Gumbs’ school record shot put highlights NSU’s Ted Nelson Invitational performance

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – While laying the first pieces of the foundation of the indoor season was the goal for the Northwestern State track and field teams Saturday, the Demons and Lady Demons had their share of moments at the Texas A&M Ted Nelson Invitational.

And no one had more of a memorable moment than Djimon Gumbs.

In his first meet as a Demon, Gumbs gave Northwestern State its first individual win of the 2022 indoor season, posting an indoor school record mark of 57-10.25 in the shot put. Gumbs’ mark was more than four feet farther than runner-up Kevin Steward of Stephen F. Austin.

Gumbs and his twin brother, Diamate, each had top-two finishes as Diamate Gumbs took second in the men’s weight throw (56-8).

“Being a greedy coach, I was joking with them,” head coach Mike Heimerman said. “I gave them both Bs. They had some fouls, but it was a good day. I was very happy with everybody. We could have executed better in each event, but that’s what we’re learning. We learned what we need to work on and get better.”

The twins’ efforts led a strong performance in the field events for the Demons, who also got a podium finish from Nikaoli Williams in the long jump. Williams, who made his indoor debut in an NSU uniform, turned in a leap of 23-8.25, finishing behind UTSA’s Sam Healy, who jumped 24-6.5 on his first attempt and saw that mark stand up throughout the competition.

Andrew Gilreath, an Arkansas transfer, gave the Demons another top-seven finisher, leaping 22-8.5 in his Northwestern State debut.

The Demons picked up a third-place finish from Ebenezer Aggrey in the 400 meters, clocking a 49.15. NSU saw defending champion Kie’Ave Harry win his 60-meter preliminary heat before finishing fourth with a time of 6.81 in both the preliminaries and the finals.

Payten Vidourek clocked an indoor personal-best 1:57.29 in the 800.

The Lady Demons enjoyed a similar type of day at the Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium.

Kristin McDuffie finished second in the weight throw with a mark of 55-11.75. McDuffie was the defending champion in the event but saw UTSA’s Acasia Atwood increase her throws in four of the final five rounds, topping out at 59-9.75 on her final throw to earn the gold.

McDuffie’s performance led a strong field effort from the Lady Demons, who produced three of the top seven pole vault efforts.

Annemarie Broussard led the trio, finishing third with a 12-8.25 mark. Parish Kitto (11-8.5) tied for fifth while Karlyn Trahan (11-8.5) finished in a tie for seventh.

“I was very happy with the shot put and the men’s and women’s weight throw,” Heimerman said. “Vault had another great day. Those girls are really, really jumping some big bars. It hasn’t been really ideal temperatures for us to practice outside, so it was good to see where we’re at.”

On the track, sprinter Lynell Washington matched Harry’s performance on the men’s side, finishing in fourth place in the women’s 60 meters, clocking a 7.54 in the finals.

“Lynell hasn’t been able to practice very much,” Heimerman said. “In light of that, her performance was really a bright spot.”

The Lady Demon quartet of Taylor Shaw, Maygan Shaw, Erin Wilson and Janiel Moore turned in a fifth-place finish in the 4×400 relay with a time of 3:53.49.

Aliyah Carswell gave Northwestern State a seventh-place finish in the women’s 60-meter hurdles, running an 8.86 in the finals.

Competing unattached, former NSU All-American and national champion Jasmyn Steels finished fourth in the long jump, leaping 19-9.5.

Northwestern State returns to action Jan. 22 back in College Station in the Texas Aggie Invite.

Photo: Kristin McDuffie finished second in the weight throw at the Texas A&M Ted Nelson Invitational on Saturday.