*Denotes national qualifying mark
LUBBOCK — The South Plains College men's and women's track and field teams competed in their final regular season meet before nationals on Friday at the Texas Tech Matador Qualifier as the Texas Tech Sports Performance Center.
Ranked third in the latest national polls, the Texans have acquired 43 national qualifying marks to date. The Lady Texans earned a No. 4 national ranking after four meets and have qualified 28 athletes for the 2018 NJCAA Indoor National Championships which will be held at the Texas Tech Sports Performance Center March 2-3.
"We did what we needed to do, and we had a couple events where we needed to qualify people, and for the most part we were able to get that done today," South Plains head coach Erik Vance said. "We added a couple more qualifiers we needed to have, and we got into the facility and got some practice and all in all I was very pleased with what we were able to do."
Andre Edwards and Keion Sutton placed inside the top 10 in the men's 60 meters as Edwards ran a 6.83* and Sutton went 6.85*. Sophomore Jordan Atkinson posted the 10th fastest time in the country in the men's 200 with a 21.48*. The Texans competed in the 600 meters for the first time this season and didn't disappoint as three athletes placed in the top seven. Montel Hood took second with a 1:19.65*, followed by Ian Gonzales' mark of 1:20.82, good enough for sixth, and Dekeryea Freeman placed seventh with a 1:21.15*.
Freshman Andrew Bosquez set a new personal best in the men's 1000 meters, posting the 12th fastest time in the country with a 2:23.53*. Freshman Ulises Cardoza set a new personal best with a 2:34.97*, placing fifth overall, while sophomore Felix Kosgei ran a 2:35.34* to earn a sixth place overall finish.
South Plains' Benjamin Ronoh went 4:26.96* to take seventh in the men's mile, while Filmon Beyene and Jesse Madrid placed sixth and seventh in the men's 3000, as Beyene ran a 9:05.29 and Madrid posted a time of 9:13.03. William Watson, who ranks fourth in the country in the men's 60 hurdles with a 7.91, recorded at the Tyson Invitational on Feb. 9, placed second overall Friday with a 7.98*.
The Texans' 4x400 relay team made up of Atkinson, Watson, Rayan Holmes and Hood took first on Friday with a 3:12.87*. Their time of 3:12.40 on Jan. 26 at the Texas Tech Red and Black Open ranks fourth in the country to date. Freshman Zach Marshall set a personal best in the men's high jump, clearing 6' 9.5"* on his third attempt, placing second overall and posted the seventh best jump in the country.
Freshman Parker Wood, who ranks third in the country in the men's pole vault with a clearance of 15' 7.75" set on Feb. 2 at the Charlie Thomas Invitational, placed third with a mark of 15' 1"*. Freshman Danylo Molchanov set a new personal best and recorded the second-best jump in the country in the men's triple jump, soaring 49' 9"* on his fourth attempt, earning a first-place overall finish. Markim Felix recorded the 10th best throw in the men's shot put, setting a new personal best with a mark of 50' 10.25"*.
"Danylo just continues to get better, and he just seems to continue working through any troubles he might have and gets better every time he goes out," Vance said. "Markim improved his shot put mark, and he still has that big one he's hiding out there for us. For a javelin thrower, he has the chance to be a big player in the indoor shot put which is extremely impressive."
South Plains' Natassha McDonald, who posted the seventh fastest time in the country in the women's 200 meters on Feb. 2 with a 24.42, placed eighth overall on Friday with a time of 24.59*. Also competing in the 600 meters for the first time this season, sophomore Ashley Hughes ran a 1:38.62*, good enough for fifth. Freshman Janiel Moore wasn't far behind as she went 1:39.37* to take seventh. Sophomore Seselia Dala set a personal best in the women's 1000 meters, posting the fourth fastest time in the country with a 3:02.78*. Freshman Patrice Moody recorded the eighth fastest mark in the country in the women's 60 hurdles, crossing the line at 8.68*, placing ninth overall.
Freshman Jelena Rowe, who entered Friday ranked first in the country with a mark of 6' 0.5" set on Feb. 2 in College Station, placed first as she cleared 5' 11.5"*. Sophomore Bosibori Mosongo set a new personal best and recorded the ninth-best mark in the country in the high jump, clearing 5' 3.75"* on her third attempt.
Ranked second in the country in the women's long jump with a mark of 19' 8", freshman Ruth Usoro cleared 18' 7"* Friday on her third attempt, placing third overall. Cha'Kaylin Gilbert set a new personal best as she recorded the ninth-best mark in the country in the long jump, soaring 18' 4.25"* on her final attempt, good enough for fourth place.
"I really feel like we were able to get done everything we needed to," Vance said. "I definitely don't think I'll look back at our indoor season and think we missed qualifying here or we missed there because at the end of the day we put ourselves in position to be competitive when it comes time to compete at indoor nationals."