LEVELLAND — Championship weekend.
The South Plains College men's and women's track and field teams will look to add to the trophy case this weekend at the 2018 NJCAA Indoor National Championships at the Texas Tech Sports Performance Center March 2-3.
The Texans have ascended to the top of the USTFCCCA national rankings and will enter the weekend ranked first in the country. Led by head coach Erik Vance, the Texans have amassed 15 top 10 national marks in 12 different events.
"The preparation is done, and we will work on some logistics, but as far as our training goes, we've done all we can do," Vance said. "We will work to sharpen some things up, but at the end of the day, it was the work we put in throughout the indoor season that set us up to be where we are. I think our athletes are ready, I think they showed that their last time out, and they're mentally and physically ready to compete."
Montel Hood's 1:19.65 in the men's 600 meters at the Texas Tech Matador Qualifier on Feb. 16 ranks as the fifth fastest time in the NJCAA. Freshman Andrew Bosquez ranks sixth at the NJCAA level in the men's mile run with a 4:14.94, ran at the Charlie Thomas Invitational on Feb. 2. Bosquez also posted the fifth fastest time in the men's 5000 meters with a 14:49.00 at the Tyson Invitational.
Mason Weh's 7.91 in the men's 60 hurdles, posted at the Tyson Invitational ranks second in the country. Weh is joined by teammate William Watson who posted the fourth fastest time in the 60 hurdles at the Tyson Invitational with a 7.93.
Freshman Holland Martin will be chasing national gold as he comes in ranked second in the long jump with a mark of 23' 11". Freshman Parker Wood cleared 15' 7.75" at the Charlie Thomas Invitational which is the third top mark to date. Danylo Molchanov will look for a new personal best come nationals, currently ranked second in the country in the men's triple jump with a mark of 49" 9'.
"Having athletes that have been in a championship environment is always helpful," Vance said. "They know how things are going to go, but we still talk about being aware of what you need to do when you step on the track. What we talk about is you can't score if you don't make the finals, so it's about execution on day one, and we remind them what they have to do to make the finals."
Ranked fourth in the national polls, the Lady Texans have acquired 15 top 10 national marks to date. Freshman standout Jelena Rowe will look to solidify her claim as the nation's best, currently ranked first in the country in the women's high jump with a clearance of 6' 0.5", posted at the Charlie Thomas Invitational on Feb. 2.
The Lady Texans' 4x400 relay team comprised of Ashley Hughes, Agnes Abrocquah, Patrice Moody and Natassha McDonald rank first at the NJCAA level with their time of 3:42.43. The Lady Texans' distance medley relay team brings the third fastest time into the weekend as Leslie Romero, McDonald, Janiel Moore and Seselia Dala ran a 12:22.10 on Feb. 2 in Aggie Land.
Dala and Romero are posted two of the top five times in the women's 5000 meters with Dala ranked second with a time of 17:32.05, and Romero ranks fourth with a 17:39.31. Dala is also ranked fourth in the women's mile run with a time of 5:07.26, and Romero is ranked seventh in the women's 3000 meters with a 10:27.83.
400-meter specialist Natassha McDonald will look add to her resume this weekend as she comes in with the top time in the country in the women's 400 meters with a 54:37, posted at the Tyson Invitational. McDonald also ranks 10th in the women's 200 meters with a 24.42.
"I think we've done a good job of putting the people in place to where they're going to be able to score in the events in which they're entered," assistant coach Justin Hobbs said. "We try to qualify as many athletes as possible to give us those options, and both teams did a good job of stepping up and qualifying when they needed to. Now that the entries and in and everything is set, we have to go out and execute."
The 2018 NJCAA Indoor National Championships will be streaming live at the following link: https://www.flotrack.org/events/6092846-2018-njcaa-indoor-championships
Full meet schedule: