LEVELLAND, Texas - Although it has been over a month since the Texan and Lady Texan track and field teams swept the men's and women's team championships at the 2012 NJCAA National Championships, many South Plains College tracksters continue having success - on the international stage.
Over the last week, several current and former Texan and Lady Texan track athletes took to the track to compete for National Championships at their countries Olympic Trials. So far, five individual championships have been racked up and, it appears, SPC may be well represented at next month's London Olympic Games.
Competing in their native country of Trinidad and Tobago, Janeil Bellille
and Sparkle McKnight
each earned National titles and a chance to compete in London.
Bellille qualified for the London Games by taking the title in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 56.31 seconds, good enough for the Olympic ‘B' standard. The Texas A&M signee's season best time of 55.91 and personal best and NJCAA record time of 55.80 seconds is just short of the Olympic ‘A' standard of 55.50 seconds.
McKnight produced a huge personal record when she crossed the line first with a time of 52.44 seconds in the women's 400-meter dash. Unfortunately for the University of Arkansas signee, the clocking was less than one-tenth of a second shy of the Olympic ‘B' standard, forcing McKnight to chase a time to become eligible for the race in London. However, McKnight would certainly be eligible to compete as part of a relay if Trinidad and Tobago qualifies.
What makes both performances stand out even more is the fact that both Bellille and McKnight are enrolled in a full load of summer classes at South Plains College and took shortened trips to lessen the amount of time missed class.
Soon to be Texan sophomores, Trevorvano Mackey
and Anthonio Mascoll
also captured National titles over the weekend and both almost captured two championships.
In the Bahamas, Mackey claimed the Bahamian 200-meter dash championship with a season best time of 20.68 seconds, coming oh so close to the ‘B' standard of 20.65 seconds.
Mackey was second overall in the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.55 seconds.
Competing in Barbados, NJCAA 800-meter champion Anthonio Mascoll
easily captured the 800-meter crown as he just missed a new personal best, crossing the line in 1:48.73. Mascoll also finished second in the 400-meter dash with a time of 46.95 seconds.Keri Emanuel
is the lone SPC athlete competing at the United States Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore. The LSU signee's best jump came on her final attempt in the preliminary round when she soared to 42-feet. Emanuel finished 15th overall and failed to make the final.
One of SPC's most well known former athletes, Sally Kipyego, recently qualified for next month's London Olympic Games in two events and will represent her native country of Kenya.
Arguably the most decorated athlete in NJCAA history, Kipyego turned in a third place finish in the 10,000-meter run and then followed that performance up with a second place finish in the 5,000-meter run.
At last year's IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, Kipyego earned a Silver medal in the 10,000-meter run. In London she will have an opportunity to add two more major international medals to her collection.
The 2009 World Championship Bronze medalist at 400-meters for Trinidad & Tobago, Renny Quow recently finished second in his premier event with a time of 45.60. Quow also recently helped his country's 4x400-meter relay team turn in a time of 3:00.45 to make them a potential force to be reckoned with in London.
More athletes with SPC ties will be competing this weekend as the Jamaican and Canadian Olympic trials get underway. Natoya Goule
and Jura Levy will look for spots on the Jamaican team, while Daniel Harper
seeks to qualify for Canada.
Rondell Bartholomew (Grenada) is already qualified for the Games and will look to improve upon his fifth place finish at last year's IAAF World Championships.