LUBBOCK — The South Plains College men's and women's track and field teams capped their final regular season meet on Saturday as they combined for eight event titles at the 2018 Texas Tech Masked Rider Open at the Terry & Linda Fuller Track and Field Complex on the campus of Texas Tech University.
"Across the board, we executed well," South Plains head coach Erik Vance said. "If we execute and do what we're supposed to do I like our chances at nationals. We have to stay aggressive and be smart in how we go about things and if we do that we're going to be tough to beat. We have everyone qualified that we can have, and I'd put our squad up against anybody."
Freshman Markim Felix got the afternoon rolling for the top-ranked Texans with a first-place finish in the men's javelin with a throw of 250' 3". The Texans picked up their second event title in the men's triple jump as sophomore All-American Fabian Edoki soared 50' 10.25" on his second attempt. Edoki also won the men's long jump event title with a mark of 25' 8" on his third attempt.
Sophomore All-American Felix Kosgei will head into the national meet on a high note after placing first in the men's 3000-meter steeplechase on Saturday with a time of 9:44.07. Kosgei was joined in the top three by teammate Jesse Madrid who crossed the line at 9:51.99 to take third overall. The Texans placed a pair of sprinters in the top six in the men's 400 hurdles as William Watson clocked a 52.51 to take fourth and Myles Scott ran a 52.94, good enough for sixth.
"Markim is a special athlete and he came in with a personal best a little past what he threw today," Vance said. "He's been out the past couple weeks and our main concern with him being as good as he is is keeping him healthy so we have him at the national meet. He's a very special thrower and he has the opportunity to do some great things with us and after he moves on from us."
Watson would follow up by winning the men's 110-meter hurdles with a time of 13.82, while Mason Weh took second for South Plains with a 13.83. Freshman Andrew Bosquez picked up another event title for the orange and blue with a first-place finish in the men's 5000 meters thanks to a time of 14:58.95. In the men's 400 meters, South Plains' Junior Charles turned in a time of 46.83 to take fourth on the afternoon, while Montel Hood clocked a 47.42 to take sixth. Amarillo native Jordan Atkinson earned a third-place finish in the men's 200 meters as the second-year sprinter finished with a time of 21.01.
The third-ranked Lady Texans also impressed on Saturday as sophomore Jannia Price began the afternoon with a third-place finish in the women's discus with a mark of 145' 1". Freshman Ruth Usoro tallied the first event title for the Lady Texans in the women's long jump, setting a new personal best with a mark of 20' 3.75" on her fifth attempt.
In the women's pole vault, Kodee Scott, a freshman from Olney, Texas placed third with a clearance of 10' 0" on her third attempt. Freshman Jelena Rowe would go on to take second for the Lady Texans in the women's high jump with a final mark of 6' 0.5". Sophomore long-distance specialist Leslie Romero was business as usual, turning in a time of 11:40.26 in the women's 3000-meter steeplechase to take second for the Lady Texans.
In the women's 5000 meters, Lubbock native Caitlyn Mercer earned a second place finish with a time of 19:34.52. Amarillo native Seselia Dala would follow up with a fifth-place finish in the women's 800 meters clocking a time of 2:19.65. Natassha McDonald picked up the second event title for the Lady Texans with a first-place finish in the women's 400 meters with a time of 53.86. Usoro would follow up with a third-place finish in the women's 200 meters turning in a time of 24.14.
With the regular season in the rearview, South Plains will shift their focus to the 2018 NJCAA Div. I Outdoor National Championships May 17-19 at the BG Products Veterans Sports Complex in El Dorado, Kansas. The Texans will be vowing for their 12th consecutive outdoor national championship.