By Rochelle Black
Joliet, Ill.--With temperatures in the low to mid 40s on Friday, to a beautiful 70 degree Saturday, Shorter’s track teams competed in the NCCAA Outdoor National Championships. Host school Judson University welcomed over 600 student-athletes from all across the country to Joliet, Illinois, to test their skills on the track and in the field. The Hawks and Lady Hawks of Shorter didn’t disappoint.
Day one saw Shea Spicher, NCCAA indoor champion in the women’s 3,000 meter run, claim 3rd place in a cold 10,000 meter run, taking in the team’s first points of the competition. Her twenty-five lap race concluded in a time of 36:58.
Out in the field events, Tamala Daley and Ane Aldana jumped to a second and eighth place finish, respectively, in the women’s triple jump. For the men, David Johnson and Kedemah Howard took third and fifth, giving the men their first points on the day.
Chelsey Thomas leapt over the high jump crossbar at 5 feet, 1 inch, earning her 7th place on the day.
Madison Sears ended the day with a monster performance in the women’s hammer throw. Going into the meet, Sears was ranked fifth, and stayed in fifth going into her final throw of the competition. After releasing the hammer, she saw that it travelled to a new personal best and school record throw of 153 feet, 7 inches, good enough for second place.
Day two began with the 4x100 meter relays, where the results were mixed for the teams. The ladies quartet of Daley, Alexis Smith, Jasmine Jackson, and Lakeisha Spikes, came close to first place, but had to settle for runner-up honors at a season’s best time of 46.60 seconds, a mere .11 seconds behind winner McMurry. The men fell victim to a costly mistake in the exchange, and failed to finish the race.
Dominique Hoskins ran a gutsy race in the women’s 400 meter finals, crossing the line in second place at 57.75 seconds, a personal best for the sophomore. Cole Rice (48.79) and Dwight White (50.0) took 3rd and 8th place, respectively, in what many consider the toughest race in all of track and field.
Chelsey Thomas (15.17) and Zandra Lake (15.26) took to the 100 meter hurdles and earned 6th and 7th place honors. This also marked the first time the Lady Hawks had more than one person in the women’s 100 meter hurdles in a national championship.
The women’s 100 meter finals saw three Lady Hawks compete and two get on the podium. Lakeisha Spikes (11.85), Alexis Smith (12.36), and Jasmine Jackson (12.41) went 1-2-4, giving Shorter 23 points in the team competition. Spikes and Smith would race again in the women’s 200 final, where both came away with huge personal records. Smith just missed another top-three performance, taking 4th place at 24.89 seconds. Spikes ran from the competition, winning by .70 seconds, breaking the school and NCCAA national record at 23.73 seconds. Her time would currently rank her at 9th in the current NCAA division 2 rankings.
The men wouldn’t be outdone, as Allen Huntley, running in his final championship for the Hawks, took 3rd in both the 100 (10.56) and the 200 (21.02) meter dashes. Micah Reed just missed out on earning points, finishing in 9th place (21.94) in the 200 meter dash final.
Freshman Gregory Roachford served as the lone half miler for the Hawks, and came through with a 1:56.37 finish, good enough for 4th place on the day.
Sarah Jude fought through the women’s 400 meter hurdles and was clipped at the line for first place. Her runner up time of 1:04.16 was less than .10 seconds out of first place.
The final race on the day was the women’s 4x400 meter finals. Jude, along with Hoskins, Smith, and Spikes, finished the event in 3rd place with a time of 3:54.37.
In the field events, Tamala Daley, who has made the record books in the jumps her personal autobiography, jumped for the last time as a Lady Hawk. At the end of the day, she earned 5th place honors in the long jump, going 18 feet, 9.75 inches.
David Johnson’s 6th place effort in the men’s long jump gave the freshman top 8 performances in both the horizontal jumps on the weekend.
Chris Sickafoose and Meagan Smith took part in the men’s shot put and women’s discus, respectively. Competing in their first national championships, both gained experience as Sickafoose finished 20th and Smith turned in an 18th place performance.
As the final scores were tabulated, the men finished in 8th place with 37 points. The women, who won the indoor title, took runner up with an even 100 points. Azusa Pacific University, one of the top athletic programs in the country, and fellow former NAIA rival, won both the men’s and women’s titles.
The Hawks and Lady Hawks look now towards the 2013-14 season, where they’ll welcome back several key performers, and make another push at a national championship.