SACREMENTO, Calif. – Senior Desmond Lawrence ran his last collegiate outdoor race Thursday night at the 2014 USA Track and Field Championships, one of the most competitive meets in the world. Lawrence placed 25th overall in the 100 meters with a time of 10.50.
But one of the gentlemen competing on Thursday gave Lawrence a good indication that his running days are far from over. Proving that Aggie Pride is indeed worldwide and so is its track and field program, former Aggies 100 meter athlete Calesio Newman was in the same heat as Lawrence.
Newman, a three-time MEAC champion in the 100, advanced to the next round with a 10.41 showing. Having two Aggies compete in a prestigious national meet shows just how formidable the A&T program has become.
“The fact that we had an alumnus and some new blood in the race means a lot,” said Duane Ross, A&T’s director of track and field programs. “It shows the kind of tradition A&T track and field has and the type of talent it continues to produce. It lets everyone know where the program is headed.”
Ross, who is heading into his third season as the Aggies’ lead man in track and field, believes having Lawrence and Newman at the USATF championships speaks volumes on the recruiting trail.
“When you’re recruiting and competing on the same stage as the SEC, the Big East and the ACC, it is a big accomplishment to have two Aggies in there. We’re looking forward to have even more athletes compete at the NCAA and USATF (national meets), so this continues to happen. We look to have current Aggies and former Aggies competing all over the place.”
Lawrence and Newman are A&T royalty when it comes to the 100. Both men are multiple NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round qualifiers, including the 400 meter relay and the 200. Newman missed an opportunity to qualify for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London by a fraction of a second.
Both men also made appearances in the NCAA track and field championships during their respective careers with Lawrence reaching the finals in 2014. Newman’s best time at A&T without the wind was 10.27. Lawrence came under that mark with a 10.24 ran in the NCAA finals.
"It was incredible,” said Newman with excitement in his voice as he added an Aggie Pride. “This is what I dreamed of, to have more Aggies come and compete on the big stage. It gives our school more exposure. I hope in the near future more Aggies come to USA's and compete even if it's just for the exposure.”
This was Lawrence’s first time competing at the USATF Championships. Lawrence had a very successful year in track. During indoor season he won the MEAC championship in the 60 meters at 6.78. In his last outdoor season he was crowned the MEAC champion in the 100 at 10.57 and was also on the 400 meter relay team (40.21) that won at the MEAC Championships.
He competed in three different events at the 2014 NCAA preliminary round. He was a member of the 400 meter relay that missed advancing to the next round by one spot. Lawrence also ran in the 200, making it to the semifinals with a time of 21.20.
His biggest accomplishment of course was reaching the NCAA 100 final and being awarded All-American honors.
“My experience here at the USA Championships was good because I had an opportunity to experience something that I haven’t done before, these are also moments that a lot of other athletes don’t get to experience,” said Lawrence.
Ross said he was very proud of Lawrence.
“It was a huge accomplishment for him to get there and compete against Olympic athletes. He executed as he has done all season long, but in the end I think the long season and the many races might have taken a toll whereas the Olympic athletes are just getting going. We knew this was going to be a tough competition and he competed the best he could today."
Lawrence added that there is nothing he would change about this season. “I don’t have any regrets. I improved a lot from last season, progression is always a good thing,” he said.
And if Newman is any indication, there are still more great things to come for fellow Aggie, Desmond Lawrence.