said. "But for me, it's not just winning. I got to get the distance. So I'll be satisfied with a bigger distance [at the C-USA Outdoor Championships]."
A number of Golden Eagles have set USM records during the 2017 season.
Senior Dana Dillistone's 5000 meter run of 16:44.12 in April marked a new school record. The Oak Grove alum's time ranks fourth in the C-USA.
At the Southern Miss Open, freshman Nadia Maffo set a new USM record in the hammer throw with a toss of 62.04 meters. The conference-best mark earned Maffo C-USA female athlete of the week honors.
"I'm just going to give my best," said Maffo, when asked about her goals for the C-USA championships. "As always, I'm just going to try to do what I'm doing right now in practice."
The USM men's 4x100-meter relay team sprinted to a new school record at the Southern Miss Open.
The team comprised of Cra'vorkian Carson, Alexander Richemond, Curtis Walker and Jamad Smith finished with a time of 40.04 seconds, second in the C-USA only to Western Kentucky's relay of 38.91 seconds.
The C-USA champion in the indoor 60 meter, Carson chases the 4x100 meter, 100 meter and 200 meter crowns at the C-USA outdoor championships.
The Tylertown native's 100m (10.38 seconds) and 200m (20.70 seconds) times place him second and third, respectively, in the conference.
"The key is going to be to finish my race," Carson said. "And just leave everything on the track. Give it all I got, that's the key to the race."