Florida A&M Women, Norfolk State Men Top The Track & Field Standings Entering Saturday’s Final Round
LANDOVER, Md. - The Florida A&M women remained in front of the pack while Norfolk State holds a slim lead in the men's point totals entering the finals of the 2017 MEAC Indoor Track & Field Championships at the Prince George's Sports & Learning Complex.
North Carolina A&T State's Todd Townsend won the heptathlon for the second time in his career with a total of 5,150 points. The 2015 MEAC Indoor Champion in the heptathlon, Townsend claimed the 60-meter hurdles (8.16) and created further separation with a second-place jump of 12-11.5 in the pole vault during Friday's events. Coppin State’s Khemani Roberts won the women’s pentathlon, racking up 3,353 points over the course of five events. In taking pentathlon gold, Roberts won the high jump and shot put events.
The Aggies also dominated the 60-meter hurdles as they qualified three for Saturday's final in Michael Dickson (7.84), Townsend (8.03) and TeQuille Jackson (8.1). Both North Carolina A&T State and Bethune-Cookman qualified a pair of runners in the 400-meter dash as NCAT's Dajuan Harding topped the field with a time of 48.06.
Christopher Belcher of North Carolina A&T State posted the best time (6.69) in the 60-meter dash as he led a quartet of Aggies into Saturday's final. Once again, North Carolina A&T State positioned themselves for a strong finish on the men's side as Harding and Justin Hamilton dropped the top times in the 400-meter prelims.
North Carolina A&T State took the top two spots in the preliminaries of the women's 60-meter hurdles, with Kayla White and Morgan Knight claiming first and second, respectively. White had the top time of the round with an 8.41. The Lady Aggies also had the best time in the 400-meter prelims, as Tori Ray turned in a 56.09.
In the 60 prelims, Morgan State's Shenel Crooke posted the top time in the round with a 7.46, .02 seconds ahead of Hampton’s Meshala Morton.
The future of the men's high jump looks bright as a quartet of freshmen endured a battle which brought the crowd to its feet. Norfolk State's Jacob Milton jumped 6-11.5 to win the title but had to fight off North Carolina Central's Omega Smalls (6-9), Bethune-Cookman's Kelton Williams (6-8) and Norfolk State's Garth Warner (6-8).
Sophomore Quamecha Morrison of Bethune-Cookman won the women’s high jump with a mark of 6-0.5 feet.
Jonathan Moore of Bethune-Cookman won the 800 in a time of 1:51.51 while Martha Bissah of Norfolk State took gold in the women’s 800, turning in a time of 2:11.04. Coppin State's Steven Thomas outdistanced his closest competitor by four feet (58-02) en route to a personal best and first place medal in the weight throw. Florida A&M’s Alexandria Marshall-Paul won the women’s weight throw with a mark of 59-5.75, nearly four feet farther than the second-place thrower.
Maryland Eastern Shore closed the evening out with its third consecutive distance medley championship after posting a run of 10:07.64. Norfolk State took gold in the women’s distance medley, with the foursome of Candice Higgins, Nickheila John, Chazmin Fullwood and Bissah running a combined time of 12:02.49.
Norfolk State has quietly moved up the standings as the Spartans enter Saturday's final round with 44 points. North Carolina A&T State is in second place with 39.5 points followed by Hampton (37) and Maryland Eastern Shore (33.5). After the second day, Florida A&M leads the women’s team standings with 55 points, while North Carolina A&T State is second with 39 points. Hampton sits in third with 36.5 points.
The afternoon session of the 2017 MEAC Track & Field Championships will stream live on ESPN3 and MEACSPORTS.com at 1 p.m. on Saturday. The championship will also be available on television in 15 states on COX Television's YURVIEW network.
A complete schedule of events and live statistics for the 2017 MEAC Men's and Women's Indoor Track and Field Championships can be found at www.MEACsports.com.
Admission for the Indoor Track and Field Championships is $5 on Saturday. Tickets are available at the Prince George's Sports & Learning Complex.