Jemaiyo breaks 5000M national record, Texans capture two event titles at Charlie Thomas Invitational

Jemaiyo breaks 5000M national record, Texans capture two event titles at Charlie Thomas Invitational

COLLEGE STATION — The South Plains College men's and women's track and field teams wrapped up the Charlie Thomas Invitational at the Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium at the McFerrin Athletic Center Saturday with a new national record and a pair of event titles.

Sophomore All-American Gladys Jemaiyo added to her legacy in Levelland in the women's 5000 meters, setting a new national record with a dazzling time of 16:38.42, breaking her own national record set a year ago in College Station when she ran a 16:51.52.

"Gladys broke the record last year, and to be able to do it again this weekend was extremely impressive," South Plains head coach Erik Vance said. "To come in and break smash the record by 13 seconds is a phenomenal accomplishment and a testament to her ability and work ethic."

The Texans, who came into the weekend ranked third in the latest USTFCCCA national poll, picked up their first event title in the men's 800 meters as sophomore Mo Mpoke was the first runner across the line in 1:50.72, topping UT-Arlington's Harold Murphy (1:53.4), and Houston's Christian Gilmore (1:53.50).

"To get an event title in the men's 800 from a guy who hasn't run an 800 for us just shows his class and how good he can be, Vance said. "He went out there and took control of the race and I think he can run faster down the road. We're going to have to make some difficult decisions in what events we're going to run him in at the national meet because he ranks No. 1 in three events, but I guess that's a good problem to have."

Sophomore Denvaughn Whymns won the men's long jump for south plains, posting the top mark with a jump of 23' 11.75", with Houston's Kenneth Pree taking second with a mark of 23' 11". The Texans placed two more jumpers in the top 10 as freshman Tony McNeal soared 22' 9.25", good enough for seventh, while freshman Jaden Halliburton took eighth with a mark of 22' 8".

The Texans picked up a seventh place finish in the men's 400 meters as freshman Khaleb McRae crossed the line in a time of 47.86. South Plains tallied a third place finish in the final race of the meet in the men's 4x400 relay with the Texans turning in a time of 3:10.19, with Houston placing first in 3:08.11, followed by TCU with a 3:08.24.

In the women's 60 meters, freshman Rosemary Chukuma placed second with a time of 7.36, just two tenths behind the University of Central Florida's Ciara Holback who turned in a 7.34. Chukuma would then turn around and post a third place finish in the 200 meters, crossing the line in 23.98.

In the women's mile run, sophomore standout Dorcus Ewoi took eighth for the Lady Texans, clocking a final time of 4:55.61. Competing against an elite field in the women's long jump, freshman Onaara Obamuwagun turned in an eighth place overall finish, notching a final mark of 18' 4.25". Obamuwagun would then turn in a second place finish in the women's triple jump, soaring 41' 10".

In the women's shot put event, freshman Siiva Tafiti placed fifth overall with a throw of 46' 0". The Lady Texans would cap the meet with an eighth place finish in the women's 4x400 relay, running a 3:53.11, topping Georgia Tech and Arkansas Little-Rock who placed ninth and 10th, respectively.

"I think for the most part we're kind of getting to the point in the season where the folks we anticipate to qualify for the national meet have done so and our list is getting smaller each week," Vance said. "I still think we have a handful of kids out there who I really have no doubt will get qualified, and I have a lot of faith they will get those qualifying marks in the next few weeks."

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