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Weekly Outdoor Track & Field Release

Courtesy: MEAC Media Relations
          Release: 04/26/2017
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With outdoor season beginning to turn towards postseason action, the MEAC has several athletes shining on a national stage as they rank nationally.

On the men's side, North Carolina A&T State's Christopher Belcher ran a 9.99 at the Aggie Invitational on April 14 to rank tops in the MEAC and second nationally while teammate Caleb Gabriel ranks 13th with a run of 10.18. Coppin State's Joseph Amoah ran a time of 10.24 on April 21 to rank 25th while Bethune-Cookman's Kareem Fair exploded out the blocks with a 10.28 on March 31 to rank 31st nationally in the 100. North Carolina A&T State's Joel Thomas and teammate Rodney Rowe both are tied 36th nationally with times of 10.3.

Coppin State's Joseph Amoah ranks 13th in the 200 (20.48), Rowe 25th (20.61) and Belcher 32nd (20.7). Morgan State's Joel Roberson is 73rd in the 400 (47.03) while Michael James of Coppin State ranks 55th in the 800 (1:49.16). North Carolina A&T State's Michael Dickson ranks 22nd nationally after his run of 13.88 in the 110-meter hurdles on April 21 while TaQuille Jackson of North Carolina A&T State is 38th nationally (14.08) followed by Maryland Eastern Shore's Taj Showalter (41st)(14.10) and North Carolina A&T State's Todd Townsend (14.14) (54th). Savannah State's Morgan Ellis-Foster is 40th (51.76), Hampton's Jaelen Williams 43rd and Hampton's Stanley Davis rank 51st (52.05) in the 400-meter hurdles, respectively. Khalil Rmidi-Kinini is 75th (9:02.53) in the 3,000-meter steeplechase while BCU's JaQuaveon Beachem ranks 21st (25-4.75) in the long jump, respectively. Bethune-Cookman's Michael Tiller ranks 14th in the triple jump (52-5.25) followed by North Carolina A&T State's Lasheon Strozier (24th) (51-10). Norfolk State's Garth Warner ranks 62nd in the high jump with a mark of 6-10.75. The NCAT 4x100 “A” team ranks 29th (39.51) with the “B” team not far behind at 47th (39.88).

On the women's side, NCAT's India Brown ranks 21st in the 100 (11.34) after the Aggie Invitational while teammate Kayla White ranks 30th nationally after a run of 11.39 in the 100 on April 7. Morgan State's Shenel Crooke ranks 49th in the 100 (11.47) while NCAT's India Brown stands at 35th in the 200 (23.11). Norfolk State's Martha Bissah ranks 90th nationally in the 800 (2:08.45)while BCU's Quamecha Morrison ranks 31st in the high jump (5-10). Fellow BCU teammate Catoria Sirmon ranks 40th in the shot put (52-0). NCAT's Kayla White currently holds the highest MEAC national ranking as she ranks 14th in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.16.
The NCAT 4x100 “A” team ranks 35th (44.51) with the “B” team also at 35th (44.51).

After winning both the men's and women's MEAC Championship on the indoor side this past winter, North Carolina A&T State turns its attention to outdoor as the Aggies try to capture its first men's title since 1996 and first women's title since 1995.

Maryland Eastern Shore's Khalil Rmidi Kinini is going out in style as the senior looks to win his third consecutive MEAC Track & Field Outstanding Performer on the outdoor side.
Rmidi Kinini won the same title during indoor this past winter has cemented his legacy by becoming the first Hawk to qualify for NCAA national competition (cross country) as he finished fifth at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regionals.
The native of Spain is a three-time MEAC Cross Country champion and the first runner in MEAC history to win three individual titles. He currently ranks 75th (9:02.53) in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.

Bethune-Cookman is the back-to-back-to-back MEAC Track & Field Champions on the men's side and is looking to extend its streak in 2017.
While that's an impressive feat, they still have a ways to go as Norfolk State won seven straight from 2006 to 2012 under head coach Kenneth Giles.
Florida A&M has won the past two MEAC Championships on the women's side and a win in 2017 would mark the second time in six seasons that a team has accomplished a three-peat as Hampton won three straight from 2012-2014.
Only South Carolina State and Hampton have won five consecutive outdoor titles in MEAC history on the women's side.

An injury prevented the MEAC from seeing Coppin State's Joseph Amoah in action at the indoor championships but he looks to have bounced back as he ranks 13th nationally in the 200 with a time of 20.48 and 25th in the 100 after clocking a time of 10.24 on April 21.

Several freshmen have established themselves early in the middle to long distance races as Norfolk State's Martha Bissah ranks 90th nationally in the 800 (2:08.45) while Hampton has Janet Okeago amongst the top 100 nationally in the 10,000. NCAT's Madeleine Akobundu ranks 74th in the long jump (19-10.75)
Hampton's Robert Miller is the top freshman in the 110-meter hurdles (14.23) at 70th nationally followed by Aaron Lewis of Coppin State (87th). Jaelen Williams of Hampton ranks 43rd in the 400-meter hurdles (51.97). Norfolk State freshmen Garth Warner and Jacob Milton rank 62nd (6-10.75) and 77th (6-10.25) in the high jump. JaQuaveon Beachem of Bethune-Cookman stands at 21st in the long jump (25-4.75).

Norfolk State University director of track and field programs Kenneth Giles announced that former Olympian and local track and field legend Yvette Lewis has been hired as an assistant coach for the Spartans.

Lewis will primarily work with the hurdlers, jumpers and sprinters on the Spartan women's track and field team.
A two-time NCAA national champion and 2016 Olympian, Lewis spent the last four years as an assistant track and field coach at her alma mater, Hampton University. Lewis' main area of emphasis was Hampton's hurdlers, jumpers and multi-event athletes while also serving as the team's strength and conditioning coordinator. Lewis helped the Hampton women win a total of six MEAC indoor and outdoor titles while the Pirate men won two.

Lewis' stint at Hampton coincided with the final years of her own successful track career. Lewis competed primarily in the 100-meter hurdles as a professional. Her personal-best time was 12.76 seconds, which she clocked in 2011 – the same year she won a gold medal representing the USA at the Pan American Games. Later in her career, Lewis represented Panama, qualifying for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Brazil. Lewis won NCAA Division I national titles during the 2006 indoor season and 2007 outdoor season in the triple jump while at Hampton. In all, she was a six-time All-American in the triple jump and 100-meter hurdles in a two-year span for the Pirates. She also won six Most Outstanding Performer Awards for scoring the most points at MEAC indoor and outdoor championship meets.

North Carolina A&T State's Christopher Belcher made national news on April 14 with a run of 9.99 in the 100-meter dash at the 2017 Aggie Invitational. The senior ranks second nationally after the run and has the third-fastest wind-aided time in the world behind Thando Roto's 9.98 run in South Africa on Feb. 18. He has the fifth-fastest time overall and set a MEAC record, a school record and personal-best mark. Belcher also participated in the 4x400 (3:11.07) and the 4x100-meter relays (39.88) and helped both teams set season lows as they placed first and second, respectively.

According to the latest USTFCCCA polls, North Carolina A&T State ranks 41st nationally amongst Division I men's track & field teams. In 2016, a total of six student-athletes (3 M, 3 W) represented the MEAC in the individual events with two relay teams from the North Carolina A&T State men's team.

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