Northwestern State continues outdoor season with trip to TCU

FORT WORTH, Texas—The Northwestern State track team aims to build on a strong first outdoor meet when it heads to Texas for the TCU Alumni Invite. 

The two-day meet begins Friday at noon at the Lowdon Track Complex with the men’s and women’s hammer throw. The discus is also on Friday before other field events and the running events on Saturday. 

“We’ll get more back to normal this weekend,” head coach Mike Heimerman said. “We’ll be bringing pretty much the whole squad to TCU. 

“As nice as it was to just have the throwers down and not have as many people to worry about, it will be nice to have the whole group and have all the energy at TCU. I’m really looking forward to it.” 

Heimerman is coming off being named Southland Conference Women’s Track & Field Coach of the Year on Monday after guiding the Lady Demons to the team title. 

Sanaria Butler also earned a superlative award, being named women’s indoor freshman of the year. 

While it will be tough to top his performance in Lake Charles this past weekend, thrower Djimon Gumbs will try. 

Gumbs tossed a 205-11 in the discus, which currently leads the country in the event, more than four meters further than UCLA’s Aidan Elbettar, who is in second place. 

Gumbs shattered both his own school record of 193-3 and the SLC record of 198-09, set by Abilene Christian’s Kai Schmidt in 2019, and the BVI record set by Eldred Henry in 2014. 

Tarajh Hudson currently ranks fifth nationally in the discus with a 182-8. 

Gumbs’ shot put distance of 63-1.5 is a personal record, but fell just short of the school record in the event of 65-8.5, set by John Campbell in 1982. 

“Hopefully he’ll continue to throw further,” Heimerman said. “I don’t know if it will happen this weekend due to the weather, but he has some more big throws in him coming down the road. It is very exciting. He listened to everything I told him.” 

In her first meet at NSU, Kaitlyn Washington was impressive, winning the discus in at the Cowboy Relays, posting a 145-0. 

“It was big for her,” Heimerman said. “She doesn’t show many emotions, but she has been working really hard this year. She doesn’t compete at an indoor event as of yet, as she has been just focusing on the discus as a freshman. 

“That was her first collegiate competition period, so for her to throw a personal record was great to see. I think all of her throws beat her top high school mark.” 

Whereas the focus was more on the throwers in Lake Charles and giving them work to start the outdoor season, the Demons and Lake Demons will bring much of the team to Fort Worth. 

Zachaeus Beard is fresh off being named a Second Team Indoor All-American after running a 6.56 in the 60-meter dash in the season opener at the Corky Classic. 

It will be tough to out-do her performance in the SLC Indoor Championships, but Lynell Washington will aim to do just that. 

Washington won gold for the Lady Demons in the 60-meters and 200-meters to help lead them to their first conference team title in team history. She also tallied a meet record in the 60-meter prelims with a blistering 7.32. 

In addition to Northwestern State and the host TCU, Baylor, SMU, Grambling, Louisiana Tech, North Texas, UT Arlington, Hill College, Texas Wesleyan and Arkansas-Pine Bluff are all at the meet. 

Following the meet, NSU heads back to the Lone Star State for the Prairie View A&M Relays on March 25.