EL DORADO, KS – The Tritons kicked off the 2018 NJCAA Division I Track and Field Championships in a big way. The men finished day one of three with two National titles. Travis Petersen of Atlantic, IA, ranked number two in the hammer throw most of the season, brought home another national title for himself. Petersen was the indoor national champion in the 35-pound weight throw. On his second throw of the preliminary round he improved on his personal best mark by nearly two meters with a distance of 59.92 meters. He then let one loose on his first toss of the finals to solidify his lead with another personal record of 61.07 meters or 200' 4". Teammate Tyler Lienau also scored a point for the Tritons with an eighth-place finish and mark of 50.06 meters (164-3").
The first running event on the track for the men also proved to be very successful. The men's 4 x 800-meter relay team entered the meet ranked fifth but brought home the gold in 7:32.96, the second fastest time in school history. Isaiah Nicholas led off in 1:56.3, followed by Alex Sanford in 1:51.1, then Mel Obadiah in 1:56.1 and anchored by Brian Bell in 1:49.6.
The men's 4 x 100-meter relay team of Bryant Brown, Dan Oyekunle, Phemelo Matlhabe and Cary Lockhart ran the sixth fastest time in the preliminaries to advance to Saturday's final. Their time of 40.20 was also a new school record for the Tritons.
Other Thursday competitors:
Caleb Kath - Long Jump (14th – 6.58m)
Daequan Travis - Decathlon (DNF)
Eric Maymon - Pole Vault (No Height)
Thomas Zor - 400 hurdles (15th – 53.91)
Tyreck Newman - 400 hurdles (26th – 59.58)
Phemelo Matlhabe – 400 meters (10th – 47.23)
Ndiaga Seck – 400 meters (18th – 47.91)
The women were led in the point scoring by their 4 x 800-meter relay team. The quartet of Aaliyah Regg Wajid (2:20.4), Abeba Sullivan (2:22.4), Agnes Mansaray (2:13.4) and Adva Cohen (2:10.7) finished as national runners up to New Mexico Junior College by only .02 seconds thanks to a huge kick by Cohen down the homestretch. Their time of 9:06.78 was also a new school record for the Tritons.
The biggest event on the track for the Tritons was the women's 10,000-meter run. In the grueling 25-lap contest, all three entrants for the women scored points. The Tritons were led by freshman, Winrose Chesang in second place with a personal best time of 38:33.50. Sophomores Marion Bartilol (39:45.01) and Marta Lukijaniuk (39:48.75) finished up in fifth and sixth places respectively to score a total of 15 team points.
In the field events, Kirsten Leisinger set a new personal best in the hammer throw to finish fourth overall. Her second throw of the day was measured at 50.06 meters or 164' 3". Teammate Maddie Schmoker finished in 12th place with a mark of 42.44m (139-3").
Ayanna Whittaker and Monise Barronette are both on pace for personal best performances in the women's heptathlon. The seven-event heptathlon is contested over the course of two days. On day one, these ladies competed in the 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put and 200-meter dash. Each performance in each event is associated with a point-value. The competitor with the highest cumulative point total after all seven events is the winner. Barronette and Whittaker finished fourth and fifth respectively, overall in the hurdle competition, while both set new personal bests. Whittaker then continued her hot streak with personal bests in the high jump and the shot put. The final event of day one was the 200-meter dash. Barronette turned in the fastest time of the day with a personal best mark of 25.09 while Whittaker set her fourth personal best mark of the day to finish fourth overall with a time of 25.62. In the overall point-standings after day one, Whittaker is in second place with 2598 points, while Barronette is in sixth with 2488 points. Barronette and Whittaker entered the competition not expected to score as they were ranked 12th and 16th respectively.
Other Thursday competitors:
4 x 100 Meter Relay (India McNeill, Marjanae Coley, Amira Davis, Barronette) – 11th (47.26)
Barronette – 400 Hurdles (9th – 1:04.54)
Coley – 400 Meters (19th – 57.73)
McNeill – 400 Meters (21st – 58.10)
After five events scored, Barton County leads the men's competition with 30 points, followed by number one ranked, South Plains with 29.5. Iowa Central is tied with Cloud County for third with 21 points.
After five events scored for the women, number one ranked New Mexico Junior College leads with 30 points, followed closely by Iowa Central with 28 points.