Freshman thrower places second in the shot scoring in his first conference competition
New Orleans – You might say Mother’s Day came one day early for Ms. L’Trentis Smith. She drove from Houston, Texas to see her son, UNO thrower Nicholas Mitchell, perform in the shot at the Southland Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The trip down I-10 East was well worth it, because like a “good son” should, Nicholas made his mother proud.
The freshman turned in the best performance of his life, placing second in the shot with an effort of 56’ 6.75”, not just a personal best, but shattering the school record set 30 years ago by Brian Suter (53’1.75”). Mitchell’s performance was good enough for eighth points for the Privateers, the first points of the meet for New Orleans.
He credits the presence of his mother for the way he performed on this day.
“My mom is my good luck charm!” beamed Mitchell. “She came to McNeese last month and I had a personal record in the hammer and today it was a personal best by two feet in the shot, so next year she has to come to every meet.”
Mitchell, who suffered a dislocated index finger on his throwing hand during the indoor season, says he knew he was ready for an outstanding day of competition. The time had come and he was ready to deliver.
“I was really pumped because we were really working toward this all year. The throw I had today should have come like two weeks ago,” said the freshman from Chicago. “This was the last meet of the year so I had to go all out, I knew it was going to be a really good day, and it was.”
Mitchell led the competition until the fifth round when Southland Conference Champion Alex Young of Southeastern Louisiana uncorked the winning heave (57’-11.75”).
Assistant track and field coach Eric Flores says you can’t underestimate what the Chicago native accomplished.
“It means everything to score at a conference meet as a freshman and I don’t think a lot of people saw him coming. But with his attitude and the way he works, you could tell he was coming. I couldn’t be more proud or happier for this great young man.”
Ms. L’Trentis Smith is also happy and proud of her son. And UNO track and field is happy and thankful to have her son in the fold.
Happy Mother’s Day Ms. Smith.
Day two of the Southland Conference Outdoor Track and Field championships was also a banner day for Michael Nicholls. The conference’s defending champion in high hurdles seems intent on holding on to his crown, fashioning the fastest qualifying time in the trials, 13.82 seconds. It was a personal and school record for the sophomore from Barbados who won the conference championship last year in 13.91.
Nicholls made it two Southland crowns in a row indoors and is looking for back-to-back gold medals outdoors. The 110-meter high hurdles final is set for 12:50 p. m., Sunday.
The University of New Orleans serves as host school of this year’s Southland Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships. It’s the first time UNO has hosted a conference championship since joining the conference in 2013.
Day three of the 2017 Southland Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships opens with field events at 10:00 a. m. and running events at Noon.
You can watch a live stream of Sunday’s competition on the Southland Digital Network via southland.org/live.