North Carolina A&T State Men's Team Sprints To 2017 MEAC Outdoor Track & Field Championship
GREENSBORO, N.C. - North Carolina A&T State made history on the track once again this season with its first MEAC Men's Outdoor Track & Field Championship title in 21 years. The championship also marks the first time since 2013 that one school has swept both the outdoor and indoor championships and the first time since 2003 that one school has swept all four championships on both the men's and women's side.
Khalil Rmidi Kinini of Maryland Eastern Shore closed out the 1,500-meter race in solid form as the senior finished slightly under the four-minute mark in a time of 3:59.90. Rmidi Kinini's time marked the third time in his career he has finished under four minutes at the outdoor championship and the second time since 2015. Hampton's Geoffrey McCullough placed second (4:01.33) while Jordan Leon of Hampton claimed third with a time of 4:01.60.
Entering the 4x100-meter relay, North Carolina A&T State was two-and-a-half points behind Bethune-Cookman at the time. Thirty-nine seconds later, the Aggies narrowed the gap to a half-point as the quartet of Christopher Belcher, Rodney Rowe, Caleb Gabriel and Joel Thomas broke their own MEAC Championship record in a run of 39.44. The race started out tight in the first two legs before Gabriel broke it open on the third leg to set up Thomas' finish. Bethune-Cookman placed second with a run of 40.41 while Coppin State finished third at 40.86.
TeQuille Jackson of North Carolina A&T State captured the 110-meter hurdles championship in a time of 13.92 as he held off Maryland Eastern Shore's Taj Showalter (13.97) by five-tenths of a second. Hampton's Charles Graham placed third as he finished with a time of 14.05. As a result of Jackson's finish, along with Robert Miller of North Carolina A&T State's fourth-place time, the Aggies surged ahead of Bethune-Cookman by 16 points.
NCAT picked up 14 points and created further separation after the 400-meter dash as Dajuan Harding topped the field in a time of 46.18. South Carolina State's Tyrell Richard (46.85) and Jarad Jeter (47.51) picked up 14 points for the Bulldogs as they finished 2-3.
In the highly anticipated 100-meter dash, Christopher Belcher of North Carolina A&T State broke his own MEAC Outdoor Championship record in a time of 10.04. Coppin State freshman Joseph Amoah placed second (10.24) followed by Caleb Gabriel of North Carolina A&T State (10.27).
Jonathan Moore captured his first MEAC Championship in the 800-meter run as he topped the field in a time of 1:50.96. Coppin State's Ronoldo Ball (1:51.55) and Stanley Davis of Hampton (1:51.57) finished 2-3, respectively.
Hampton's Jaelen Williams won the 400-meter hurdles with a run of 50.84 followed the Norfolk State duo of Jaylen Banks (51.85) and Rashad Ramsey (52.32). Belcher (20.59) returned to the track a few minutes later and walked away with the 200-meter title after defeating teammate Rodney Rowe (20.79) and Coppin State's Joseph Amoah (20.82).
Rmidi Kinini closed out his career in style after winning the 5,000 with a run of 15:20.23. North Carolina A&T State's Darren White (15:24.18) and Ronald Korir of Norfolk State (15:28.02) finished 2-3 in the event.
With the championship already in hand, the Aggies' mile relay team fell 200-of-a-tenth second short of tying the MEAC record as they won the race in a time of 3:07.32.
Rmidi Kinini once again was named Most Outstanding Runner after totaling 30 points and three first-place wins.
In the field events, Bethune-Cookman's Michael Tiller won the triple jump for the second consecutive year with a mark of 50-08. North Carolina A&T State's Lasheon Strozier placed second after his jump of 49-8.50 followed by Bethune-Cookman's Joel Sampson (47-11.25). Bethune-Cookman also made noise in the pole vault as Dominic Harper repeated as champion for the second straight year after jumping a height of 14-06 to win the event along with a third-place showing from Princy Dorsainvil (13-02.25). Trey Clark of Hampton placed second as he logged a vault of 14-02.
Howard's Rajae Gayle became a three-time MEAC Outdoor javelin champion after blowing away the field with a throw of 194-09. Morgan State's Kurt Goodlitt placed second (172-02) while Aran Lee of Delaware State finished third (167-05).
Steven Thomas of Coppin State was named Most Outstanding Field Performer for the second consecutive season with a total of 26 points. Thomas won the hammer throw along with a pair of second-place finishes in the discus and shot put.
1) North Carolina A&T State
3) Norfolk State
5) Maryland-Eastern Shore
6) Coppin State
7) South Carolina State
8) Savannah State
9) N.C. Central
11) Morgan State
12) Delaware State