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The fastest time in NCAA Division thus far this season was posted at N.C. A&T's Irwin Belk Track by N.C. A&T's Chris Belcher.
Courtesy: MEAC Media Relations

Weekly Outdoor Track & Field Release

Courtesy: Courtesy of NCAT Sports Information
          Release: 04/19/2017


With the crux of outdoor season ready to heat up, 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 first nationally while teammate Caleb Gabriel ranks 11th with a run of 10.18. Bethune-Cookman’s Kareem Fair exploded out the blocks with a 10.28 on March 31 to rank 25th nationally in the 100. North Carolina A&T State’s Rodney Rowe clocked a 10.3 at the Florida Relays on March 30 to rank 29th also in the 100.

Coppin State’s Joseph Amoah ranks 10th in the 200 (20.48), Rowe 18th (20.61) and Belcher 25th (20.7). Morgan State’s Joel Roberson is 58th in the 400 (47.03) while Michael James of Coppin State ranks 40th in the 800 (1:49.16). TaQuille Jackson of North Carolina A&T State holds the top MEAC time and 34th nationally in the 110-meter hurdles (14.08) followed by Maryland Eastern Shore’s Taj Showalter (37th)(14.10) and North Carolina A&T State’s Todd Townsend (14.14) (49th). Savannah State’s Morgan Ellis-Foster is 34th (51.76) and Hampton’s Jaelen Williams 37th in the 400-meter hurdles, respectively. Khalil Rmidi-Kinini is 58th (9:02.53) in the 3,000-meter steeplechase while BCU’s JaQuaveon Beachem ranks 10th (25-4.75) in the long jump, respectively. Bethune-Cookman’s Michael Tiller ranks 11th in the triple jump (52-5.25) followed by North Carolina A&T State’s Lasheon Strozier (24th) (51-3.75).

Norfolk State’s Garth Warner ranks 57th in the high jump with a mark of 6-10.75. The NCAT 4x100 “A” team ranks 23rd (39.51) with the “B” team not far behind at 43rd (39.88).

On the women’s side, NCAT’s India Brown jumped to 18th in the 100 (11.34) after the Aggie Invitational while teammate Kayla White ranks 24th nationally after a run of 11.39 in the 100 on April 7. Morgan State’s Shenel Crooke ranks 44th in the 100 (11.47) while NCAT’s India Brown stands at 28th in the 200 (23.11). Norfolk State’s Martha Bissah ranks 65th nationally in the 800 (2:08.45) while BCU’s Quamecha Morrison ranks 27th in the high jump (5-10). Fellow BCU teammate Catoria Sirmon ranks 39th in the shot put (52-0). The NCAT 4x100 “A” team ranks 32nd (44.51) with the “B” team also at 32nd (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 33rd (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 sixth nationally in the 200 with a time of 20.48.

Several freshmen have established themselves early in the middle to long distance races as Norfolk State’s Martha Bissah ranks 47th nationally in the 800 (2:08.45) while Hampton has a pair of freshmen (Janet Okeago, Faith Keitany) rank amongst the top 100 nationally in the 10,000. Aaron Lewis of Coppin State ranks 63rd nationally in the 110-meter hurdles while Jaelen Williams of Hampton ranks 35th in the 400-meter hurdles (51.97). Jacob Milton of Norfolk State ranks 61st in the high jump (6-10.25) followed by JaQuaveon Beachem of Bethune-Cookman’s 10th-place ranking in the long jump (25-4.75). Desmond Lindsey of Howard holds the top score in the MEAC decathlon with 5.575 points.

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 this past weekend with a run of 9.99 in the 100-meter dash at the 2017 Aggie Invitational. The senior is tied for first nationally after the run and has the second-fastest wind-aided time in the world behind Thando Roto’s 9.98 run in South Africa on Feb. 18. He has the fourth-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 33rd 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.