Northwestern State begins indoor season at Corky Classic

A familiar venue awaits the Northwestern State track and field teams, as they begin the indoor season at the Corky Classic. 

For the third consecutive season NSU travels to the campus of Texas Tech in the indoor season. The two-day event begins Friday at the Sports Performance Center. 

Competition for the Demons and Lady Demons begins at 2:30 on Friday with the women’s weight throw, followed by the women’s pole vault, men’s/women’s long jump and men’s weight throw. 

The events pick back up again Saturday morning at 11 with the women’s shot put and women’s mile and finishing with the 4×400 meter relay. 

“It’s fun to not just practice,” head coach Mike Heimerman said. “We are practicing with a purpose now. That is when the fruits of their labor will really start paying off. These kids are ready to go. They are champing at the bit, ready to do anything other than just practice. It’s a great facility and there will be some great competition.” 

While trying to earn spots on the podium is important, the most goal is self-improvement as the teams work toward the indoor championships in February. 

In last year’s opener, Djimon Gumbs made the best of his debut with NSU, finishing first in the Ted Nelson Invitational in the shot put, posting a then-school-record 57-10.25 in the process. 

Heimerman is excited about the newcomers and is excited for being able to watch them grow throughout the season. 

“A lot of the newcomers have caught my eye so far,” he said. “We had a phenomenal recruiting class. Everybody who is new on the team is super good. They might have numbers in their head that they might not reach, but this is just the first meet and it’s a long ways until March. It’s the start of our process and No. 1 thing for us is to trust the process.” 

Gumbs finished his impressive junior season with a trip to the NCAA Championships this past spring. While he aims to improve upon his record-breaking 2022 campaign, Destine Scott tries to do the same, as he leads the sprinters. 

Scott, an All-Louisiana choice a season ago, leads a talented group of sprinters. In his last indoor meet in 2022, he won at the SLC Indoor Championships in the 400 meters with a time of 46.96. 

“Destine has done a phenomenal job leading his group,” Heimerman said. “He is one of the best sprinters returning in the conference and he has taken his group and put them under his wing. We have also brought in a couple transfers who have stepped up and helped in that leadership role as well.” 

On the women’s side, Aarika Lister battled injury throughout the season in 2022. She participated seven meets during the indoor/outdoor seasons but is back and healthy for the season. Lister has been a major leader for the women’s sprinters. 

“Aarika has really stepped up big for us leading the young women’s sprinters and kind of showing them the ropes. She was hurt last year, but this year, knock on wood, she been healthy. I’m thankful she has been here. We have a big freshman class, but she has done a phenomenal job with them.” 

While Heimerman wants the team do have an excellent showing to begin the season, he Is focused on improvement from meet-to-meet and upon last year, and most importantly, no injuries. 

“You’d love for these kids to open up better than they opened up last year, which is the first step. The main thing is going and having a good meet and we stay healthy.”  

A total of 22 schools are taking part in the event. Along with NSU, among the teams that are in the field are Baylor, as well as Southland Conference foes Incarnate Word and newcomer Texas A&M-Commerce. 

Photo Credit: Mike Wade Photography