WINSTON-SALEM – Two meets in and sophomore Nakita Gray doesn’t know what defeat feels like. Gray, the North Carolina A&T women’s track and field high jumper, had another strong performance to go along with another good showing from the A&T track and field teams at the JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem.
Sophomore Nakita Gray is on a roll early. Gray is not only undefeated but on Saturday she won the high jump with a personal-record mark of 5-feet, 9-inches.
“It feels good,” says Gray. “I was really proud I came out here and did the best that I can do right now. I just thank God, my parents and everybody. As long as I keep working hard at practice I think I can go even higher than what I’ve been jumping.”
Gray says she has done more running in practice to help with speed, while working harder in the weight room to strengthen her legs. She was not alone on Saturday in clinching personal best and first-place finishes.
Junior Keenan Smith got first in the men’s triple jump by leaping 50-feet, 1 1/4 inches. His brother Kendrick Smith finished behind him in seventh place at 43-feet, 10 3/4 inches. Both of these jumps were also their personal best jumps for the season.
Freshman Frank Quarles finished second behind former Aggie track athlete Tarrish Alexander in the men’s long jump with a personal best jump of 23-feet, 3 3/4 inches. Keenan Smith placed third behind Quarles with another personal best of 23-feet, 2-inches.
Junior Christian Harrison got second place in the men’s 800 meters with a time of 1:54.60. Junior Dyronne Mabry got third behind Harrison running a personal-best 1:54.63. Harrison and Mabry are ranked 1,2 in the conference in the 800.
Unattached runner Jessica Farr got second in both the women’s 200 (24.30) and 400 meters (56.27). Darryl Williams, another unattached runner, ran 6.76 in the men’s 60-meter dash for a third-place finish.
Desmond Lawrence made his season debut in the men’s 60 with a fourth-place finish in 6.82,. His 6.80 in the preliminaries leads the MEAC.
Omozopkia Olumese is third in the MEAC as he jumped a personal-best 13-feet, 1 ½ inches in the men’s pole vault.
The men’s 4x400 meter A-relay team earned third place with a time of 3:17.93.
The Aggies had a few male athletes make their season debuts on Saturday. In addition to Lawrence, Caleb Gabriel also competed after a season of playing on the Aggies football team. Director of track and field programs Duane Ross also acknowledged Leonard Robbins, a Liberty University transfer, who made his Aggie debut on Saturday.
“If I had to give it a grade, I would give it a C-plus,” said Ross. “A lot of personal best, but more importantly the goal was to get this first out of the way so that we can start progressing and getting ready for the real season.
This meet gave us the opportunity to see a little bit more competition than we saw in December and also to get this winter break off our backs and get back to normal. So now we should have a little better rhythm and a little better timing next week.”
The Aggies next meet will be Friday, January 17 at the Dick Taylor Invitational in Chapel Hill.