Thursday, five Northwestern State track and field athletes were basking in the afterglow of earning All-America honors at the NCAA Outdoor Championships Wednesday evening.
They came in nerve-jangling fashion, for everyone but the athletes themselves.
The top 16 finishers at each event at the NCAA Championships earn All-America recognition from the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. The top eight are first-team All-Americans, the next eight earn second-team status.
Senior Emmanuel Williams was blasé’ as he faced a final preliminary attempt that required a much-improved long jump mark for his chances to survive in the competition. He was carefree about 45 minutes later, facing another final jump that would determine if he was first, or second-team.
Freshman Micah Larkins and Amir James had no choice to turn the page and focus on their 100 meter dash preliminary in the half-hour after it seemed their 4×100 meter relay performance was on the outside looking in at All-America status.
Their relay teammates, juniors George Flaviano and Ty Shilling, were left sitting in the stands at Hayward Field, trusting their coaches, otherwise oblivious to the mishap that ultimately led to NSU’s second 4×100 All-America outing in four years.
For the relay team, anticipation was the overriding feeling Thursday. They all return next season.