GREENSBORO – The immediate focus is on the 2013 MEAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships and the 2013 NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round., meets that will be held at A&T’s Irwin Belk Track. But it is hard to stay focused when next season looks so promising for the North Carolina A&T men’s track and field team.
A&T’s young talent was on display at the 2013 Aggie Invitational on Saturday at Irwin Belk Track. The men, many of them sophomores, put together six personal bests. After missing practice all week with an illness, sophomore Keenan Smith won the triple jump with a personal-record 50-feet, 9-inches. His previous best was a 49-foot, 8-inch jump four weeks ago at the Shamrock Invitational.
“I like the way we came together today,” said Duane Ross, the Aggies director of track and field programs. “We performed today like this is our home turf. If you beat us, you’re going to have to earn it because we’re not going to give you anything.”
A&T performed so well, they may have had some NCAA regional qualifying times. Sophomore Christian Harrison ran his 800 meters race in 1:49:74 for a personal best.
“To get Christian to run under 1:50 was very important as we start to think about the MEAC and (NCAA) regional meet,” said Ross. “Christian is going to be a leader. Every week he is showing his personality and potential as a leader.”
Two other Aggies also had personal best in the 800 meters. Senior Steve Liggins finished in 1:51.11 and Darius Bogertey finished in 1:54.21. The Aggies also had some impressive personal records in the 100 meters. Redshirt junior Jeffrey Lewis, a converted hurdler, ran the 100 in the 10.5 range twice over the weekend. He ran a 10.56 in the preliminaries and a 10.55 in the semifinals. Sophomore Desmond Lawrence ran his preliminary 100 meter race in 10.61.
Another one of Ross’ young runners, sophomore Saeed Jones, had a personal best in the 1500 meters. Jones finished the race in 4:03.05. The sophomore dominance even extended to the field events as Marquis Noble finished second in the men’s long jump with a leap of 23-feet, 5inches.
“It makes me happy when I think about the future,” said Ross. “When I combine this team with the guys we recruited, it makes me pleased. I don’t want to get too overzealous and look past conference this year, but I’m definitely looking forward to next season.”
Ross will get a chance to see how his young team stands up to the MEAC when the conference meet comes to Greensboro the first weekend in May. The NCAA comes to A&T, May 23-25.