LYNCHBURG, Va. (February 9, 2019) – The North Carolina A&T men’s and women’s indoor track and field athletes had a productive day Saturday.
In addition to Kayla White running the fastest time in the world this year in the 200 meters at the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark., the Aggies won five events at the Darius Dixon Memorial Invitational hosted by Liberty University at the Liberty Indoor Track Complex.
It was an especially extraordinary day for junior Tori Ray who was a part of two victories on Saturday. Ray won the 400-meter dash by running a meet record 54.58. Ray along with juniors Sun-Sara Williams and Nilaja Florence and sophomore Payton Russell won the women’s 4x400-meter relay in with a meet record time of 3:43.01.
Junior Kristoni Barnes also took gold at Liberty. Barnes ran the 800m in 2:12.76 to place first. Freshman Monzerad Creary was sixth (2:19.05) and freshman Shalah Means was 10th (2:22.81). Barnes is fourth in the conference in the 800 after she ran 2:12.31 at the Carolina Challenge last week. Barnes and the 4x400 B team (senior Kennedy Thorne, junior TeJyrica Robinson and freshman Paula Salmon) finished fifth in 3:58.51.
There was a field victory on Saturday as well. Sophomore Nazah Reddick won her third high jump event of the season as she jumped 5-feet, 7-inches to win over Liberty senior Kylie Polsgrove (5-feet, 4-inches). Reddick is second in the conference in the high jump with her 5-foot, 8 ¾-inch jump at the JDL College Kick-off Classic in December. Salmon finished eighth.
The other winner came on the men’s side in the 400m. Kemarni Mighty finished in 48.67 to capture the victory.
Ray’s time on Saturday was the fastest indoor time of her career. She won the MEAC indoor title in the 400 last season by running a 54.99. Ray’s 400 performance could have ranked No. 1 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) this week. Some of her 4x400 relay teammates also saw success in the 400 on Saturday.
Williams also dropped below 55 seconds finishing second in 54.77, her lowest time ever during an indoor 400 event. She could be No. 2 in the MEAC by next week. Russell came in fourth with a time of 55.98.
Mighty led a group of three Aggies who finished in the top-5 of the 400. He was followed by sophomore Chase Bonham who finished fourth in 49.52. Junior Brandy Felix came in fifth place with a time of 49.80. Mighty’s Carolina Challenge time of 48.14 still good enough for seventh place in the conference as he joined with two other Aggies in the top-10 – Trevor Stewart (3rd) and Justin Hamilton (4th).
Williams’ second-place finish in the women’s 400 was one of many for the Aggies on Saturday. Freshman Kamaya Debose-Epps had the third-fastest qualifying time in the 60m (7.64) but finished second in the final in 7.53. She was followed by Florence who finished fourth in 7.69 lowering her time from the qualifying round (7.73).
Robinson also had a second-place finish. Robinson had the second-fastest qualifying time in the 60mh (8.37) before running the event in 8.34 in the final. She was followed closely by Salmon who finished third in 8.44 after running 8.52 in the preliminary round. Also, freshman Regan Kimtai would finish second in the men’s 1 mile on the track. Kimtai ran the event in 4:15.01. Kimtai is the conference leader in the mile at 4:11.52.
Freshman Malcolm Croom-McFadden also had a good day coming in second in the men’s 60 in 6.87. Croom-McFadden also had an eighth-place finish in the men’s 200.
Freshman Michael Bell had a second-place finish in the men’s long jump after leaping 22-feet, 9 ¾-inches. He is now sixth in the conference after Saturday’s event. Akeem Lindo finished in seventh at 19-feet, 3 ½-inches.
Senior Coy Brown ran his best indoor time in the 800m. He finished third at Liberty in 1:54.36. Sophomore Loren James had the other third-place finish. She threw the shot put 46-feet, ¾-inches for the finish.
N.C. A&T has one more meet before both the men and the women both go after their respective third straight MEAC indoor titles. The Aggies will head to Virginia Tech for the third time this season as they will compete in the Virginia Tech Challenge, Feb. 15-16. The following week, Feb. 21-23, the Aggies will head back to Landover, Md., in search of making more history.