NEW ORLEANS – Northwestern State picked up a couple of individual titles Saturday from Kelsey Frank and Cori Runnels on the second day of the Southland Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships with the potential for several more on the final day of the meet Sunday.
Both NSU teams stood fourth in the team standings with the bulk of running event finals and three field events to be settled Sunday. Coach Mike Heimerman found lots to like after Saturday’s competition, and was excited about Sunday’s opportunities for the Demons and Lady Demons.
“I’m very pleased with nearly everyone, up and down each roster. We had a very good day, we won a couple of events, and we didn’t miss very often on scoring opportunities or qualifying,” said Heimerman. “We’ve got a lot of points in our reach on the track tomorrow and scoring potential in the field events also, so hopefully we can make a run at the top with both the men and women.”
The Lady Demons got personal bests from Frank, a junior, in her javelin win (156-3) and by Runnels, a freshman, in a mild surprise to take the discus (153-4).
Standout sprinter De’Shalyn Jones was, as expected, the fastest qualifier in the 100 (11.50) and 200 (23.74) and pledged to win those events Sunday while also helping the Lady Demons to victories in the 4×100 and 4×400 relays.
“I’m not hoping to win four golds tomorrow,” said the junior, smiling. “I’m planning to win four golds tomorrow.”
The Demons’ dynamic sprint duo, All-Americans Amir James and Micah Larkins, hit their marks. James was the fastest qualifier in the 100 (10.29) and 200 (20.80) while Larkins was second in the 100 (10.32) and fourth in the 200 (21.21).
Defending men’s 400 meter hurdles champion George Flaviano was the fastest qualifier in that race (52.58). Lady Demon 100 meter hurdler Braneshia Payton ran the meet’s fastest preliminary time (13.83) in her specialty.
Madison Morton (second, 1:00.83) and Tamara Style (third, 1:01.42) gave the NSU women the second and third-fastest qualifying marks in the 400 meter hurdles. The Lady Demons got a pair of personal record times in the 800 as Jessica Coleman ranked second (2:14.34) and Erin Wrozek got in the finals with an eighth-place 2:16.64.
The Lady Demons have 39 points, chasing Sam Houston State (70 ½), Stephen F. Austin (69) and McNeese (43) with Lamar fifth at 36. The NSU men own 36 points, trailing SFA (68), Sam Houston (57) and Southeastern Louisiana (41) with McNeese in fifth at 31.
Saturday’s scoring for the Demons came in the shot put with a 3-4 finish from Kyrin Tucker (56-2 ½) and Cedric Paul (55-0 ¼), by Ceasar Stephens (50-2 ¾, fourth) and Jacorious Jeter (48-6 ¾, sixth) in the triple jump, by Ty Shilling (190-5, fifth) and Collin Milton (183-3, eighth) in the javelin and with a sixth-place 162-2 from Tucker in the discus.
Along with the two 10-point wins from Frank and Runnels, the NSU women added nine points in the shot put with a 48-10 ¼ personal record from Destiney Myers for second and a 43-0 ½ eighth-place mark by Gerianna Lyons. Summer Thomas added a fifth-place 130-1 in the javelin.