Tech track team members place in NCAA national championship

June 24, 2010

by Sapphira Brown

The Tech track team finished satisfied with performances and higher rankings as the NCAA National meet came to an end June 12.

Nine of the team’s athletes traveled to the University of Oregon in Eugene, Ore., Sunday morning, after qualifying the prior week in Greensboro, N.C. at the East Division NCAA Regional meet. Among the athletes that competed were the women’s 4x400m with alternate Antoinette Cobb, 110m hurdler Billy Walker, jumper Tiana Davis, thrower Larry Jones and sprinter Albert Fullwood. The National Championships went underway Wednesday and ended Saturday afternoon.

Two seniors and a junior were at the start of the meet Wednesday at the historic Hayward Field. Junior thrower Larry Jones was the only Ruston native to participate in day one’s competition. He finished 22nd in the discus throw with a measured distance of 162’8″. Both seniors, Kamelia Stroy and Fullwood, raced to a season and collegiate career close as they crossed the finish line in their semifinal heats of the 400m. Finishing 18th overall, Stroy ran 54.65. This time was one and fifty-seven tenths of a second from her personal best, 53.08, which was ran in the quarterfinals in Greensboro.

Outstanding 400m sprinter and senior, Fullwood placed 19th overall. The C.E. Byrd alumni has had a remarkable career as a Techster athlete, never losing a 400m WAC title, according to media relations. Though the weather conditions were not favorable, Fullwood went into the competition with no worries.

“It was rainy and windy, but this trip was a learning experience, teaching me how to run through adversity,” Fullwood said.

Fullwood plans to train for the upcoming meets to give him a shot at becoming a professional.

After the finish of day two, Walker did not perform as expected but he still claimed a major accomplishment before he finished the year out. Though Walker ran 13.99 in Eugene, he had already improved his rankings in the country after running a personal best of 13.74 in Greensboro. He is collegiately ranked 17th in the nation.

Fifth year senior Antoinette Cobb, serving as the relay’s alternate, ran an extravagant leg on the women’s 4x400m relay. Cobb joined trio senior Story, senior Lashannda Worthy and junior Monique Wright to beat out other top ranked teams such as 19th ranked Southern California and 27th ranked Southern Carolina, according to media relations press release. The quartet concluded the meet ranking 15th in the nation, with a time of 3:39.77.

As the Championship came to end, junior Tiana Davis, a transfer from Barton, was the last Techster to compete as she finished ranking 24th in the women’s long jump.

Not only were the athletes excited about making it to the NCAA National meet, assistant head coach Shawn Jackson was also.

“I am happy with the performances of our athletes; however you always want to work for more. The ultimate goal is to win,” Jackson said.

The Tech track and field program will have a slight change for the upcoming school year as some of their top athletes have extinguished their years of competition. The women’s side lost four sprinters and a thrower, and the men lost their two top sprinters, Fullwood and Michael Coleman.

“We’ll be losing one of a kind [Fullwood]. Al is a loyal Tech alumni, and hopefully he will stick around to help out with the younger recruits we have coming in,” Jackson said.

With more athletes coming in for both teams, the coaches will try to start off another great season to prepare more athletes to make it to the NCAA National Championships 2011.

The Lady Techsters will have two athletes competing in the USATF competitions in Des Moines, Iowa. Antoinette Cobb will be competing in the USATF Championships, while freshman Quanisha Sales will be participating in the Junior USATF Championships now thru June 23-27.