3-peat: Texans secure third consecutive NJCAA Outdoor National Title Saturday in Hobbs

The South Plains College men’s track and field team secured its third consecutive NJCAA Outdoor...
The South Plains College men’s track and field team secured its third consecutive NJCAA Outdoor Track and Field National Championship Saturday(SPC Athletics)
Published: May. 21, 2023 at 12:41 PM CDT
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Provided by SPC Athletics

HOBBS, NM (NEWS RELEASE) - The South Plains College men’s track and field team secured its third consecutive NJCAA Outdoor Track and Field National Championship Saturday, thanks to a gold medal performance in the final race of the meet at the Ross Black Field of Champions on the campus of New Mexico Junior College.

The Texan’s 4x400 relay team comprised of Jeremy Bembridge, Evaldo Whitehorne, Gregory Prince, and Kimar Farquharson ran away from the field, posting a blistering 3:03.31 to pick up 10 points to earn a share of the national crown, as South Plains and New Mexico Junior College each capped the meet with 100 points.

“We talk to our kids about being able to adapt and be ready no matter what, and we never knew exactly what was going to happen going into the final day,” South Plains head coach Erik Vance said. “We knew it was going to be close, and we knew going into the last event we had to leave it all out there and had to win the race. We were fortunate to post a great time, and it ended up with us winning another championship.”

Earlier in the day, Prince and Bembridge each finished in the top eight of the men’s 400 meters, as Prince posted a 45.85, good enough for sixth, while Bembridge went 45.95 to take seventh. In the men’s 800 meter finals, Farquharson posted a second place national finish in a time of 1:47.24, while Aron Tanui went 1:48.64, good enough for fourth. Tanui would then turn in a seventh place national finish in the 1500 meter finals, clocking 3:51.04.

Freshman Dishaun Lamb capped the season with a fifth place national finish in the men’s 100 hurdles, getting across the line in 14.16. In the men’s 400 hurdles, sophomore Caio Almeida placed third with a time of 51.24. The Texans would then place third in the men’s 4x100 relay, as Keontae Gaines, Cody Grant, Noah Lawson, and Prince went 39.76.

Sophomore Donroy Brown capped his career in Levelland with a sixth place national finish in the men’s shot put, turning in a final mark of 56′ 8.75″. In the men’s hammer, sophomore Charles Gaither placed fourth nationally with a mark of 178′ 5″.

“We have had our ups and downs, and have had moments where we didn’t know whether we would get there or not,” Vance said. “But, at the end of the day, when it comes down to it, they get it done. To graduate a group of sophomores that has never lost an NJCAA track championship, that’s pretty special.”

On the women’s side, the Lady Texans finished the year with a fourth place national finish, led by sophomore All-American Success Umukoro. The decorated sprinter would solidify herself as one of the all-time greats at South Plains, earning a gold medal in the women’s 100 meters with a time of 11.37. Umukoro would then add a silver medal in the women’s 200 meters, getting across the line in 23.28.

In the women’s 800 meter finals, freshman Rushana Dwyer ran away from the field en route to a first place finish with a time of 2:10.63. Lilliana Guerrero placed sixth nationally in the 800 meters four South Plains, posting a 2:15.51. Sophomore Ashyiria Savage placed eighth overall in the women’s 100 meter hurdles, turning in a time of 14.17. The Lady Texans would then place three in the top six of the women’s 400 meter hurdles, as Shenell Tucker was third in 58.76, while Safhia Hinds was fourth in 1:00.30, and Corlasia Scott was sixth in 1:01.50.

South Plains would then add a silver medal in the women’s 4x100 relay as Umukoro, Scott, Maria Umoibang, and Breanna Clarke went 44.44. In the women’s discus, Kimola Hines placed fourth with a mark of 150′ 7″, while Ronelle Plaza was sixth in the shot put with a throw of 42′ 4″. The Lady Texans would close out the meet with a gold medal in the women’s 4x400, as Hinds, Umukoro, Leticia Quingostas, and Dwyer crossed the line in 3:35.72.

“Coming into the last day, our women’s team was pretty far down in the standings,” Vance said. “This group of girls has no quit in them, and they had an outstanding meet, and when you have a leader like Success who is a threat to win a race every time she steps out there, you know you’re going to be ok.”

Day one and two highlights:

All-American Kudakwashe Chadenga defended his outdoor title in the men’s high jump, clearing the bar at 6′ 11.75″ to win the event for the second consecutive year. The Texans would then take gold in the men’s 4x800 as Trayquan Francis, Chevonne Hall, Christian Francisco, and Kimar Farquharson turned in the top time of 7:33.54.

In the decathlon, Nelvin Appiah-Konadu won gold with a score of 6987 points, placing first in the 100 meters, high jump, 400 meters, 110m hurdles, and 1500 meters. South Plains’ Harry Crosby placed third in the decathlon, totaling 6476 points. Crosby placed first in the long jump, and second in both the pole vault and 1500 meters.

In the men’s pole vault, Django Segovia cleared the bar at 15′ 9.75″ to win gold and notch 10 points for South Plains. On the women’s side, the Lady Texans totaled 10 points in the 4x800, as Rushana Dwyer, Leticia Quingostas, Jeniel Jones, and Lilliana Guerrero turned in a 9:19.93 to earn a first place national finish.

Final team scores:

Women’s final point totals:

New Mexico JC: 130.50

Cloud County 101

Barton County: 92.50

South Plains: 82

Iowa Western: 64

Men’s final point totals:

South Plains: 100

New Mexico JC: 100

Barton County: 79.50

Iowa Western: 55.50

Cloud County: 48

Full meet results: http://milesplit.live/meets/552008