Vulcan/Blazer Allowed Aggies to Find Their Rhythm
BIRMINGHAM, Al. (January 14, 2018) – North Carolina A&T’s indoor track and field teams competed at the UAB Vulcan/Blazer Invitational at the Birmingham Crossplex Arena on Friday and Saturday at the Birmingham Complex Arena.
“I have mixed emotions with regards to our performance this weekend,” said N.C. A&T director of track field programs, Duane Ross. “We had some great individual performances and we had some not so great performances. It’s still early into our indoor season and our team is still trying to find its rhythm.”
The Aggie women had four top-10 finishes and five season-best performances at the UAB Blazer Invitational. In the 500-meter run, senior Imani Coleman placed second with a time of 1:35.73. Then in the mile, sophomore Camille Martin (5:15.60) ran the third-fastest time in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) to finish 11th.
Senior Morgan Knight, the MEAC indoor and outdoor record holder in the pole vault, shined for the Aggies. She set the MEAC’s top mark in the pole vault at 11 feet, 5 ¾ inches placing ninth. Freshman Nazah Reddick placed sixth in the high jump (5 feet, 4 ½ inches), while senior Anisa Toppin was eighth in the long jump with a season-best mark of 17-feet, 9 ½ inches.
Freshman Loren James measured the fourth-farthest shot-put throw in the conference to finish 11th at 43-feet, 5 ¼ inches. In the weight-throw, senior Imani Abraham placed 14th out of the pack and sits seventh in the MEAC with a toss of 29-feet, 1 ¼ inches.
The men recorded 10 top-10 finishes while three set new personal records. Freshman Aaron Wilkerson placed fifth in the shot put with a personal best mark of 54 feet, 6 ¾ inches ranking second in the MEAC. Junior Derrick Wheeler (44 feet, 2 ½ inches) was 10th in the shot put while freshman Semaj Anderson placed 10th in the long jump with a personal-best mark 21 feet, 8 ¾ inches. In the high jump, senior Nehemiah Lipford finished seventh, measuring 6 feet, 6 ¾ inches.
Junior Hakeem Mustafaa (17:29.61) paced the Aggies distance crew. He placed sixth in the men’s 5000m. Senior Corey Aiken won his heat in the mile run and recorded the fourth-fastest conference time (4:23.30) to finish seventh. Junior Joel Freeman ran 9:28.29 in the 3000m to place eighth. Senior Steve Stowe won his heat in the 600m finishing seventh with a time of 1:22.07.
N.C. A&T women had five performances make the top-30 NCAA indoor rankings at the UAB Vulcan Invitational. The Aggies also tallied 16 top-10 finishes and nine season-best marks.
A trio of Aggie sprinters ran the conference’s top three times in the women’s 200m. Junior Kayla White (23.85) and sophomore Taliyah Townsend (24.02) ran personal-best times placing second and fifth, respectively while Brown was seventh to round out the powerhouse trio. On the national indoor list, White is 10th, Townsend is 22nd and Brown is 25th in the 200.
All three sprinters competed in the 60 as well. Brown (7.50) was fourth, Townsend was sixth (7.56) and White (7.57) was seventh. The Aggie 4x400 relay squad of Sun-Sara Williams, Kennedy Thorne, Khadija Reid and Kristoni Barnes crossed the finish line in 3:49.16.
Tori Ray (56.33) won her heat in the 400m and was sixth in the finals. She ran the MEAC’s second-fastest time in the event. Nia Lundy (56.60) sits third in the conference after placing seventh in the 400m. Barnes placed third in the 800m in 2:11.47 and has the fastest time in the MEAC while ranking 25th in the nation. Sophomore Madeleine Akobundu continued her streak of top-3 finishes in the 60-meter hurdles as she placed second with a time of 8.31. TeJyrica Robinson (8.64) finished sixth after winning her heat in the preliminaries and Knight (9.08) was eighth. Anisa Toppin became the conference leader in the triple jump, leaping 40 feet, 4 ¾ inches to place second. Toppin is 28th in the nation.
The men recorded 11 top-10 finishes with seven personal records at the Vulcan Invitational.
Freshman Trevor Stewart won the 400m while clocking the ninth-fastest time in the nation of 45.99. Senior Dajuan Hardin ran a personal-best 47.69 to finish ninth as he ranks 15th on the indoor list. The Aggie duo has the top two 400 times in the conference. In the 60, senior Joel Thomas placed fifth with in 6.78. Corey Aiken (1:55.22) won the 800, while freshman Alan Johnson ran a season-best time 1:55.98 to finish third. Steve Stowe was second in his heat and eighth overall in the mile run at 4:29.01. Sophomore Marquise McGee (8:59.90) led the Aggies in ninth place in the 3000.
N.C. A&T’s 4x400 relay team of junior Christian Patterson, Johnson, Stowe and Aiken finished fourth with a time of 3:20.90. Wilkerson was sixth in the shot put at 52 feet, 6 ¾ inches while Derrick Wheeler was eighth in the weight throw at 48 feet, 5 ¼ inches.
“Trevor Stewart and Marquise McGee ran exceptionally well for the men as did Kristoni Barnes, Madeleine Akobundu and Kayla White for the women,” said Ross. “Our throws crew is performing really well right now, and I’m excited to see them perform even better.”
The Aggies have decided not to compete at the JDL Fast Track HBCU Invite on Monday in Winston-Salem.