With six national top 25 event rankings, led by Micah Larkins and Jasmyn Steels in the nation’s top five, the Northwestern State track and field teams wrap up the regular season Saturday at the LSU Alumni Gold meet before returning home to host the Southland Conference Outdoor Championships May 3-5.
Running events Saturday at LSU’s Bernie Moore Track Stadium begin at 8:45 a.m. with the women’s 3000 meter steeplechase while field events are scheduled to begin at 9 with the women’s discus.
About 30 schools are expected to compete along with numerous professional athletes. Notable programs listed include Arkansas, Florida, Clemson, and vMississippi State along with in-state entries Grambling, Louisiana Tech, UL Lafayette, UL Monroe, McNeese, New Orleans, Nicholls, Southern, Southeastern Louisiana and Tulane.
The Demons and Lady Demons are fresh off a big day at home in the Leon Johnson NSU Invitational last Friday where NSU competitors combined for 12 wins, two school records, a meet record and 35 personal-bests.
Sixth-year head track and field coach Mike Heimerman said that while his team is in good shape, there’s still some work to be done.
“We’ve got some athletes that will be in their key events, and some that will try improve in other ones,” said Heimerman. “A lot of sprinters are going to focus on the 200 this week. You will still see a lot of horsepower out there in a number of different events. It’s all about working for conference.”
NSU has six athletes ranked nationally entering the weekend. Larkins, the two-time All-American is fifth in the 100 meter dash (10.11) and 14th as part of the men’s 4×100 relay team (39.51) alongside Eddie Clarke, Javin Arrington and fellow relay All-American Tre’Darius Carr. Larkins’ 100 time also leads the Southland Conference while the relay team ranks second.
Steels, the NCAA Indoor long jump champion Jasmyn Steels, is third nationally with her 21-4 ¾ best that stands second in the conference, led by Incarnate Word’s Sarea Alexander with an NCAA-best 21-8.
Demon senior JaCorious Jeter ranks 19th in the country and first in the SLC (25-4 ½) in the men’s long jump.
Other Southland leaders include Tremayne Flagler in the 110 hurdles (13.98), Collin Milton in the javelin (204-4), Natashia Jackson in the 400 (53.69), the women’s 4×100 relay (45.49, Deja Moore, Kimani Evans, Ona Giles, Jackson) and Kelsey Frank in the javelin (163-5).
Remaining Demons and Lady Demons ranking highly in the SLC include Markeit Steverson Jr. in the long jump (second, 24-9), Ceaser Stephens in the triple jump (second, 50-10), the women’s 4×400 relay team (second, 3:44.91, Courtney Willis, Jackson, Diana Granados, Jayla Fields), LaRon James in the long jump (third, 24-5 ¾), Slavoski Wright in the 800 (third, 1:53.43) and Lauren Clarke in both the high jump and triple jump (second, 5-8/third, 41-9 ¼).
In last season’s trip to the LSU Alumni Gold, NSU swept the triple jump, with Stephens recording a career-best 52-0 ½ among eight podium appearances and 28 top eight finishes in a meet featuring national powers along with lots of strong regional competition.
The teams take next week off before hosting the Southland Outdoor Championships May 3-5 at the Walter P. Ledet Track Complex.