ABILENE — The South Plains College men's and women's track and field teams opened the outdoor season on Saturday with the Texans running away with three event titles at the Wes Kittley Invitational on the campus of Abilene Christian University.
The Texans and Lady Texans combined for 14 national qualifying marks in Abilene and will look to add to that number next weekend at the Fearless Champion Open March 22-23 on the campus of Texas Tech University in Lubbock.
Sophomore Andrew Bosquez picked up the first event title for the Texans in the men's 1500 meter run as the sophomore from Hobbs, New Mexico turned in the fastest time in the NJCAA to date, running a 3:59.93. DeVaughn Whymns and Deion Lightfoot clocked the top two times in the country this season in the men's 110 hurdles as the duo went 1-2 for South Plains. Whymns took the top spot in 14.39, with Lightfoot a step behind as he took second with a 14.46.
"Andrew did a great job of not dictating to the race and went out and did what he wanted to do," South Plains head coach Erik Vance said. " He made the race go the way he wanted it to go, and went out and got the lead early and was out by himself. He ran his race from the very beginning which is something we talked about doing and kept his lead the entire way."
Sophomore Bryson Deberry made the most of his first outing of the outdoor season as he won the men's high jump, clearing 7' 1" on his third attempt on the bar. In the men's hammer throw, sophomore Riley Finnegan hit a national qualifying mark and placed second on the afternoon with a throw of 135' 5". Willari Watson tacked on another second place finish in the men's 100 meters, posting a 10.71 for South Plains.
"Bryson is a kid we're going to be talking about for a long time," Vance said. "He's definitely a success story and someone who just goes out and works, and works, and works to get better. He is an extremely coachable kid, and when he goes out and competes he gets after it. We didn't even know if he was going to jump today, and he started jumping well early and got himself a new personal best today."
In the men's 5000 meters, Alex Kitum would hit a national qualifying mark as the freshman from Kenya turned in a time of 15.12.28, good enough for third overall. Sophomore Jesse Madrid finished third for the Texans in the men's 3000 steeplechase, coming in at 9:50.06. The Texans picked up another third-place finish in the men's javelin as freshman Bryce Spencer earned a national qualifying mark with a throw of 183' 7".
The Lady Texans turned in six top 10 finishes on Saturday including four of the top marks in the NJCAA to date. Freshman Dorcus Ewoi picked up a fourth-place finish in the women's 1500 meters, crossing the line in 4:54.10, the fastest time in the NJCAA. Gladys Jemaiyo tallied a third-place finish in the women's 5000 meters, clocking the top time in junior college with a 17:41.86.
In the women's javelin, freshman Akira Phillip turned in a fourth-place finish and holds the top mark in junior college with a throw of 134' 7". The Lady Texans placed a pair of sprinters in the top five in the women's 400 meters Saturday as sophomore Janiel Moore used a 58.58 to take third, while freshman Hanah Mills posted a 59.48, good enough for fifth overall.
"I thought Dorcus and Gladys both competed well and got after it," Vance said. "Gladys is definitely still recovering from the national meet, and overall we had a solid outing from out women's team. Janiel Moore ran well today and our throws group as a whole really had a solid outing. Overall for an opening meet, we had some good things happen for us today."