Track and Field team doesn’t come home empty-handed

Michael Piatt at the pole vault. (Photo by David Noblett from snuathletics.com)

By Kendra Nixon, Content editor

SNU’s track and field team lived up to the hype going into the national meet. The Storm brought home five National Champions and eight All-Americans from the NCCAA Indoor Track & Field National Championships.

The first-seeded men’s 4×400 meter relay team performed as predicted and got the gold by a landslide. They crossed the finish line with a 30 to 40 meter lead to seal the deal.

“The first thing I thought was, ‘Did we really do it?’  It was exhilarating we finally won one,” said Kentrell Miller, third leg of the relay team.

The winning team consisted of Miller, Rilwan Jimoh, Korey Eakers and Sterling Wright. Jimoh and Eakers started off the race, while Miller and Wright brought it home.

“At first it was hard to believe because we messed up several times,” Miller said.

The past couple years, the men’s 4×4 team was predicted to do well at nationals, but for several different reasons, they never finished with the gold.

“This group is a good group of guys,” coach Derek Lane said. “They show a lot of character and persistence and never gave up and that’s something I try to preach to them…never give up and good things will happen to them and it finally paid off.”

The relay team was not the only success story to come away from indoor nationals.

Freshman Grayson Haws made himself known in his first appearance at the national meet. Haws was also a national champion in the 800-meter run.

“It was a great feeling, I was happy that my hard work paid off,” Haws said. “I trusted in my training and knew what I was capable of.”

The fact that this was his first time to compete at a collegiate national level didn’t show as he crossed the finish line for first place.

“I went in with high expectations for myself, but at the same time I was nervous competing against some good runners,” Haws said.

Miller, Jimoh, Eakers, Wright and Haws weren’t the only ones to   bring home some hardware, Jackie Stevens, Michael Piatt and Kalicia Williams each received All-Americans in their respective events.

“Overall they represented SNU very well, showed class in every event,” Lane said. “They all tried their hardest no matter if they were in first place or toward the back, you could tell hey were giving it their all and they tried their hardest.”

The track and field team now prepares for the outdoor season, which begins Saturday, March 30th at the OBU Invitational in Norman, OK.

“Hopefully we can start outdoor the same as we did indoor,” Lane said. “[The 4×4 men’s relay team] had the number one time for indoor from the very beginning and were able to hold on to it through the whole year.”

“We are definitely the favorites by far,” Miller said. “We’re going to have an ‘X’ on our backs so we have to bring it every meet and keep them at bay. It wasn’t a close race and we don’t want outdoor to be a close race either.”

With longer straights and looser curves, outdoor is the time to see a runners true potential. “We aren’t taking any time off. Outdoor season is about to start up and we need to be prepared,” Haws said.

 

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