Cloud County Men's Track 800 Meters Trio Post National Qualifying Marks
The Cloud County Community College men's track and field team saw the trio of Nichalas Power, Ishmael Acheampong, and Kamogelo Thipe all run season-best and national qualifying times to help the T-Birds land five new national qualifying marks across two meets this weekend by competing in the University of Nebraska Frank Sevigne Husker Invitational and Washburn University Open.
All but one result for the T-Bird men came from the meet in Lincoln across the span of two days, with the lone event that CCCC competed in at the Washburn Open being the distance medley relay team of Siyabonga Mokgothu, Power, Thipe, and Nirmit Dahiya combining to run the fourth-fastest time in the NJCAA this season at 10:04.19 to take first out of 19 relay teams in the event.
Friday action in Lincoln at the Bob Devaney Sports Center was highlighted by Mohamed Belhassen clearing 4.61 meters (15 ft. - 1.5 in.) in the pole vault in a loaded field of athletes that had just four out of 23 athletes not come from NCAA Division I universities to take 19th. The top overall finish by a Cloud County men's athlete on Friday was in the 5,000 meters with Felix Surtan running a time of 15:42.69, taking 13th overall.
A majority of the results for the T-Birds on the weekend came on Saturday as the 800 meters saw Thipe run a season-best time of 1:52.48 to improve upon his previous national qualifying time to run the eighth-fastest time in the NJCAA while seeing teammates Acheampong (1:54.66) and Power (1:55.50) both run times that beat the threshold of 1:56.90 to give CCCC three athletes qualifying for the national championship meet in the event. Other national qualifying times on Saturday came from Dahiya in the mile run (4:14.63) and Mokgothu in the 3,000 meters (8:22.99) as Mokgothu took eighth out of 28 athletes in the event while Dahiya finished 12th out of 30 in his race.
Two T-Birds managed to finish in the top six in the triple jump with season-best marks as Awakhiwe Ndlovu (14.90 meters, 48 ft. - 10.75 in.) and Oageng Mdlela (14.73 meters, 48 ft. - 4 in.) finished in fifth and sixth in the event to both record top-eight marks in the NJCAA this season. CCCC added one final top-10 finish later in the day in the 4x400 meter relay as Bradley Nkosi, Thipe, Kevin Brooks, and Mdlela posted a time of 3:17.97 to take 10th.
One final meet ahead of the 2024 NJCAA Region VI/Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference Indoor Track Championships will see Cloud County head back to Topeka one final time this spring to take part in the Washburn University Ichabod Invitational. The meet is scheduled to take place February 9th and 10th and will be the third time that CCCC has competed inside the Washburn University Indoor Athletic Facility during the 2024 indoor season.