Local News


UNLV women's track survives theft to win chamionship

Posted at 11:29 PM, Mar 07, 2018

They trained so diligently, they could practically see the championship rings on their fingers.

"We couldn't wait to get ring size, we couldn't wait to go and win," said sprinter Drea Austin, a senior.

UNLV women’s track and field were ready to win the Mountain West Conference Indoor Championship.

"We train to compete and we compete to win," said Destiny Smith Barnette, a junior who returned from a back injury that kept her out for three months. “I had about three or four weeks if training and came back just in time to help my team."

Then, as the team was sitting down for dinner the day before the big race in Albuquerque, they get news so awful it was enough to dull anyone's competitive edge.

“Literally, about 10 minutes after we sat down somebody runs in and tells us our vans are getting broken into," said Head Coach Yvonne Wade.

Crooks smashed the windows and stole their gear. "They took my flats and spikes," said Smith Barnette.

“I was a little bummed. I felt like that would've stunted us from winning," Austin added.

Wade called the director of athletic equipment, Tausha Smith, who grabbed spare gear and rushed to the rescue, hopping on the next flight to Albuquerque. "We packed two large bags," Smith said. "I got up the next morning at the airport at 6 and off I go."

The equipment manager saved the game. “It's like Christmas,” Austin said. “She has two suitcases full of backpacks, spikes, everything."

“Whatever it took to get the job done," Smith said.

UNLV track won their first Mountain West Conference Championship in 25 years. "It was a miracle... It feels amazing," said Wade.