The South Plains College men's and women's track and field teams opened the indoor season on Friday against a stacked field in Lubbock at the 2019 Red Raider Invitational at the Texas Tech Sports Performance Center.
South Plains capped the meet with multiple top 10 finishes as one of three junior colleges represented amongst the 24 teams competing.
Sophomore Willari Watson got things rolling for the Texans in the men's 60 meters, turning in a time of 6.76* to take sixth place overall. Freshman Moitalel Mpoke turned in a fifth-place finish in the 600-yard finals in his first outing in the South Plains uniform with a time of 1:11.22*.
Andrew Bosquez and Alex Kitum each hit national marks in the men's 3000 meters with Bosquez placing second with an 8:39.95 while Kitum took seventh with an 8:59.30. Freshman Devaughn Whymns and Delon Lightfoot went six-seven in the men's 60-meter hurdles, as Whymns clocked an 8.09* to take sixth, while Lightfoot crossed the line at 8.15* for seventh overall.
Sophomore Asani Hylton brought the crowd to a roar in the men's high jump, clearing 6' 11" * to take fourth overall. Sophomore Bryson Deberry also placed in the top 10 thanks to a clearance of 6' 7" *, good enough for seventh on Friday.
"Asani has been a little beat up and we weren't sure if we were going to have him Friday, but he got rolling and got in the groove of a really good high jump competition," South Plains head coach Erik Vance said. "For a multi-athlete guy to jump that high is really impressive, and we're excited for him and the things he can accomplish this year."
South Plains placed two jumpers in the top 10 in the men's long jump as Holland Martin soared 23' 10" * to take fifth, while D'Juan Martin turned in a final mark of 22" 8.5", good enough for eighth. South Plains' Markim Felix earned a top 10 finish in the men's shot put with a throw of 51' 5.5" *, good enough for eighth.
"Holland did really well in the long jump, and a lot of time in an event like that timing can be a little difficult," Vance said. "When you're coming off a break and haven't don't a lot of full approach jumping some of your timing is off, but Holland worked through it and had a solid performance."
Proven to be one of the best jumpers in the NJCAA, sophomore Ruth Usoro wasted no time finding her stride as she hit a national mark in the women's long jump and finished sixth overall with a mark of 19' 10.75". Freshmen Lynda Martinez and Angela Rodriguez went six-seven in the women's 3000 meters as Martinez turned in a time of 11:28.66 to take sixth while Rodriguez ran an 11:32.57, placing seventh.
South Plains' freshmen Gladys Jemaiyo and Dorcus Ewoi placed in the top 10 in the women's mile run with Jemaiyo taking sixth with a 5:16.07*, while Ewoi placed eighth with a time of 5:20.51*. Janiel Moore hit a national mark in the women's 600-yard finals, clocking a time of 1:28.36, placing 13th overall.
"Gladys and Dorcus did a really good job and ran hard today," Vance said. "They took the initiative to push that race and could have easily sat back and got comfortable back in the pack. They didn't do that and got out front and put the peddle to the medal and did the job they needed to do."
South Plains will be off next weekend before returning to the track on Feb. 1 in College Station at the Texas A&M Invitational, followed by a trip to Fayetteville for the Tyson Invitational on Feb. 8.
Red Raider Inviational Results: https://www.tfrrs.org/results/58756/Red_Raider_Invite/