NEW ORLEANS, La. - Talk about saving the best for last, Alabama A&M sophomore Nathan Stephens completed an improbable comeback Friday at the 2010 SWAC Track & Field Championships making up 223 points in the final event of the decathlon to become the Bulldogs' first SWAC champion in the event since Patrick Lockhart won back-to-back titles in 2003 and 2004.
Stephens won the 1,500 meters by nearly 40 seconds over Texas Southern's Clifton Swift with a time of 4:32.50 to overtake the lead in the final event. Swift, who led the two-day event at the midway point by a seemingly insurmountable 585 points, finished second with 6,236 total points to Stephens' 6,321.
"That was awesome. We have had kids (Lockhart) win the decathlon, but never in the fashion that Nathan just did. I haven't had that feeling in a long time. His parents are here, and his team was behind him all the way," Alabama A&M head coach Kim Seals said. "He did a great job of staying within striking distance and then capitalizing on the events where he is strong. All the hard work is starting to pay off."
The 1,500 meter victory was just the second event that Stephens won in the 10-event competition. Earlier in day two, he won the discus with a throw of 120-00 feet. The comeback over Swift started with the day's first event when Stephens made up 237 points in the 100 meter hurdles with a second-place time of :15.66.
Another Bulldog, Jason Dixon, finished 8th in the decathlon with 4,313 points to earn all-SWAC honors. Ciera Jackson earned all-SWAC honors as well with a 7th place finish in the women's heptathlon with 3,762 points.