MESA, Ariz. – The South Plains College Texan and Lady Texan track and field teams are scheduled to compete at the NJCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Mesa, Ariz., beginning Thursday, May 15 where the Texans seek their eighth consecutive outdoor team title and the Lady Texans will compete for their fifth in six years.
Both men's and women's track and field teams have had solid seasons as they enter the final meet of the year. The Texans have set two school records and lead the nation in four events and also have several athletes ranked in the top eight of their respective events. The Lady Texans have also set two school marks during the season, including the 4x100-meter relay nearly two weeks ago at Texas Tech, and have athletes entering the national meet leading in four events.
If the Texan men can pull off an eighth straight team championship, they will then be set up to tie Blinn College for the all-time streak of nine next year at the 2015 championship meet.
If the Texans are going to win their eighth straight team title, they are going to have to score big in this area where they have three athletes ranked in the top five in the 100; two of the top three in the 200; and three of the top seven in the 400. They also lead the nation in the 4x100- and 4x400-meter relay.
Ahmed Ali and Odean Skeen are both expected to compete for the national championship in the 100-meter dash with teammate Lestrod Roland also right in the mix. Roland leads the nation in the 200-meter dash with his school record performance of 20.19 and will be joined in the event by Renard Howell and Ali.
In the 400-meter dash, Jereem Richards' time of 46.15 seconds is second in the event with Steven Gayle entering fourth at 46.28. Fred Kerley's best time of 46.48 seconds ranks seventh, though anything can happen in the one-lap event.
The Lady Texans are also very strong in the speed events. Shun-Shauna Mason, Diamond Gause and Eboni Cobi rank third, fifth, and seventh, respectively, in the 100-meter dash while Gause and Cobi enter sixth and seventh in the 200.
The 400-meter dash is where the Lady Texans hope to strike big as Chrisann Gordon and Dominique Williams look for a 1-2 sweep of the event.
Like the Texans, the SPC women also lead the nation in the 4x100- and 4x400-meter relay events.
The 400-meter hurdles look to be another huge event for both the Texans and Lady Texans. Kyle Robinson and Kadeem Williams rank second and third in the event and George Flaviano hopes to run his way in to the final as he enters ninth. Robinson also looks to score for the Texans in the 110-meter hurdles.
Janeil McDonald will look to add points in the 100-meter hurdles.
The trio of Isaac Clark, Jacob Clark, and Mike Waller could make the 800-meter run a lethal event for South Plains College – and event an SPC athlete has won four of the last five seasons. Twin brothers Isaac and Jacob have the third and fourth quickest times and Waller ranks sixth. However, only 1.56 seconds separates the top time and the eighth quickest time.
Clark, Clark, Waller and probably Anderson Charles will make up the 4x800-meter relay with high expectations to win. On March 27, these four athletes teamed up to run 7:32.03, the fastest time in the nation.
On the women's side, Chrisann Gordon leads the field in the 800-meter run by nearly seven seconds and is joined by defending 800- and 1500-meter champion Desreen Montague. Gordon will have her hands full as she tries to sweep the 400- and 800-meter events, a feat former Lady Texan Natoya Goule pulled off in 2011.
Montague ranks only 11th entering the 1500 but, as previously mentioned, is the defending champion in both events and must be considered a threat to repeat, providing valuable points for the Lady Texans.
Though neither the Texans nor Lady Texans have a national leader in this area, both groups are deep and expected to score valuable points. Shawn Johnson and Shaquan Burris both rank second in the men's and women's high jump.
In the men's triple jump, Elton Walcott leads three Texans ranked in the top six. The SPC men and women look for athletes to step up and score in the long jump.
The javelin throw is the lone throwing competition South Plains College will compete in. The Lady Texans have three that are scoring threats with Britni Jo Smith entering with the second best mark and Marlena Lopez and Ashley Johnson entering with the fifth and eighth best.
Reid Thormaehlen must improve upon his best mark of the season to fit inside the top eight as he has the 16th best throw of the men's field.