Northwestern State wins two events, set 12 personal bests on final day of TCU Alumni Invite

FORT WORTH, Texas—Several personal bests were set as the Northwestern State track & field teams continued a strong start to the outdoor season on a cold, windy day on the final day of the TCU Alumni Invite at the Lowdon Track Complex. 

“Overall, it was a good day considering the conditions,” head coach Mike Heimerman said. “It was very cold, windy and overcast. I was very happy with how everyone competed and supported each other. For those kids to perform well today shows that they will do very well this season.” 

A total of 12 personal records were set, including a pair by Austin Simoneaux and Abria Paul. 

In the men’s 200-meter, Simoneaux posted a personal best 21.40, finishing in fourth place, leading three Demons in the top 10. 

Cyrus Jacobs (21.42) placed fifth and Destine-Unique Scott (21.76) finished ninth in the event. 

Simoneaux also added a personal best in the 100-meters, running a 10.56, good enough for sixth place. 

On the women’s side in the 200-meters, Paul was one of three Lady Demons to earn a personal best. Vanessa Balde’s (24.08) second-place finish led the charge with Sanaria Butler (24.36) and Paul (27.32) also earning personal bests. 

Paul also earned a personal best in the long jump, posting an 18-4.5 for a fifth-place finish. Jaslyn Smith (18-7.25) added a personal best, finishing third, and Carolin Bielert (17-11.5) tied a personal best. Three finished in the top 10 in the event, as Victoria Byrd (18-4.5) and Butler (18-0.25) joined Smith and Paul. 

Maygan Shaw continued her strong 2023 season, winning the women’s 400-meter dash, running a 54.71. She was also a part of the 4×100 relay team that came in second. Along with Balde, Aarika Lister, and Lynell Washington, the group ran a 45.62. 

“Maygan showed she is strong in the 400 because the wind was blowing in her face the last 100-meters,” Heimerman said. “Lynell looked smooth in her 100-meters. Vanessa and Sanaria looked great in the 200-meters. 

“Like I said, it was a very good day considering the crappy weather. I am very impressed with this group’s mental toughness. Hopefully we will have warmer weather next week but we can’t do much about Mother Nature.” 

Washington continued her outstanding 2023 campaign with a 100-meter personal best, running a 11.44 for second place. 

In the 800-meter run, Ceyda Bayur had a strong outing, finishing second with a time of 2:19.47, a personal best for the freshman. 

On the men’s side, NSU won one of the tightest races of the meet, as the 4×100 relay team of Destine-Unique Scott, Mikkel Johansson, Dylan Swain and Cyrus Jacobs triumphed by .002 over TCU, running a 40.65. The ‘B’ team of Taj Morris, Galen Loyd, Justin Walden and Simoneaux finished fourth with a time of 41.49. 

Morris had a strong performance in the 110-meter hurdles, running a 14.33, good for second place. 

Desmond Duncan and Loyd led the Demons in the 400-meter dash. Duncan ran a 49.57 for fourth place and Loyd placed seventh with a time of 48.86. 

In the field events, Ashley Duffus and Randy Kelly added to the personal bests set. 

Duffus was one of two to finish in the top five in women’s javelin. Duffus threw a persona; best of 138-09, which placed second. Akira Phillip placed fifth with a 118-03. 

Randy Kelly posted a personal-best 21-11.75 in the long jump, which placed fourth. It was one of two that finished in the top four in the event, joining Adam Lindo (22-0.75), who placed third. 

Kelly also had a strong performance in the high jump, clearing 6-8.75, which was second. 

Madison Brown also finished second in the women’s pole vault, clearing 12-1.5. 

In the men’s shot put, Djimon Gumbs (55-5.5) placed third, while Justin Craft (47-4.25) finished sixth. 

On the women’s side in the shot put, the Lady Demons placed three in the top six, led by Carnitra Mackey. 

Mackey (46-0.75) finished fourth. Olivia Valliere (43-3.25) placed right behind her in fifth place and  Deonmonique Granville (42-9.5) finished right behind Valliere in sixth place. 

Rei Parks posted a fourth-place finish in the men’s javelin with a distance of 152-00. 

Andrew Gilreath placed fifth in the triple jump, posting a 46-10.75. 

Next up for the Demons and Lady Demons is a trip back to Texas for the Prairie View A&M Relays, which take place March 25. 

PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Wade Photography