WINSTON-SALEM -- There were multiple performances for the men’s and women’s track and field teams in their first indoor meet of the season, the JDL College Kickoff held at the JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Among the outstanding showings were three first-place finishes and 10 personal records being set.
Sophomore Nakita Gray won the women’s high jump, senior Roshel Bygraves placed first in the women’s 500 meters and freshman Frank Quarles claimed the men’s long.
Gray reached a personal-best height of 5-feet, 8 ¾ inches. It was a great start for an athlete who qualified for the NCAA Division I Preliminary Round last season as a freshman. Her mark is the top jump in the MEAC thus far this season.
In her first 500 race, Bygraves finished in 1:15.59. She also finished second in the 300 with a time of 40.07.
Quarles, who won the NCHSAA Class 3A outdoor track and field state championship in the long with a 23-foot, 5-inch jump at A&T’s Irwin Belk Track, jumped 23-feet, 2 ¾ inches indoors to get the win.
“We’re feeling great as expected,” said Duane Ross, the Aggies director of track and field programs. “We brought in a good recruiting class, we knew they were going to come in here and compete. We knew our upperclassmen were going to be good leaders this year, so we’re extremely proud. We got a lot of first, a lot of great (personal records) and a lot of great performances.”
On the women’s side, sophomore Tiffany Ellick placed third in the 60-meter hurdles with a personal-best 8.77 and fifth in the long jump (17-feet, 6 ½ inches). Ellick’s run in the 60-meter hurdles qualifies her for the MEAC meet. Jessica Farr ran unattached in the 60 meters and finished second in 7.63.
On the men’s side the freshmen lived up to the hype with a few top-three finishes. Freshman Josiah Elliott finished second in the 500-meter dash with a time of 1:05.04. Freshmen Todd Townsend placed second in the 60-meter hurdles in 8.17.Freshmen Thomas Jones placed third behind Townsend in 8.31. The Aggies actually took the top three spots as Jeffrey Lewis, who ran unattached, placed first with a time of 8.12. Lewis will compete for the Aggies during the outdoor season.
Darryl Williams, who also ran unattached but will compete for the Aggies during the outdoor season, finished the 60 meters in 6.83 for a first-place finish. Marquise Noble finished third in the long jump with a jump with a leap of 22-feet, 11-inches.
Noble also finished second in the 60-meter dash with a time of 6.91. Junior Saeed Jones finished third behind two Wake Forest runners in the 1-mile run with a finishing time of 4:22.88. Dyronne Mabry finished fifth in the 1000-meter run at 2:36.76. Junior Kendrick Smith completed a jump of 48-feet, 1-inch, placing him in second place in the triple jump.
Omozopkia Olumese jumped 11-feet, 11 ¾ inches in the pole vault, which set a new school record for an event that is fairly new for A&T. Cliff Obodo leads the MEAC in the men’s high jump with a distance of 6-feet, 5-inches. The men’s 4x400 relay team of Dorian Claggert, Byron Mingo, Barry Harris and Josiah Elliott finished second in 3:26.93.
“We just need to keep working because the goal obviously is to be at the NCAA championships so we’re just going to keep working hard and doing what we need to do,” said Ross.
The Aggies next meet will be Saturday, January 11 at the Wake Forest Invitational in Winston-Salem, N.C.