South Plains (Texas), New Mexico JC Capture 2018 Men’s & Women’s NJCAA Indoor Titles
LUBBOCK, Texas – When it was all said and done at the Texas Tech Sports Performance Center on Saturday, one team took home its second-consecutive title, and another kept a team from three-peating.
The 2018 NJCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships were certainly exciting for all who participated, but no one enjoyed the meet as much as the South Plains (Texas) men and the New Mexico JC women who were crowned champions at the end of the competition.
New Mexico JC has a mini-dynasty on its hands after picking up the title a year ago, as well. Winning with a whopping total of 120 points, the Thunderbirds defeated South Plains (Texas) by 30 points thanks to a well-rounded team effort in all phases of the meet. The Thunderbirds posted 13 points in relay events, 27 points in sprint events, 24 in mid-distance events, 24 in distance events and 28 in jumps events.
Taking home individual national championships were Kristal Liburd in the long jump (6.21m/20-4½), Esther Gitahi in the mile (4:53.08), and Shian Hyde in the 200 (23.68). New Mexico JC also got a slew of runner-up finishes on the day.
On the men’s side, the Texans barely squeaked by Barton (Kan.) CC by two points, 94-92, to pick up its first indoor title since 2015.
Holland Martin picked up the lone individual championship for an athlete from South Plains (Texas) in the triple jump (16.06m/52-8¼), but like the New Mexico JC women, the team saw all of its areas come through in the clutch. The Texans got 14 points from relay teams, 12 from sprinters, 11 from mid-distance runners, 18 from distance athletes, 11 from hurdlers, 18 from jumpers and 10 from heptathletes.
Unlike the women’s competition, which New Mexico JC led by a large margin for a majority of the meet, the men’s standings were not solidified until the final event.
Heading into the 4×400, South Plains (Texas) had 86 points, while Barton (Kan.) CC led with 88 meaning that the higher finishers between the Texans and Cougars had a legitimate shot to take home the title. The South Plains (Texas) quartet finished in second with a time of 3:09.56 while the Cougars placed fourth at 3:10.60, allowing the Texans to bring the championship hardware home to Levelland, Texas.
Cloud County CC finished third on the men’s side with 75 points, followed by Meridian (Miss.) CC (49) and Iowa Central CC 45.
Iowa Central CC finished third in the women’s competition with 89 points, just one point behind South Plains (Texas). Barton (Kan.) CC finished fourth with 69 points and Central Arizona rounded out the top-five with 66 points.