Pienaar & Chavez at NCAA Championship

After an indoor season that saw the Arkansas State Men's Track & Field team win a Sun Belt Conference title, Sophomore Roelf Pienaar and Senior Richie Chavez knew they had to refocus.

The two will represent Arkansas State at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championship meet.

"We are proud of Roelf and Richie for all their accomplishments this year and capping off the indoor season with a trip to the national championship," A-State head coach Jim Patchell said. "This is the second year in a row for these two so they have experience competing at the highest level and I know that they will compete well."

Pienaar had impressive showings in the Long and Triple Jump, while Chavez chalked up nice performances in the Shot Put and Weight Throw. While the regular season is important, the two incredible have bigger things in mind.

Pienaar and Chavez return to the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championship in Fayetteville after placing 3rd and 6th last year, respectively. Each has improved their personal best marks and have been preparing for another crack at the national meet.

Chavez enters the championship meet ranked No. 10 in the shot put with a throw of 19.61m (64-4.00). Chavez won the shot put competition at the Sun Belt Championships with his throw, an SBC Championship record. Ryan Crouser of Texas has the top-ranked throw of the year, 21.14m (69-4.25). Chavez is scheduled to compete on Saturday at 6:30 p.m.

Asked about the competition in the shot put Richie Chavez said, "This is the deepest field in awhile, it's up for grabs. Anyone could win it."

Pienaar enters the championship meet with the third-best mark in the long jump. Pienaar jumped an A-State and Sun Belt record of 7.97m (26-1.75) at the Don Kirby Open and Elite last month. He finished second at the Sun Belt Championships with a jump of 7.83m (25-8.25). Jarrion Lawson of Arkansas is the top-ranked individual heading into the meet with a jump of 8.03m (26-4.25) with Marquis Dendy of Florida a close second with a mark of 8.02m (26-3.75). The long jump competition is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Friday.

AState Sports Information contributed to this report