MEAC Track Team Champs 2019

Men’s and Women’s Indoor Track Team Sweep MEAC Championships for Third Straight Year

LANDOVER, MD (February 23, 2019) - The North Carolina A&T track and field teams are starting to become historic and the student-athletes who comprise those teams are becoming legendary.

For third straight Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Indoor Track and Field Championship, the N.C. A&T Aggies swept both championships to become the first university in MEAC history to sweep the men’s and the women’s indoor championships three years in a row.

The women posted 174 points to beat Florida A&M (118.50), Bethune-Cookman (98), Norfolk State (78) and Morgan State (48.50) in the top-5 at the Prince George’s County Sports & Learning Complex. Whenever historic and N.C. A&T Athletics are mentioned, senior Kayla White is starting to become a part of the conversation.

White, the world leader in the 200 meters, was named the meet’s Most Outstanding Runner after winning the 200m and 60-meter hurdles on Saturday. She finished second in the 60m to score 28 points for the Aggies throughout the meet. Duane Ross, the Aggies director of track and field programs, was named Outstanding Coach.

White continues to add to her impressive credentials as a student-athlete at N.C. A&T. White has won six gold medals at the MEAC indoor championships. She has won the 60mh all four years of her career and she was a 60m and 200m title to her career totals. She will go into the MEAC outdoor championships with eight gold medals.

The Aggies needed a big day on Saturday after coming into the final day in third place with 30 points. There was a point on Saturday with the Aggies were down by more than 50 points. But the Aggies were sparked by some familiar names like White and Madeleine Akobundu and some newcomers named Jayne Roberts and Cambrea Sturgis.

“I thought we could have performed a little better,” said Ross. “There were points were expecting to get that we didn’t, but then there were some people who stepped up and filled in the voids. Those things happen in championships. We just must go back and figure some things out, so we will be better moving forward. I do like the way this team pulled together and fought today.”

White is a face everyone around Aggieland is used to seeing. White broke two MEAC indoor meet records on Saturday. White won the 200 in with a MEAC record-breaking time of 23.53. Sturgis was right behind her in second at 23.75. Each runner bested the old mark of 23.85 set in 2000 by Norfolk State’s Debbie Dunn.

In winning her fourth straight conference title in the 60mh, White broke the meet record with a time of 8.07. It is three/tenths of a second off her personal record. Akobundu and junior TeJyrica Robinson helped the Aggies secure the top-3 finishers in the 60mh as Akobundu finished in 8.17 and Robinson crossed in 8.34.

The men posted 191 points to beat Bethune-Cookman (141), Norfolk State (119), Morgan State (41) and S.C. State (30) in the top-5. Freshman Regan Kimtai was named earned Outstanding Runner honors. What is notable about Kimtai winning outstanding runner is that for a program known as SprinterU, Kimtai is not a sprinter. Kimtai won the award by winning the 5000 meters on Thursday and the 1 mile and the 800 meters on Saturday to score 30 points for the Aggies.

“We’re a complete team now,” said Ross about the Aggie men. “We no longer have to wait on Saturday and the sprint finals before we start putting up multiple points. Our throwers can put up a lot of points and our distance runners performed really well. We are a lot stronger on the men’s side than we used to be.”

Kimtai is now a first-team All-MEAC performer in three events for indoor to complement the first-team All-MEAC honors he earned in men’s cross country during the fall. Kimtai won the mile in 4:20.32 to beat out two Bethune-Cookman Wildcats in Carlin Berryhill (4:21.58) and Daniel Kiptoo (4:23.94). In the 800m, Kimtai’s 1:53.42 time was a little more than a second better than Abbas Abbkar’s 1:54.53 time for Savannah State.

The men did have some fun in the sprints and hurdles as well.

Senior Rodney Rowe added to his vast collection of MEAC honors on Saturday by capturing individual titles in the 60 and 200m. He now has four gold medals from the MEAC indoor championships including two 200m titles, one 60m title and one 4x400 meter relay title. He has three golds at the MEAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships with two 4x100 championships and one 200m championship.

Rowe finished ahead of teammate Jaylan Mitchell on Saturday in the 60 with a time of 6.72. Mitchell finished in 6.73. Rowe claimed the 200m title in 21.42 to finish ahead of sophomore Trevor Stewart who finished third in 21.586.

