Business as usual.
With over 70 national qualifying marks on tap after four meets, the South Plains College track and field teams will travel to Winton-Salem, North Carolina this weekend to compete in the NJCAA Indoor national tournament, with an opportunity to bring home yet another national crown, which would make number 32 for South Plains head coach Chris Beene.
After competing, and winning, at three division one university meets over the last two months, it's safe to say the Texans and Lady Texans are battle tested and will take a back seat to no one when they travel nearly 1200 miles to compete against the top athletes in the NJCAA.
"We've really put things together, and everyone we felt should get qualified for the national meet got qualified, and we feel like we're in a good place heading to nationals," South Plains assistant coach Erik Vance said. "To be able to be at home in our last meet and get our kids comfortable was great, and we saw some really food results come out of it."
That they did.
In their final tune-up at the South Plains College Indoor Invitational on February 20, the Texans and Lady Texans imposed their will and added to the list of athletes who earned opportunities to bring home gold at the national meet.
After being named the National Athlete of the Week early in the season, sophomore DeVante Lacy posted a 1:20.17 mark in the men's 600 meter run, earning him the top spot to get the day started for South Plains. In the men's 400 meter run, Dedrian Windham finished fourth overall with a final time of 48.79.
Kelvin Keter led the way for the Texans in the men's 1000 meter run, finishing first overall with a final time of 2:29.59. Henry Ngetich also placed in the top five for South Plains, finishing third overall with a final time of 2:34.20. In the men's 800 meter run, Daniel Chan placed fourth with a finishing time of 1:57.95, while Omero Rodriguez's time of 2:20.14 was good enough for sixth. Rodriguez would then go on to take first overall in the men's 3000 meter run with a finishing time of 9:10.86.
In the men's 60 meter hurdles, Robert Dunning and Roje Jackson-Chin took first and second for South Plains with final times of 7.97 and 8.26, respectively. In the men's high jump competition, the Texans' Kwaume McGee tied for first place with jumps of 6' 8". In the men's long jump completion, Fabian Edoki took first overall with a final distance of 25' 11", while Saahir Bethea's distance of 25' 3.25" was good enough for second.
Aaliyah Telesford would go on to place first in the 60-meter dash for the Lady Texans with a time of 7.40. In the women's 200-meter dash, Taylor Hill's time of 24.47 was good enough for first place.
The Lady Texans took the top three spots in the 400-meter dash, with Medinah Spencer placing first overall with a time of 55.09. Saqukine Cameron would take second with a time of 55.99, while Mauricia Prieto placed third with a time of 56.31. In the 600 meter run, Latriceia Smith placed second overall with a time of 1:33.93, while Deja Harrison's time of 1:34.62 took third.
In the women's 1 mile run, Poro Gahekave placed fourth overall with a finishing time of 5:45.37, while Kassidi Jones took Seventh with a time of 6:05.78. Jones would then go on to place fourth overall in the 3000 meter run with a time of 12:07.12.
In the women's 60 meter hurdles, the Lady Texans' Shanice Lewis and Medinah Spencer each broke the previous school record of 8.84, which was set by Jackie Johnson in 2007. Lewis' final time of 8.67 was good enough for first place honors, while Spencer took second with a time of 8.72.
"I think our schedule is on par with most major division one schools," Vance said. "We compete against the best every week out, and the only time we weren't competing against top 10 division one programs was when we were here."
With four Indoor meets in the rear view and just days left before nationals, South Plains holds numerous top five standings across the NJCAA.
Lacy's time of 46.61 in the 400 meters at the Tyson Invitational currently sits as the second fast time in the NJCAA. Keter's 2:29.11 mark in the 1000 meters at the Levelland Invitational currently sits as the fourth best time in the country, while Robert Dunning's time of 7.92 in the 60 hurdles sits as the second fastest time in the country.
The Texans' Hassan Abdi posted the second fastest time in the country in the 3000 meters at the Charlie Thomas Invitational, and also holds the third fastest time of 14:36.71 in the 5000 meters at the Tyson Invitational.
Fabian Edoki's jump of 25' 11" at home currently holds the top position in the men's long jump competition, while Gabe Moore is currently ranked second in the NJCAA in the Heptathlon, with a score of 4905 points.
The Lady Texans' Aaliyah Telesford currently holds the second fastest time in the 60 meters after posting a 7.40 this weekend. Medinah Spencer's final time of 55.20 in Levelland in the 400 meters currently sits as the second fastest time in the country, while Latriceia Smith's time of 1:33.93 is the third fastest time in the country.
Shanice Lewis' time of 8.69 at home is the fourth fastest time in the 60 hurdles, while Spencer's time of 8.74 currently ranks fifth. The Lady Texans' 4x400 relay teams has the second fastest time in the country with a 3:45.20 finishing time at the Tyson Invitational, while Morgan Hartsell's 12' 1.5" mark at the Tyson Invitational currently sits at second in the country.
Felicia Frimpong's jump of 19' 6.25" in the long jump currently sits at second in the NJCAA, while Melody Korie's jump of 19' 4.25" holds the fourth spot. Finally, in the Indoor Pentathlon, Cierah Hairston's 3424 points at the Charlie Thomas Invitational currently ranks third in the country.
"We're going to go into North Carolina and hopefully get the job done, and take the long ride back, but it will be a good ride back if we get those championships," Vance said. "We have just over 70 qualifying marks, and we'll have 42 kids go compete in different events. We have almost 80 percent of our kids who will be at the national meet."
The 2016 NJCAA Indoor Championships will be broadcast live from Winston-Salem, NC on Friday and Saturday, March 4-5 via FlotrackPro. The broadcast will require a Flotrack Pro subscription. You can watch the meet live at the link below.