CLEMSON, S.C. (January 6, 2018) – North Carolina A&T indoor track and field teams returned from a month break and had positive performances at the Clemson University Orange & Purple Invite Saturday at the Clemson University Indoor Complex. Sophomore Jaylan Mitchell won the men’s 60 meters while freshman Trevor Stewart won the men’s 400m dash. In total, the Aggies combined for 36 top-10 finishes in their second meet of the season
“I am pleased with our performances as a team,” said N.C. A&T head coach Duane Ross. “We had a lot of depth in many events. It is tough coming off Christmas break and jumping right into a quality competition like this, but our teams handled it very well.”
The men’s indoor team garnered 19 top-10 finishes. For the second straight meet, Mitchell eclipsed his previous personal record and tied the school record by winning the men’s 60m for the second time this season with the nation’s fastest time (6.60). He tied Desmond Lawrence who set the mark at the 2015 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. Senior Joel Thomas recorded personal record times in both of his events. In the 60m, Thomas placed fifth at 6.72 and was sixth in the 200m at 21.79. Stewart’s win in the 400m at 47.05 broke a school record formerly held by Jarrell Elliot (47.43, 2012). His time is ranled second in the nation in the 400m. Fellow freshman Alan Johnson was second in the 600m dash clocking in a time of 1:20.36, while junior Justin Hamilton placed sixth in the 600m in 33.58. Junior Hakeem Mustafaa (16:26.41) and sophomore Joel Freeman (16:31.58) placed fifth and sixth in the men’s 5000m. Senior Corey Aiken ran a personal-record 4:23.40 in the mile to place sixth, and senior Todd Townsend placed fifth in the 60mh at 7.97.
The Aggie took second and third in the triple jump led by junior Lasheon Strozier. Strozier placed second with a mark of 50-feet, 7 ½ inches while freshman Semaj Anderson placed third at 50-feet, 1 ¾ inches. In the high jump, Anderson (6-feet, 6 ¾ inches) finished tied for fourth place while senior Nehemiah Lipford (6-feet, 6 ¾ inches) was sixth.
Freshman Aaron Wilkerson was the top finisher in the throwing events placing fourth in the shot put measuring a season-best 52-feet, 6-inches. Junior Derrick Wheeler was ninth in the shot put at 46-feet, 6-inches and was sixth in the weight throw at 56-feet, 4 ½ inches. The 4x400 relay team of junior Rodney Rowe, Justin Hamilton, Trevor Stewart and senior Dajuan Harding placed second with a time of 3:10.69 while the Aggies ‘B’ team of Townsend, senior Corey Aiken, freshman Chase Bonham and Johnson were fifth at 3:21.75.
The women produced 17 top-10 finishes with 14 personal best performances throughout the meet. Sophomore Madeleine Akobundu was the runner-up in the 60-meter hurdles setting a new school record and personal-best time of 8.26. She also leaped a personal-best 19-feet, 8 ¼ inches in the long jump to place sixth. Also in the jumps, freshman Royce Johnson finished sixth in the triple jump at 38-feet, 9 ¾ inches. Freshman Nazah Reddick improved in the high jump from 5-feet, 1-inch in December to 5-feet, 5-inches on Saturday to place ninth.
Sophomore Tori Ray, freshman Nia Lundy, freshman Payton Russell and junior Kayla White teamed up in the 4x400 meter relay and placed second while running a season-best 3:49.54. The Aggies other 4x400 relay team of sophomore Taliyah Townsend, senior India Brown, senior Imani Coleman and sophomore Kristoni Barnes placed fourth at 3:53.53.
The Aggie throwers shined with senior Imani Abraham setting a new personal record in the weight throw reaching 51-feet, 3-inches to place fourth. Freshman Loren James placed seventh in the shot put at 39-feet 4 ½ inches in her collegiate debut.
On the track, sophomore Khadijah Reid ran a personal-best 2:21.15 in the 800m to finish fourth. Junior Kayla White competed in the 60m and ran a personal-best 7.40 as she also placed fourth. Sophomore Taliyah Townsend (7.51) also clocked in a personal record in the 60m dash following India Brown’s (7.50) seventh place finish rounding out the trio with an eighth-place finish. Senior Morgan Knight (8.57) was seventh in the 60mh while Payton Russell (56.64) finished 10th in the 400m.
In the distance events, sophomore Kristoni Barnes (1:33.89) was fifth in the 600m and Imani Coleman (3:01.47) placed seventh in the 1000m run. Sophomores Camille Martin (5:15.67) and G’Jasmyne Butler (5:18.46) both ran personal record times in the mile run to place 10th and 12th, respectively.
N.C. A&T will take a trip to Birmingham, Ala., on Friday, Jan. 12 for the Blazer Invitational hosted by UAB at the Birmingham Crossplex. “Championship teams have to be ready to compete at their best and leave it all on the track, regardless of the situation, and our teams rose to the occasion,” Ross said.