Men Earn Program High as MEAC Indoor Runner-Up; Women Fifth
LANDOVER, Md. - Both Bethune-Cookman track & field squads recorded program-high finishes on the final day of competition at the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Indoor Track & Field Championships. The men’s final ranking came down to a shootout in one event, as they fell just five points short of being crowned champions, coming in second. The women’s squad finished fifth, matching last year’s rank.
“Wow,” Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Donald Cooper exclaimed. “I am tremendously proud of both the men’s and women's teams. It’s a little bittersweet for the men to get so close to raising the championship trophy and come up short. It was a tough finish, but hats off to Hampton and North Carolina A&T for such a close battle. We can do a lot better and that's what we will continue to work toward.”
The deciding event in question was the men’s triple jump, in which Bethune-Cookman registered consecutive finishes from third through fifth, led by La’Quan Howard with a career-best mark of 15.22m (49-11.25 ft.), followed by Kenneth Fisher’s career-topping 14.98m (49-01.75 ft.) and Michael Tiller at 14.86m (48-09.00 ft.). A big push on the final jump by event champion, Coppin State's Shane Green, bumped all contenders down the rankings.
Aiding the men to their strongest finish in program history, while earning 109 team points, B-CU multi-event athletes went 1-2-3 in the heptathlon, led by Keron Stoute, who defended his title, earning 4,778 points. Across the heptathlon landscape, he picked up event wins in the high jump and shot put, while finishing second in the 60m, 60m hurdles and long jump. On his heels throughout the competition, Curtis Riggins earned 4,697, whose top event finishes were first in the 1,000m and a second-place tie in the pole vault. Rounding out the trio was Nnamdi Davis, who earned 4,679.
Freshman Ed’Ricus Williams also earned gold in the men’s high jump, breaching the seven-foot barrier for the first time in his collegiate career with a 2.16m (7-01.00 ft.) finish to lead the field. Stoute (2.01m - 6-07.00 ft.) and Tiller (2.01m - 6-07.00 ft.) both added scoring performances in the event, ranking third and fourth, respectively.
Leading the women’s team and completing the B-CU sweep of the multi-events, Deidra Jordan earned first place in the women’s pentathlon, registering a 3,529-point performance, highlighted by a first-place finish in the event’s high jump and second in the long jump.
Shooting up the rankings in the finals and dropping times in both event finals, Tristie Johnson moved up in both the 60m and 200m finals. In the 60m, Johnson sliced .09 seconds from her preliminary time to finish second at 7.43, falling just .02 seconds behind first-place finisher Gayon Evans (Maryland Eastern Shore). In the 200m, Johnson again set an indoor personal best, finishing second with a time of 24.30, falling just .01 seconds behind Hampton’s Le'Quisha Parker.
Nyajock Pan logged a fourth-place finish in the women’s 3,000m run, dropping nearly 16 seconds off her time for a 10:44.05 performance.
Tremayne Banks collected a pair of fifth-place finishes in the 60m and 60m hurdles, with a time of 6.92 seconds in the 60m and 8.10 in the hurdles. Banks also registered a sixth-place performance in 200m, running a time of 22.00.
In the men’s distance events, Ricy Brown came in fifth in the mile run, running a time of 4:24.98, while Daniel Ketter ranked sixth in the men’s 3,000m run in a time of 9:05.16.
In the lone throwing event of the day, Desiree Richardson threw 13.57m (44-06.25 ft.) in the women’s shot put for fifth place. On the men’s side, Barry Kimbrough was seventh with a career-best mark of 15.17m (49-09.25 ft.).
The women’s pole vault saw B-CU record three scoring performances as Shantell Townsend (2.74m - 8-11.75 ft.), Keyoshia Harris (2.74m - 8-11.75 ft.) and Jessica DeRoux (2.59m - 8-06.00 ft.) held down sixth through eighth.
Rayanna Johnson was seventh in the women’s triple jump at 11.37m (37-03.75 ft.).
In the day’s relays, the women’s 4 x 400m team (Keyona Thomas, Shalaneya Bryant, Tristie Johnson and Breonca Reid) finished sixth with a combined time of 3:50.78. The men’s team in the 4 x 400m (Banks, Brown, Jamel Davis and Rashaard Brown) was seventh in 3:22.57.
While the men finished second in the final standings, the women finished fifth with 63 points, just one point shy of Norfolk State in fourth.
“We have a great support system on campus and we won't stop until we get the Wildcat Nation a championship,” Cooper said. “My staff did an awesome job and the athletes responded. The freshman class really stepped up and our veterans did their jobs. I am especially proud of the women's team for their fight. Losing Kadian [Dunkley, 2013 graduation] and Sasha [Smallwood, injury], who combined for 34 points last year, and to still improve, it’s a testament of who we are becoming, championship contenders.”
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