Championship U: A&T Teams Continue to Dominate

By Todd Simmons / 03/25/2021 Athletics, Students

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (March 25, 2021) – North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University men’s and women’s intercollegiate athletics teams have continued their seemingly endless success recently with some eye-catching wins and milestones. 

First, the 4x400 relay squad of the men’s indoor track team notched its first-ever national championship NCAA Men's and Women's Indoor Track and Field Championships with a blistering time of 3:03.16, which was not only good for first place, but the fifth-fastest time in NCAA history. 

Anchored by senior Trevor Stewart, the team came from third place in the final leg, with Stewart steaming past runners from the universities of Tennessee and Kentucky to win going away. The last lap electrified Twitter, with scores of users posting that Stewart "walked 'em down."  

And those weren’t the only top schools that Stewart and teammates Randolph Ross, Jr. (sophomore), Elijah Young (senior) and Daniel Stokes (junior) beat. A&T topped a total of seven universities from the powerful Southeastern Conference plus the University of Texas and Texas A&M in the top 10. 

“We want to keep proving that it can be done right here at North Carolina A&T,” said Duane Ross, the Aggies director of track and field programs. “We knew Kentucky would challenge us. We knew Georgia would challenge us," said Ross. “We also knew if our handoffs were clean and we got through the zone without bumping and fighting, we were going to win. 

“I would go to war with these guys. That's how much confidence I have in them.” 

The same day, senior forward Deja Winters nailed an electrifying three-pointer with 3 seconds left to give the A&T women’s basketball team a 59-57 win over Howard and the MEAC tournament championship. It was the program’s fifth conference championship historically, and its third in the past six years. 

Winters’ heroics weren’t confined to the final seconds of the game. She hit another three-pointer with 50 seconds left to pull the Aggies within one point of the lead. All told, she scored 15 points on the day, nine of them on three-pointers. Senior center Kayla Jones-Pack was her only teammate to put more points on the board – 16. 

The win earned the Aggies a berth in the prestigious NCAA Tournament, but the first round was as far as they would go, falling 79-58 to N.C. State, despite leading by as much as 37-31 in the first half. Despite that disappointing loss, Coach Tarrell Robinson took solace in the fact that A&T was the youngest team to make it to the NCAA tournament, and has big hopes for next year. 

“They've grown. They've become the leaders,” he said. “They were the ones that got it done for us in the [MEAC] tournament. So, I would say, in terms of growth and owning their season, they've done a great job.” 

The following weekend, the women’s bowling team kept the wins coming, taking the MEAC championship with a 4-2 win over Monmouth in a best-of-seven Bakers match. The conference title – their second in four years under Coach Kim Terrell-Kearney -- propelled the Aggies into the NCAA tournament for the third time in school history, this season with a sizzling record of 55-8. 

"That is what is great about being an Aggie,” said Terrell-Kearney. “Folks take notice of what you're doing, and they believe in what you're doing. Most of us (she and her team) have lived our lives as bowlers, and we have grown used to not being seen in the same light as others. That is so different at A&T. Everyone is proud of what we're accomplishing, and my ladies are certainly proud to be representing A&T.”   

Freshman Melanie Katen won the tournament’s most outstanding performer award, and she and senior Ana Olaya earned all-tournament honors. 

The recorded championship match will air on ESNPU on Sunday, March 28, at 7:30 p.m. 

More importantly, A&T will learn at 4 p.m. on March 31 who their first NCAA Tournament opponent will be in a livestream on NCAA.com. The 2021 NCAA bowling championships will take place April 7-10 at AMF Pro Bowl Lanes in North Kansas City, Mo.

Media Contact Information: Todd Simmons, thsimmons@ncat.edu

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