Dickson ran the 60-meter hurdles in 7.88 to win the event. It was Dickson’s third MEAC indoor title in the 60mh as he defended his title from last season. Senior Lasheon Strozier followed up freshman Brandon Hicklin’s win in the long jump on Friday with a win in the triple jump on Saturday. Strozier defended his 2018 MEAC indoor triple jump title by jumping 49-feet, 2 ½-inches.

As is customary with any N.C. A&T indoor championship, the Aggies won the 4x400 relay as well. The 2019 team consisted of Sirleaf, Stewart, Hamilton and junior Kermani Mighty. The foursome broke the MEAC indoor record with a time of 3:10.05.

The Aggies also scored big in the throws. A day after senior Derrick Wheeler captured the weight throw title, sophomore Aaron Wilkerson finished second in the shot put (53-feet, 6 ½-inches) followed by freshman Obie Taylor (51-feet, 8 ¼-inches) in third and Wheeler (48-feet, 1 ¼-inches) in eighth. For the weekend, the Aggies got a combined 39 points from the weight throw and shot put events. 

Now that the Aggies have conquered the MEAC for the third straight season, the attention turns to the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships, March 8-9 in Birmingham, Ala.

White looks certain to make the trip. She could make it there in three events. She ranks in the top-10 nationally in the 200m (1st), 60mh (4th) and 60m (10th). Sturgis is on the brink. She ranks 17th in the country in the 200. Akobundu hopes to compete in Birmingham. She came into the weekend ranked 11th in the 60mh.

Rowe and Sirleaf both ranked in the top-15 nationally going into the weekend in the 200m. Dickson also has an excellent shot to make nationals. He is ranked 13th in the 60mh. Stewart is trying to fight is way up in the 400m rankings. He came into the weekend ranked 22nd nationally and Hamilton is ranked 26th.  The Aggies 4x400 team will also need another strong performance to make into nationals.

For now, the Aggies will settle for a weekend they made historic on a cold and rainy February evening in Prince George’s County. “I'm very proud of my kids,” said Ross. They understood what they were trying to achieve. We have a great group of young men and women and I am very happy for them.”

 

All-MEAC Women

First Team
Kayla White, NCAT (200, 60h), Sun-Sara Williams, NCAT (400, 4x400), Tori Ray, NCAT (4x400), Payton Russell, NCAT (4x400), Kristoni Barnes, NCAT (DMR), Nilaja Florence, NCAT (4x400, DMR), Monzerad Creary, NCAT (DMR), G’Jasmyne Butler, NCAT (DMR), Loren James, NCAT (Shot).

Second Team
Kayla White, NCAT (60), Cambrea Sturgis, NCAT (200), Kristoni Barnes, NCAT (800), G’Jasmyne Butler, NCAT (Mile), G’Jasmyne Butler, NCAT (3000m), Madeleine Akobundu, NCAT (60h), Nazah Reddick, NCAT (HJ), Jayne Roberts, NCAT (Pole).

Third Team
TeJyrica Robinson, NCAT (60h), Paula Salmon, NCAT (HJ), Loren James, NCAT (Weight).

 

All-MEAC Men

First Team
Rodney Rowe, NCAT (60, 200), Regan Kimtai, NCAT (800, Mile, 5000m), Michael Dickson, NCAT (60h), Akeem Sirleaf, NCAT (4x400), Kermani Mighty, NCAT (4x400), Trevor Stewart, NCAT (4x400), Justin Hamilton, NCAT (4x400), Brandon Hicklin, NCAT (LJ), Lasheon Strozier, NCAT (TJ), Derrick Wheeler, NCAT (Weight).

Second Team
Jaylan Mitchell, NCAT (60), Trevor Stewart, NCAT (400), Mar’Quise McGee, NCAT (DMR), Kermani Mighty, NCAT (DMR), Coy Brown, NCAT (DMR), Morris Kimble, NCAT (DMR), Aaron Wilkerson, NCAT (Shot, Weight).

Third Team
Trevor Stewart, NCAT (200), Cedric McGriff, NCAT (60h), Obie Taylor, NCAT (Shot).