HUMBLE, Texas – The Northwestern State men and women piled up the field event points and flooded the finals with sprinters Saturday on the second day of the Southland Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
The men collected three field event medals with the women adding to more before a total of 20 sprinters and hurdlers qualified for Sunday’s finals, the most of any school by far.
The Demons sit in second place with 56 points and will aim to track down leader UIW, a distance and field-heavy squad that’s scored 76 points.
The third-place women scored 42.5 points, and with McNeese likely out of reach with 106 points, NSU will have second-place UIW in their sights (83.5). The final day of competition Sunday begins at 10 a.m.
“The men are sitting in a good spot. We were hoping to be within 30 points heading into the last day, and we should score a lot of points Sunday with the most sprinters out of any school,” said NSU coach Mike Heimerman. “We have to go out and execute, but I love our chances.
“The women are in a good spot as well. We have a shot to finish second. The energy today was out of this world with everybody cheering for everybody else. It’s a great day to a coach.”
Pole vaulter Annemarie Broussard made history on two fronts Saturday.
The junior captured her fourth straight pole vault title, becoming the fourth SLC women to accomplish that feat. Her 13-9.75 gives her the school record by herself after she was tied with Reagan Darbonne at 13-9.25.
Broussard was joined on the medal stand by Karlyn Trahan (personal record 12-7.5) with a bronze while Madison Brown (12-3.5) grabbed fourth and Parish Kitto sixth (11-11.75).
“Annemarie had two phenomenal jumps at the next bar, too, so I know she’ll clear 14 feet by the end of the season,” Heimerman said. “The other three had great meets as well. It was a big event for us.”
In the men’s shot put, the only way most could tell the Gumbs twins apart was by the color of the medal around their necks.
Djimon Gumbs snagged gold with a throw of 60-7.75 with Diamante Gumbs taking silver with 57 feet as the competition were three feet back of the silver Gumbs.
Tarajh Hudson added to the depth with a personal best 51-5.50, placing sixth.
“Djimon was nervous because he kept thinking about his bad indoor championships,” Heimerman said. “Even though the technique wasn’t there today, he still threw nearly 61 feet.
“Diamante had the second best throw of his life to take silver. Tarajh was trying to do too much because he wanted third, but he still had a big throw and helped us get 21 points in the event.”
NSU claimed its first gold medal of the championships as Nikaoli Williams leapt to the triple jump title with a distance of 49-8.5. Williams put down a nearly 49 foot jump on his opening attempt that would have won gold, but he dropped his medal-winning mark for good measure in the finals.
Teammate Andrew Gilreath tried to work through an injury in hopes of more team points, but Gilreath wasn’t able to record a mark.
“Nikaoli hurt his hip on the first jump, and he had to pass on a few jumps to get it worked on,” Heimerman said. “Then he hit one late to solidify it. He’s really putting it all together now.”
Williams was one of many sprints highlights as he clocked a 10.24 in the 100 meters, one of three Demons to advance to Sunday’s finals.
Kie’Ave Harry led the way with a 10.17 to finish second overall and will be joined by Simon Wulff, who won his heat with a 10.44 to automatically advance. Seniors Tre’Darius Carr and Javin Arrington clocked personal bests of 10.37 and 10.44, respectively, but didn’t advance on time.
“Both the men’s and women’s side did a lot of good things in the sprints and hurdles,” Heimerman said. “It puts us in a strong position on Sunday in the finals.”
Lynell Washington was the fastest preliminary runner in both the 100 and 200 meters.
Washington paced the 100 meters field with an 11.46 while Janiel Moore (11.72) and Taylor Shaw (11.78) finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
All three Lady Demons advanced to the 200 meters finals with Washington clocking a 23.96. Maygan Shaw placed third with a 24.40 and Taylor Shaw seventh with a 24.80.
Maygan Shaw, who won gold in the indoor 400 meters as a true freshman, was the queen of the 400 meters preliminaries with a personal record 54.63, which topped the field by nearly one second. Erin Wilson moved on with a 57.29 to place sixth.
Despite NSU 200 meters favorite Harry false starting, the Demons still put three runners into the 200 meter finals.
Two Demons were automatic advancers as winners of their heats as Destine Scott (second overall) posted a 20.89 and Dylan Swain (fourth) won his heat with a personal record 21.16. Wulff was the final runner to break into the finals, advancing on time with a 21.17.
Three of four Demons advanced to the 400 meter finals led by a dazzling performance from Scott. Scott logged the fastest prelims time with a 46.52, which is third all-time in NSU history.
Junior Charles posted a personal record 48.20 to finish fifth with Ebenezer Aggrey (sixth) right behind with a 48.27.
The Lady Demons continued their success in the hurdles.
Janiel Moore cruised to a 400 hurdles preliminary win with a 1:00.48, which beat the field by three seconds.
Orsciana Beard annihilated her 100 hurdles best mark by half a second when she clocked a 14.04 to finish sixth. Aliyah Carswell placed seventh with a 14.05 despite hitting the majority of her hurdles.
Beard scored a point in the triple jump with a 38-11.50, placing eighth.
The Lady Demons claimed four points in the shot put with Carnitra Mackey and Olivia Valliere each posted personal bests.
Mackey’s 45-2.5 finished sixth and Valliere’s 44-1.25 placed eighth.
Photo: Matthew Bonnette