JASON FARMER NEWS-SUN
April 14, 2018
Cathilee Mullings leaps 12.27 meters in the triple jump Saturday morning at the NMJC Ross Black Invitational. Mullings finished second.
JASON FARMER/NEWS-SUN University of the Southwest junior Melvin Flax throws the discus Saturday morning during the NMJC Ross Black Invitational. Flax finished third overall with a throw of 45.53 meters.
The NJCAA defending national champion Lady Thunderbirds got a chance to strut their stuff in front of their home fans Saturday and they didn't disapoint, as New Mexico Junior College hosted the Ross Black Invitational. NMJC finished first in six events and had several more athletes finish in the top three.
"It was good that they were able to come out here and flex a little bit of muscle and show where we are at," NMJC coach Keith Blackwill said.
Over the Lady T-Birds' first three meets of the outdoor season, NMJC had gotten some work in, but nothing like Blackwill would have preferred. That all changed on Saturday.
"I think it was a great meet for us," the Lady T-Birds' coach said. "This is really the first full meet we have had in the outdoor season. The first meet we just did a little bit of stuff. In the second meet, at the Texas Relays, you can't do a lot there. Last week it was just cold. This week, the weather held out for us and we had a great meet."
Not only did the Lady T-Birds excel on Saturday, but they did so against tough competition.
"On the women's side, it was a good meet," the Lady T-Birds' coach said. "Not just us, but you were looking at Central Arizona coming over and they are the No. 2 team in the nation on the women's side. South Plains is the No. 3 team in the nation and Western Texas is No. 6. Wayland Baptist is the (NAIA) indoor national champions and West Texas A&M (NCAA Division II) is the indoor national champions. Division II and NAIA representatives as well as junior college."
The Lady T-Birds won the 400 relay, the 400 dash, the 10,000 run, and took the top four spots in the 100 dash. In the field events, NMJC won the long jump and tied for first in the pole vault.
(11.66) was second and Crawford (11.67) was third. Westfall
(11.75) finished fourth.
"They ran a new meet record," Blackwill said of the Lady T-Birds 400 relay team. "They ran 44.42. Our best school record is 44.38 so they are very close to that.
"In the 100 meters we went one, two, three," the Lady T-Birds coach continued. "In the 200 we went two three and D'Jai Baker won the 400 with a new personal best."
Teresha Jacobs won the 10,000 with a time of 39 minutes and 53.96 seconds while Cynthia Kipserem (40:05.12) was third. Kristal Liburd set a new school record and a new stadium record in the long jump, leaping 6.43 meters. Priscille Guerin tied with South Plains Kodee Scott for first as both athletes cleared 3.05 meters. Baker ran a 53.88 to win the 400.
"I was really impressed with our 10,000 meter runners," NMJC distance coach Jeff Becker said. "The wind was a little bit higher than what it turned out for the rest of the day, but they still ran really well.
"Teresa Jacobs is not really a 10,000 meter runner, she is a little bit shorter distance," Becker continued. "But she asked to run it and I put her in there and she ended up winning and beating two All-Americans from last year from South Plains and Central Arizona. Cynthia Kipserem finished third I was real happy with that and both girls qualified for nationals."
Westfall finished second in the 200 with a time of 23.81 seconds. Hyde (23.84) was third and Baker (23.85) was fourth. Cathilee Mullings was second in the triple jump, leaping 12.27 meters. Bristol O'Connor finished second in the discus with a throw of 44.33 meters and third in the shot put (13.26). Running in the 800, Esther Gitahi (2:12.48) was third.