by: JOSHUA RAMIREZ/Sports Editor
The South Plains College men’s and women’s track teams started the 2016 season with a strong performance against tough competition.
The SPC track teams traveled to the Deloss Dodds Invitational at Kansas State University on Jan. 22- Jan. 23.
For the Texans, one of the most impressive performances of the day came from Devante Lacy, a sophomore from Houston, Texas. Lacy finished first in the 400-meter run with a time of 47.79.
“His performance on that flat track is unbelievably good,” said SPC Head Track Coach Chris Beene. “That was a (NCAA) Division I time on that track.”
The Texans recorded their second first-place finish of the day in the 600-yard dash with sophomore runner Robert Downs Jr. from Philadelphia, Penn., posting a time of 1:11.66.
“He’s running times that I’ve never had with most of my 800 kids,” Beene said of Downs.
“I’m expecting big things from Rob. I really like what he does.”
Both Lacy and Downs posted the top times in the nation with their performances in the 400 and 600-yard dash events.
Finishing three seconds behind Downs was freshman teammate Okeen Williams from St. Elizabeth, Jamaica, who had a time of 1:14.44 and finished eighth.
Along with his eighth-place finish in the 600-yard dash, Williams also competed in the men’s 60-meter dash, finishing fourth with a time of 6.88.
Sophomore cross country standout Hassan Abdi placed first overall in the men’s 3,000-meter run, finishing with a time of 8:38.30. Abdi placed seventh in the men’s mile race with a time of 4:22.03.
In field events, Fabian Edoki, a freshman from Nigeria, posted first-place finishes in the men’s triple jump with a distance of 14.40 meters, and in the men’s long jump with a distance of 7.51 meters.
Kwaume McGee, a freshman from Shreveport, La., placed sixth overall in the high jump with a leap of 2.05 meters.
Along with five individual first-place finishes in the men’s competition, SPC placed first in the 4×400 relay with a time of 3:14.94 on the combined efforts of Lacy, Williams, Downs, and freshman Dedrian Windham, a freshman from Arlington, Texas.
The Lady Texans were equally impressive in their first meet of the season, as Aaliyah Telesford, Mauricia Prieto, Medinah Spencer, Morgan Hartsell, and Felicia Frimpong all placed first in their respective events.
Telesford placed first in the women’s 60-meter dash, posting a time of 7.61 at the meet.
Prieto showed her skills in the 200 meters, placing first with a time of 25.04.
Spencer, a freshman from Baltimore, MD, placed first in the women’s 400 meters with a time of 56.07. Hartsell, a sophomore from Lubbock, Texas, placed first in the pole vault with a height of 3.5 meters.
Frimpong won the women’s triple jump, leaping 11.88 meters.
Other standout performances for the Lady Texans came from sophomore Ciearah Hairston from Baltimore, MD, who placed second in the long jump with a distance of 5.62 meters.
Deja Harrison, a freshman from Houston, Texas, placed fourth in the 600-yard dash with a time of 1:27.17. Kassidi Jones and Mya Perez competed in the 3,000-meter run, finishing ninth and 10th, respectively, with times of 11:27.17 and 11:41.39.
The meet came as a bit of a surprise for the team after the season schedule was changed because of extensive damages to Texas Tech’s indoor track facility caused by the recent blizzard.
“When the TTU facility collapsed, we lost three meets off our schedule,” explained Coach Beene. “For us to compete at the national indoor meet, you have to have two meets, and some kids only had one. So we started trying to figure out where we could go. The Kansas state meet worked out for us the best.”
After a long holiday break and a tough meet to start the season, Coach Beene says he is looking forward to getting his team in shape for the rest of the season.
“When you come off the break for four weeks during Christmas, some kids get to work out better than others,” said Beene. “So we just have to keep pushing to get fit enough to do what we want to do. Most of right now is just trying to move towards more quality of work so we’re fit enough.”
The men’s and women’s track teams returned to action on Feb. 5-Feb. 6 at the Texas A&M Invitational in College Station. Results were not available at press time.