LEVELLAND — With the regular season complete, the South Plains College men's and women's track and field teams will shift their focus to the 2018 NJCAA Div. I Outdoor Track and Field Championships May 17-19 in El Dorado, Kansas at BG Products Veterans Sports Complex on the campus of Butler Community College.
Action will get underway on Thursday at 9 a.m. beginning with the women's combined events, followed by the men's combined events at 9:15 a.m. The meet will be capped following the men's 1600-meter relay at 4:25 p.m. on Saturday with the awards ceremony to follow.
"We're just trying to keep our kids healthy and refreshed and on top of their game," South Plains head coach Erik Vance said. "I think they understand what time of year it is and you see that in practice and they're ready to go. Now that finals are done they can mentally recover from that, and now they have one thing to focus on, and once they do that we will be ready to go."
The top-ranked Texans, who are the 11-time defending outdoor national champions, have hit 54 national qualifying marks to date including four of the top marks in the country. The Texans ran the top 4x400 relay time in the country on March 28 at the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays in Austin as Junior Charles, Jordan Atkinson, Ian Gonzales and Montel Hood clocked a 3:08.23.
Sophomore All-American Fabian Edoki holds the top mark in the men's long jump set on March 23 at the ACU West Kittley Invitational as he soared 26' 7". Freshman Holland Martin will battle Edoki for gold in Kansas as he enters the meet with the second top mark in the country with a jump of 25' 4.5" at the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays in Austin on March 28. Martin also holds the top mark in the country in the men's triple jump with a mark of 52' 8.25".
The Lady Texans will head into nationals ranked fourth in the latest USTFCCCA national poll after hitting 30 national qualifying marks this season and will be in the hunt for their first outdoor crown since the 2015 season. Sophomore 400-meter specialist Natassha McDonald will head into nationals with the top mark in the women's 400 meters after turning in a 53.97 at the Texas Tech Masked Rider Invitational on May 5 in Lubbock.
Freshman Ruth Usoro will look to bring home gold in both the women's long jump and triple jump as she comes in with the third-best mark in both events. Usoro soared 20' 3.75" on May 5 at the Texas Tech Masked Rider Open and turned in a mark of 42' 8.25" at the indoor national meet on March 2. Freshman Jelena Rowe will also look to bring home national gold in the women's high jump as she enters the meet with the second-best mark in the country with a jump of 6' 0.5" set in Lubbock on May 5.
Full results and daily recaps can be found by visiting spctexans.com and also on the South Plains College Athletics Facebook and Twitter pages. Live results from the meet can be found here: http://www.blacksquirreltiming.com