It came down to the last event on the last day. But that was just fine with the South Plains College men’s Track and field team.
With Barton County (Kan.) ahead of SPC by two points in the team standings going into the last race of the 2018 NJCAA Indoor National Track and Field Championships, Montel Hood ran the anchor leg for the Texans in the men’s 4×400 relay. Hood barreled down the final stretch and helped SPC place second with a time of 3:09.56, two spots ahead of Barton County, and push ahead 94-92.
That was just enough for SPC to capture the national championship, the sixth national indoor title in the program’s history.
“It is great to win the indoor championships for the first time since 2015,” said Erik Vance, head track coach at SPC. “I feel like we have been close a couple times. So to be able to close it out and win was a relief. The group of kids we have really trained well over the break and showed the urgency required to have a successful indoor season.”
The two-day competition was held March 2 – March 3 at the Sports Performance Center on the campus of Texas Tech University in Lubbock.
In the 4×800 relay, Felix Kosgei, Ulises Cardoza, Ian Gonzales, and Dekaryea Freeman placed third with a time of 7:44.17, earning five points for SPC. In the men’s 60-meter hurdles, William Watson and Mason Weh placed third and fourth, respectively. Watson posted a time of 7.88, and Weh posted a time of 7.91. The two combined to add nine points for the Texans.
In the men’s heptathlon, freshman Asani Hylton placed third with 5,326, points and sophomore Patrick Johnson placed fifth with 5,058 points. The two added 10 points for SPC.
In the men’s triple jump, freshman Holland Martin earned national champion honors and set a new personal best with a jump of 52 feet, 8.25 inches. Martin added 10 more points for the Texans in the team standings.
In the men’s 60-meter dash, Keion Sutton placed third overall with a time of 6.73 and added six more points for SPC.
In the men’s 600 meters, Hood set a time of 1:18.14, placing fourth overall and adding five points. Sophomore Junior Charles placed third and earned six points in the men’s 400 meters with a time of 46.57. Freeman placed third in the men’s 800 meters with a time of 1:55:75, adding six points and setting up the Texans for a run at first place in the team standings.
“The big key for us was athletes stepping up in areas where we weren’t expecting big points,” said Vance. “Keion Sutton stepping up for third in the 60-meter race was a big one for us, and Holland Martin winning the triple jump from the first flight was huge.”
The Lady Texans placed second behind New Mexico Junior College, after Ashley Hughes, Patrice Moody, Agnes Abrocquah, and Natassha McDonald placed second in the 4×400 meter relay with a time of 3:43.30.
Freshman Ruth Usoro won a national championship and set a SPC record for the women’s triple jump, setting a mark of 42 feet, 8.25 inches. Usoro placed second in the long jump with a mark of 19 feet, 3.4 inches.
In the women’s 60-meter hurdles, Moody placed fourth overall with a time of 8.68, adding five points for SPC.
In the women’s 600 meters, freshman Janiel Moore added four points for the Lady Texans after placing fifth with a time of 1:35.13.
Seselia Dala and Leslie Romero competed in the women’s mile run and collected nine points for SPC. Dala placed third with a time of 5:13.89, and Romero placed sixth with a time of 5:16.26.
In the women’s 400 meters, McDonald placed sixth with a time of 55.40, and Abrocquah finished seventh with a time of 55.59. The two added a total of 5 points for the Lady Texans.
“Across the board, you could tell both the men and women were locked in and ready to compete,” Vance said. “They did a great job doing exactly what they were supposed to do, and we are excited to carry that over to the outdoor season.”