NEW ORLEANS – Nobody kept up with Northwestern State’s Jones on Sunday.
Junior sprinter DeShalyn Jones met her audacious goal of four goal medals, dominating the 100 and 200 meter dashes and running powerful legs on 4×100 and 4×400 relay victories, leading the Lady Demons to a program-record 133 points in a third-place team finish at the Southland Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
A day earlier, Jones declared she would win her four finals on Sunday. She left no doubt while claiming High Point Scorer honors, collecting 25, with times of 11.32 in the 100 and 23.16 in the 200. She ran the second legs on the relays, contributing to comfortable winning margins.
“What can I say, other than outstanding? What she did was what she said she would do, and it was something to watch,” said Lady Demons coach Mike Heimerman.
“It was a lot of work, but it was worth it at the end of the day,” said Jones, who won the Southland 400 meter crown last spring but chose to focus on shorter sprints for this meet. “I got great help on the relays and we had so many outstanding performances in other events, so I’m happy. I’m tired, but happy.”
“For our team to score 133 is pretty phenomenal. We didn’t have a perfect meet, we left some points back home, but I could hardly ask for more from a team that has nearly everybody back next season,” said Heimerman.
He was also proud of the NSU men, who finished fourth, one point shy of third, with 89 points.
“We have high expectations, and we thought we’d do better, but we still had a great weekend. I’m very, very proud of how our guys competed,” said Heimerman. “In both genders, we’ve been in the mix for team championships for two straight years, and I’m very confident we’ll be stronger in the future.”
The NSU men opened Sunday’s racing with a victory in the 4×100, with 2016 All-Americans Amir James, Micah Larkins, George Flaviano and Ty Shilling running together for the first time in several weeks. They clocked 40.16 as the Demons won the event for the third straight year, with Shilling and James involved in all three.
The Demons got three silver medal finishes. Flaviano ran a personal best 51.06 in the 400 meter hurdles. Larkins (10.35) and James (10.43) came in 2-3 in the 100 and flipped places in the 200, with James getting nipped at the line 20.61-20.65 by Sam Houston’s Chris Jefferson, and Larkins taking third in 21.02.
After taking fourth in the 4×400, when Larkins had to step sideways and jump to evade a sprawling competitor in the exchange zone, James and Larkins each scored 17 ¾ points while Flaviano contributed 11 ¾.
On the women’s side, freshman Natashia Jackson tallied 21 points while junior college transfer Tamara Style added 15. Each ran on the winning relay teams and posted individual victories with personal best times.
Jackson roared to the 400 dash title in a personal-best 53.85 while Style led a 1-2 sweep in the 400 hurdles, clocking 59.88 to edge teammate Madison Morton (1:00.04, also a personal record). Jackson added a PR in the 200, taking third in 23.68.
Braneshia Payton, third in the 100 meter hurdles (13.97), ran the opening leg ahead of Jones, Style and Jackson in the 4×100. Style, Jones, Jackson and Morton combined for the 4×400 win in 3:40.66, with Jones posting a blistering 52.3 leg that carried NSU from 15 meters behind to 10 meters ahead.
The Lady Demons picked up a silver medal performance by Quanese Jones-Young with a 5-7 ¾ high jump clearance. Jessica Coleman (fifth, 2:13.74) and Erin Wrozek (seventh, 2:15.15) posted personal record 800 meter times for the second consecutive day.
The NSU men also got Sunday scoring from the high jump, with Tre’ Evans taking seventh (6-7).
Stephen F. Austin won a tight battle (166-164 ½) with rival Sam Houston State for the women’s team championship. NSU’s third-place 133 total more than doubled fourth-place Lamar (66) and was more than Lamar and fifth-place McNeese (58) combined.
The Lady Demons’ 133 points were the most scored by the meet’s third-place team in 23 years. It marked the third straight year NSU has been no worse than third in the women’s standings. The Lady Demons have been fourth or better for four straight years and six of the last seven.
Jones’ 25 points outscored the bottom four teams combined in the 13-team standings.
In the men’s team standings, Sam Houston topped SFA 179-169, followed by Southeastern Louisiana (90), NSU (89) and McNeese (67) among the 12 teams scoring.