*Denotes national qualifying mark
ABILENE — The South Plains College men's and women's track and field teams opened the outdoor season this weekend at the Wes Kittley Invitational on the campus of Abilene Christian University.
South Plains will return to action March 28-31 in Austin at the 91st annual Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays at Mike A. Meyers Stadium.
Sophomore Fabian Edoki wasted no time setting the bar for the Texans in the men's long jump as he set the top collegiate mark in the country, soaring 26' 7"* on his third attempt, good enough for first overall on Saturday. Freshman Danylo Molchanov also found himself in the top 10 in the long jump as he placed sixth for South Plains with a mark of 23' 6.25" on his third attempt. Molchanov would then place first overall in the men's triple jump with a mark of 50' 5.25"* on his sixth attempt.
"We had a really good showing this weekend and couldn't have asked for a better meet to open the season," South Plains head coach Erik Vance said. "It was an extremely competitive meet with a great group of schools and everyone brought some really good teams. Fabian put down the top mark for a collegiate jump this season so far, and with this being his first meet in 14 months is extremely impressive, and that as an elite level jump and just off our school record and third all-time at the junior college level."
Freshman Markim Felix made the most of his first opportunity to compete for the Texans in the men's javelin, placing first overall and set a new school record with a throw of 239' 7"*. Freshman Asani Hylton and sophomore Patrick Johnson also impressed in the javelin as Hylton took third with a mark of 182' 4"* while Johnson placed seventh with a 136' 11".
The Texans hit three national qualifying marks in the men's 400 meters as Junior Charles placed second with a 46.98, while Montel Hood took fourth with a 47.33 and Jordan Atkinson finished fifth with a 47.61. In the men's 1500 meters, freshman Andrew Bosquez finished second overall with a time of 4:01.40*, while Filmon Beyene earned a sixth-place finish in the men's 5000 meters with a 15:40.12.
Sophomores Mason Weh and William Watson were business as usual in the men's 100 hurdles as Weh took second with a 13.91* and Watson placed third with a 14.12". Sophomore Myles Scott earned a fifth place overall fins hint he men's 400 hurdles, posting a time of 54.26*. South Plains would place three runners in the top five in the men's 3000 steeplechase as sophomore Felix Kosgei took first with a time of 9:45.46*, while Jesse Madrid placed fourth with a 10:20.73 and Benjamin Ronoh finished fifth with a 10:26.85.
"Mason and William came out came out and just did what they do and ran two of the top times in junior college," Vance said. "Markim finally got finally got to compete for us in the javelin and ends up breaking the facility record and the school record which was huge being it was his first time out."
The Texans' 4x400 relay team comprised of Scott, Holmes, Watson and Dekaryea Freeman would go on to place fifth with a time of 3:15.14*. In the men's high jump, freshman Bryson Deberry took second in his first outing for the Texans with a mark of 6' 6.75".
The Lady Texans jumped out of the blocks on Saturday as sophomore Omotayo Abolaji got things rolling for the orange and blue with a second place finish in the women's 100 meters, posting a final time of 11.80." The Lady Texans would then place two inside the top four in the women's 200 meters as sophomore Natassha McDonald took third with a 24.23* and Abolaji placed fourth with a 24.42."
Sophomore Ashley Hughes would go on to take third in the women's 400 meters with a time of 56.61", while sophomore Seselia Dala finished fifth in the 800 meters with a time of 2:22.10. Dala would also place sixth in the 1500 meter finals with a time of 4:55.83. Freshman Patrice Moody hit a national mark in the women's 100 hurdles, placing fourth on Saturday with a 14.51. In the women's 400 hurdles, freshman Janiel Moore earned a fourth-place finish and hit a national mark with a 1:03.67. Sophomore Leslie Romero placed first overall in the women's 3000 steeplechase as the Houston native posted a final time of 11:51.90*.
The Lady Texans would also take first in the women's 4x400 as Agnes Abrocquah, Hughes, Moore, and Moody ran a 3:48.19. Freshman Jelena Rowe impressed in her first outing of the outdoor season as she took second in the women's high jump with a clearance of 5' 10.75"*. In the women's long jump finals, freshman Ruth Usoro took first overall soaring 39' 1.25"* on her first attempt. Sophomore Jannia Price earned the Lady Texans one final national qualifying mark in the women's discus with a throw of 138' 6" on her third attempt of the afternoon.
"Leslie had somewhat of a tough race in the steeplechase and still ended up setting a new personal best," Vance said. "Jelena Rowe continues to do well and has attempts at bars that are top 10 all time NJCAA marks, and just keeps hitting jumps and I think she's ready for a breakthrough. What she does is consistently clear bars over 5' 10", and if you can consistently do that you're a big-time high jumper."