T-Birds Win NJCAA Outdoor Track Championship

T-Birds Win NJCAA Outdoor Track Championship

It's a sweep for the New Mexico Junior College Women's track team.

After winning the 2017 National Junior College Athletic Association's National Indoor Track Championship in March, the nation's No.1-ranked Lady T-Birds claimed their first NJCAA National Outdoor Championship Saturday at Gowans Stadium in Hutchinson, Kan.

The Lady T-Birds beat second-place Barton Community College 97 points to 83.5. Rounding out the top five finishes are third-place, and defending national champion, Iowa Central (71), Monroe College, N.Y. (68), and Central Arizona (65).

This is NMJC's first women's outdoor track and field national championship

Leading the way were freshman Esther Gitahi and sophomore Latavia Coombs as athletes can score team points by finishing in the top eight in individual events.

Gitahi, recently named the West Region Track Athlete of the Year, set the national record in the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 10 minutes, 35.17 seconds. The mark bested the original time of 10:56.82, set by Aybuke Kizilarslan of Central Arizona College in 2007.

Gitahi, of Kenya, also claimed the national individual championshp in the women's 5,000-meter run (17:28.44), while finishing as the national runner-up in the 1,500-meter run (4:43.85).

Coombs, from Jamaica, was recently named the National Field Athlete of the Year and performed at that level winning the national championship in four individual events. She claimed the women's triple jump at 13.03 meters, and won three Heptathlon events, the 100-meter run (14.42 seconds), the high jump (1.64 meters) and the long jump (5.63 meters). She also finished fourth in the Heptathlon 200-meter dash (25.82), sixth in the Heptathlon Javelin (30.88 meters) and eighth in the Heptathlon 800-meter run (2:40.14).

Those performances helped Coombs earn the national runner-up in the Heptathlon behind Ayesha Champagnie of Barton CC, 5,227 points to 4,778.

Several other Lady T-Birds turned in stellar performances throughout the 22-event track and field championships.

Freshman Shian Hyde finished seventh in the 100-meter dash (11.89 seconds). Sophomore Christine Moss (24.26) and Hyde (24.49) finished sixth and seventh, respectively, in the 200-meter dash. Freshman D'Jai Baker finished third in the women's 400-meter dash (54.32).

Sophomore Teresha Jacobs finished fifth in the 1,500-meter run (4:50.30) and third in the 3,000-meter Steeplechase (11:15.35).

In the field events, sophomore Hanifah Abdul-Qadir tied for third in the high jump (1.68 meters), third in the triple jump (12.55 meters) and seventh in the long jump (5.48 meters). Freshman Cathilee Mullings also scored points in the triple jump finishing seventh (11.80 meters).

Sophomore Rochelle Frazer finished fifth in the discus throw (44.54 meters) and sixth in the shot put (14.06 meters).

Taneika Elliston sophomore finished second in the Heptathlon shot put at 12.43 meters, third in the Heptathlon javelin (36.18 meters) and eighth overall in the Heptathlon (4,281 points).