GREENSBORO – With teammates clapping in the stands, sophomore Marquis Noble came sprinting down the runway for his fifth jump attempt in the men’s long jump final at the 2013 MEAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships at North Carolina A&T’s Irwin Belk Track.
After his jump, the red flag went up. Foul! Noble could have easily panicked. After all, it was only last week when he had a less than stellar performance in the long at prestigious Penn Relays. He also had an important 100 meter preliminary to run within the next hour on Friday.
“My jumps coach (Tempest Vance) told me everything was all right,” said Noble. “She told me everything was okay with my technique, I just needed a better takeoff.”
Mission accomplished. On his next jump, Noble jumped 23-feet, 6 ½ inches to complement his first jump of 23-feet, 6 ¾ inch, that won him the 2013 MEAC men’s long jump title.
“The way he showed up and performed today was inspiring for the other kids,” said Duane Ross, A&T’s director of track and field programs. “For him to actually win the long jump and then comeback and complete like he did in the 100, was something.”
Ahh yes…the 100. Noble went on to run the first heat of the 100 in 10.54 for a personal best. Noble had the second fastest time in the preliminary, one/tenth of a second behind Norfolk State’s Kenneth Smith. He was nine/tenths of a second better than teammate Desmond Lawrence, who won his heat. Ross wanted three runners in the 100 final on Saturday, but Jeffrey Lewis did not qualify.
“I’m hoping to take the top two spots,” said Ross about the 100 meter final scheduled for 2:25 p.m., Saturday. “I wanted three, but I’ll take two because two out of eight ain’t bad. If we take first and second place, that will be big for us.”
Noble, Lewis and Lawrence will team with Keenan Smith in the 4x100 meter for a 1:10 p.m., Saturday final. Smith is also favored to take the men’s triple jump title on Saturday. The first men’s triple jump on Saturday will take place at 10 a.m.
Sophomore Christian Harrison is also a favorite on the final day of the championship. Harrison had the best qualifying time in the men’s 800 meters. Harrison is ranked No. 27 in the East region, which puts him in excellent position for qualifying for the 2013 NCAA Division I East Track and Field Preliminary Round to be held at Irwin Belk Track, May 23-25. His best time this season is 1:49.74. He ran a 1:50.83 on Friday.
“Every time we have a good race on the track, it continues to build the confidence of what is a very young team,” said Ross.