NATCHITOCHES – The Northwestern State Track & Field teams only have three meets remaining before traveling to New Orleans, Louisiana, for the Southland Conference Outdoor Championships on May 12-14, but a few notable competitors have already made their mark on the national and conference scene this spring.
NSU has combined for 10 top-50 NCAA marks and 15 top-three SLC marks throughout the season.
De’Shalyn Jones has been the catalyst for the Lady Demons success, as she is just one of three athletes in Division I to lead a conference in three separate events, the 100 (11.50), 200 (23.12) and 400 (53.61).
Jones’ school record times of 23.12 and 53.61 are also prominent on a nationwide scale, ranking 31st and 50th in the country.
The junior from Tyler, Texas, is also a force on the Southland Conference leading Lady Demon 4×100 and 4×400 relay squads, both of whom rank top-50 in the U.S.
The 4×1 team of Jones, Braneshia Payton, Natashia Jackson and Tamara Style posted a time of 45.32 at TCU, ranking 50th in the nation.
The 4×4 team of Jones, Jackson, Daeshon Gordon and Madison Morton’s time of 3:41.09 ranks a tick higher, coming in at 46th nationally.
While Gordon is a key cog on the 4×4 team, the LSU transfer is a hurdler at heart.
The junior from Pompano Beach, Florida, currently leads the SLC in both the 100 and 400 hurdles with times of 13.38 and 59.96, while her short hurdle time ranks 34th in the country.
For the Demons, it is All-American Amir James leading the way with his individual performances in the 100m and 200m, both of which rank top-20 nationally.
The junior’s 200 time of 20.56 ranks 17th across the country and first in the conference, while his mark of 10.20 in the 100 is just outside the top ten, 14th, and is second in the SLC.
Fellow All-American Micah Larkins joins James at 14th on the 100m list, thanks to his blistering 10.20 at the Texas Relays, which is also good for second in the Southland.
Larkins, a sophomore from Haughton, Louisiana, also posted a 20.98 in the 200, ranking second in the SLC.
The pair, combined with Terrance Johnson and Ty Shilling, form the Southland’s fastest 4×100 team after posting the nation’s 28th best time of 39.92.
Two NSU field competitors, Kelsey Frank in the javelin and Ceaser Stephens in the triple jump also obtained top-50 national marks with their performances thus far.
Frank, a native of Oberlin, LA, has three wins in her specialty event, highlighted by her 155-01.25 throw at the McNeese Relays, which ranks 45th nationwide and first in the Southland.
Stephens, an Allen County Community College transfer, owns the SLC’s top-ranked mark in the triple of 50-10.75, which stands at 36th in the country.
NSU also has seven collective performances that rank top-three in the Southland Conference, six of which belong to the field units.
The lone sprinter is senior All-American George Flaviano, whose 400-meter hurdles time of 52.97 is second in the SLC.
Junior Kyrin Tucker has sat atop the shot put conference standings since his throw of 58-02.50 in March, while three Demon jumpers linger just outside the top spot.
Deylon Key and Jacorious Jeter are second and third in the long jump, with Key’s mark of 24-01.00 just edging out Jeter’s leap of 23-11.50.
High jumper Tre’ Evans is also third in the conference with his mark of 6-08.75.
For the Lady Demons, Cori Runnels ranks second in the shot put (46-11.00) and third in the discus (147-09.00).
Quanese Jones-Young rounds out NSU’s top-three appearances with her second-ranked mark in the high jump of 5-08.00