EAST GREENSBORO – The North Carolina A&T men’s and women’s outdoor track and field teams won their respective Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) outdoor championships on Saturday.
During the final day of the MEAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Saturday at N.C. A&T’s Irwin Belk Track, the men scored 211 points to cruise past Bethune-Cookman (178). Norfolk State (135.5), Coppin State (58) and Morgan State (45.5) rounded out the top-5 on the men’s side.
It was the third straight title for men’s outdoor team to go along with their three straight MEAC indoor titles and their 2018 MEAC men’s cross country championship.
“Based on some of the times we put up, this is the best MEAC championship we have ever had,” said Duane Ross, the Aggies director of track and field programs. “If there are teams out there who didn’t know we are for real about being a nationally-recognized program, they have not been paying attention. Our times today show we mean business.”
Senior Trevor Stewart was the main highlight for the men. Stewart won the 400 meters by running the 14th-fastest time ever in the world at 44.38. Stewart will head to the NCAA Division I East Regional Preliminary Round (regionals) with the No. 1 team in the nation.
“I think he is going to be the future in the 400-meter event,” said Ross. “I’m talking about in the world. I think once he matures, I think he can be an Olympian, a world champion, you name it.”
Stewart’s success derives from the fact he is always trying to best himself. Ross thinks Stewart can go lower at the NCAA prelims and even lower at the NCAA nationals.
Senior Rodney Rowe also looks to make noise once regionals and nationals arrive. Rowe had a thrilling come-from-behind win in the 100m to walk down S.C. State’s Demek Kemp as Rowe finished with a personal-best 10.05 to claim gold. Rowe won the MEAC 200 for the second straight year.
Rowe ran a personal-best 20.12 to move to No. 2 nationally in the country. Four other Aggies scored in the event with Akeem Sirleaf coming in third (20.37), Stewart finishing fourth (20.51), senior Justin Hamilton placing seventh (21.26) and senior Michael Dickson finishing eighth (21.42). Rowe was also a part of the 4x100-meter relay team along with Malcolm Croom-McFadden, junior Akeem Sirleaf and Dickson that finished first in 39.14.
“Even though he was down, there was no doubt in mind Rodney was going to win those races,” said Ross about the 100 and 200 for Rowe. “He has got too much pride, and he is running at home.”
In his final MEAC outdoor track meet, senior Lasheon Strozier also won the triple jump with a jump of 50-feet, 4 ¾-inches. It was his first-ever conference outdoor title in the triple jump. Freshman Regan Kimtai captured the 1,500 meters, finished third in the 3,000m steeplechase and second in the 800m.
Dickson won his second career MEAC outdoor title in the 110mh with a time of 13.82. Junior Robert Miller also scored in the event by finishing fourth at 14.04. And what has become an annual tradition for the Aggie men, they closed out the MEAC outdoor event by winning the 4x400.
This year the trio was freshman Akeem Lindo and juniors Brandy Felix, Chase Bonham and Kemarni Mighty. They ran 3:09.15 to mark the fourth straight year the Aggies have won the 4x400 at the MEAC outdoor. It was Lindo, Bonham and Felix who finished second, fourth and fifth in the 400mh to post 17 points for N.C. A&T.
“There is no better feeling as a coach than to know you can depend on your guys when it is championship time,” said Ross.
First-Team All-MEAC: Lasheon Strozier (triple jump); Derrick Wheeler (hammer); Aaron Wilkerson (shot put); Rodney Rowe (100m, 200m, 4x100); Trevor Stewart (400m); Michael Dickson (110mh, 4x100); Malcom Croom-McFadden (4x100); Akeem Sirleaf (4x100); Akeem Lindo (4x400); Brandy Felix (4x400); Chase Bonham (4x400); Kemarni Mighty (4x400); Regan Kimtai (1,500m);
Second-Team All-MEAC: Brandon Hicklin (long jump); Joshua Faison (discus); Kevin Fofanah (hammer); Akeem Sirleaf (400m); Akeem Lindo (400mh); Regan Kimtai (800m)
Third-Team All-MEAC: Akeem Sirleaf (200m); Regan Kimtai (3,000m steeplechase);