Track teams gain national recognition with impressive times at recent meets

by:JOSHUA RAMIREZ/Sports Editor

Three meets into the season, the South Plains College men’s and women’s track and field teams have faired well against tough competition.

The teams traveled to the University of Arkansas to compete in the Tyson Invitational on Feb. 12.

Sophomore Hassan Abdi was named National Athlete of the Week for his performance in the 5,000-meter race. Abdi finished first in the event with a time of 14:36.71, currently the third fastest time in the nation.

Fellow sophomore DeVante Lacy returned to form, finishing first in the men’s 400 meters with a time of 46.61. Like Abdi, Lacy’s time in the 400 has garnered national recognition, as it is the fastest time recorded in the NJCAA this season.

Sophomore Kelvin Keter finished the indoor meet with two top-10 finishes. He placed ninth overall in the men’s one-mile run, finishing with a time of 13:16.07. Keter went on to place ninth in the men’s 3,000 meters with a time of 8:48.19

The Texans finished seventh in the 4×400-meter relay behind the combined efforts of Lacy, Okeen Williams, Robert Downs Jr., and Dedrian Windham, who posted a time of 3:13.61.

In field events, Fabian Edoki jumped his way to a sixth-place finish in the men’s long jump with a distance of 24’1.75”.

The Lady Texans ran well in Arkansas, as freshmen Saqukine Cameron and Mauricia Prieto both posted top-10 times in the nation in their respective events.

Cameron placed fourth in her heat in the women’s 400 meters with a time of 56.32, which ranks as the fifth fastest time in the NJCAA this season.

Prieto’s time of 25.10 in the 200 meters landed her third in her heat and was good enough for the eighth fastest time in the NJCAA.

The combined efforts of Kassidi Jones, Alexis Hyshaw, Latriceia Smith, and Poro Gahkeove gave the Lady Texans a second-place finish in the women’s distance medley relay with an overall time of 13:16.07.

After a tough meet to open season, the SPC track teams traveled to Texas A&M University to compete in the Charlie Thomas Invitational on Feb. 5.

Abdi had a strong performance at the meets competing in the men’s 3,000 and 5,000 meters.

Abdi placed first overall in the 5,000 meters with a time of 14:49.67. In the 3,000 meters, Abdi’s time of 8:21.11 was good enough for fourth overall at the meet.

Robert Dunning helped the Texans with a second-place finish in the men’s 60-meter hurdles. Dunning finished his race with a time of 7.92, falling to Bryce Grace from Baylor University.

Nicholas Rotich competed alongside Abdi in the 5,000 meters, finishing 12th overall with a time of 15:28.72.

In the field events, Edoki and Saahir Bethea both placed in the top five in the long jump.

Edoki placed third with a leap of 24’ 5”, while Bethea’s jump of 23’11.75” was good enough to land him in fourth place.

For the Lady Texans, Ciearah Hairston had a top-10 finish in the women’s pentathlon, finishing seventh overall with 3,424 points.

The women recorded two additional top-10 finishes, with Felicia Frimpong finishing seventh in the long jump with a leap of 18”1.75’, and ninth in the triple jump with distance 38’ 20”.

After three meets, SPC has recorded 68 qualifying marks for the 2016 National Junior College Athletic Association Indoor National Championship meet, which will be held on March 4 in Winston-Salem, N.C.

The teams were back in action at the South Plains College Invitational on Feb. 19 in Levelland. Results were not available at press time.

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