GREENSBORO – The day started with a lot of excitement for the North Carolina A&T track and field coaching staff. The new staff, led by Duane Ross, the first-year A&T director of track and field programs, was set to host the programs first home track meet of the season at Irwin Belk Track.
Reports of a gunman entering A&T’s General Classroom Building at approximately 9:05 a.m., changed the entire day for Ross and company, however. The campus was put on lockdown to deal with the threat. At the completion of the building searches and sweeps, law enforcement personnel determined that there was not an armed subject on campus.
The lockdown was lifted after nearly three hours, but activities on campus were paused for so long, it had an effect on the Aggies’ track meet, the Aggies Invitational.
“That was really a mess,” said Ross. “Officials were locked out and couldn’t get on campus. That really hurt us a lot. That really set us back. We had the meet running behind all day, but we started to get it together. Tomorrow should be a little smoother. But look…it is better to be safe than sorry.”
Once the meet got underway, Ross said he was pleased with his male sprinters in Desmond Lawrence and Jeffrey Lewis. Lewis, who is being converted from a hurdler to a sprinter, ran one of his fastest career times in the 100 meters. Ross was also pleased with the showing from Jasmine Baskerville in the women’s javelin.
The delay hampered set up for the timers, therefore, there are currently no results available. The Aggie Invitational will continue Saturday with the first events starting at 10 a.m.
Despite the hiccups and uncertainties of the day, there was still no place like home for the Aggies.
“It meant a lot to us to be here,” said Ross. “Every day the program is becoming more and more ours as a staff. We wanted to get out here and put on a very good, very competitive meet. There were some bumps along the way, but we eventually want to get this meet to reach Penn Relay status, whereas every year teams know this is the weekend to come to A&T.”