3-PEAT Lady Thunderbirds National Champs

3-PEAT Lady Thunderbirds National Champs


May 20, 2019


New Mexico Junior College freshman Moisha Barnes clears a hurdle during the finals of the 400 hurdles Saturday afternoon at NMJC. Barnes finished sixth in the NJCAA National Outdoor Championship 400 hurdles with a time of 1:03.78.


According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of a dynasty, when talking about sports "is often applied to a sports franchise which has a prolonged run of successful seasons."


Well, after winning its third consecutive NJCAA Outdoor National championship on Saturday, and then adding in two indoor national championships in 2016 and 2017 before finishing second in 2018, the New Mexico Junior College women's track and field team should be considered a dynasty.


Heading into the final day of the NJCAA National Outdoor Track & Field Championships, the NMJC women's team was sitting in second place, eight points out of first. During the meet, the Lady Thunderbirds even slipped to third place. However, by the end of day, the Lady Thunderbirds had once again won a national championship.


The national championship was also the fifth out of six chances, counting the indoor season, for the Lady Thunderbird over the last three seasons.




New Mexico Junior College sophomore Kristal Liburd makes her landing in the triple jump Saturday morning during the final day of the NJCAA National Outdoor Championships at NMJC. Liburd finished third with a leap of 12.67 meters.




"We lost the indoor title and that was kind of an eye-opener, an awakening for us," NMJC head track and field coach Keith Blackwill said. "We needed that to be able to get back on track and get some things done."


Saturday, the Lady T-Birds scored 77.75 points on the final day of the meet to win their third straight outdoor national championship.


Blackwill knew exactly what his team needed to do in order to with its third straight outdoor national championship. The Lady Thunderbirds did that and more as NMJC not only pulled off the win, but did it on its home track in front of its home fans. The Lady T-Birds beat runner-up Barton by 8.75 points.





"It was stressful. It was a close one for sure," Blackwill said. "The team really took care of business today. Where they needed to score, they scored and that is really what it came down too. You have to be happy with the fact that they came out to compete and kept their heads in everything."


South Plains and Iowa Central tied for third with 83 points each while central Arizona finished fifth with 74 points.


Around 1:30 p.m., the Lady T-Birds had actually slipped to third place, trailing first place Central Arizona by 9.5 points. Then the women's 100 hurdle was run and NMJC dominated the event. Demisha Roswell won the event for the Lady T-Birds while Monique Grant took third.


"It was alright, but I was pretty nervous," Roswell said. "I didn't get a good start, but I got through it."






Members of the New Mexico Junior College women's track and field team celebrate after winning the NJCAA National Outdoor Championship for the third consecutive year on their home track.




"It was a big accomplishment," Grant said of her third place finish. "In indoor, I did not get third, so I definitely improved in places. It also felt good because I have been working really hard with Demisha (Roswell), my really strong teammate. Our hard work in practice really paid off."


Blackwill believes the finish for NMJC in the 100 hurdles set things in motion for the Lady Thunderbirds to win their third straight national championship.


"I felt that was a turning point for us," Blackwill said. "It was a big event because we had two there, but when you go first and third, you pick up 16 points and that is a big, big move."