Cloud County Men's Track and Field Team Claims Region VI Outdoor Track Championship
Just a year removed from having a run of four-consecutive NJCAA Region VI Track and Field Titles (indoor and outdoor) snapped by Barton, the Cloud County Community College men's track and field team would turn a 19-point lead into a 22-point victory to reclaim the top spot in the region with the 2022 NJCAA Region VI Outdoor Track and Field Title at Broncbuster Stadium in Garden City, Kansas on Saturday, May 7th.
Entering Saturday's action with a total of 54 points, the T-Birds would finish as one of three teams to eclipse the 100-point mark to finish with 133 points as Butler would make a massive move from 11th to second by scoring 103 points on the final day to take a runner-up finish with 111 points. The other team to score over 100 points would be Coffeyville Community College which would move up from fourth to third by finishing with 107 points while Cowley College would take fourth with 89.50 points. Rounding out the top five was reigning NJCAA Region VI Outdoor Track and Field Champion Barton with 84 total points.
Trying to follow up Friday's action that saw three individual Region VI Champions crowned, CCCC would add another three Region VI individual championship performances as Mohamed Ahmed (hammer throw, 64.33 meters, 211 ft. – 0 in.), Ben Okraska (pole vault, 4.56 meters, 14 ft. – 11.5 in.), and Hassan Abidi (800 meters, 1:53.97) would all come away with titles in their respective events. The mark from Abidi would be one of two new national qualifying performances by T-Bird student-athletes on Saturday as Brody Vance would also extend his season to the National Championship meet with a third-place finish in the hammer throw after a toss of 48.42 meters (158 ft. – 10 in.).
Earning Cloud County's lone runner-up finish on Saturday would be Ephraim Lerkin after a time of 54.44 seconds in the 400-meter hurdles as the season-best performance from the sophomore would be just .35 seconds back of the Region VI Championship performance by Sharim Hamilton of Hutchinson. In addition to the third-place finish by Vance, CCCC would see both Michael Iyali (3,000-meter steeplechase – 10:03.61) and the 4x400 meter relay team (Shadrick Tansi, Emmanuel Wanga, Alphonse Igish, and Daniel Siaffa – 3:14.53) earn third-place finishes to give the T-Birds a total of seven podium finishes in the final day of action.
Other top finishes from Cloud County would include sixth-place finishes from Andrew Betton in the pole vault (3.66 meters, 12 ft. – 0 in.), Wanga in the 400 meters (48.10 seconds), and Davit Lukava in the 400-meter hurdles (55.90 seconds) while Edwin Kipanoi (1,500 meters – 4:10.07), Vincent Ugwoke (shot put – 14.89 meters, 48 ft. – 10.25 in.), and the 4x100 meter relay team (Igish, Narindra Rafidimalala, Elias Rivera, and Freider Fornasari) would all take seventh in their respective events. The final scoring performances for CCCC would come courtesy of Rivera in the pole vault (2.91 meters, 9 ft. – 6.5 in.), Tansi in the 400 meters (48.54 seconds), and Kipanoi in the 5,000 meters (16:14.59).
With 32 individual performances and three relay teams already qualified for the 2022 NJCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, CCCC is not expected to compete again until the Championship meet which will take place May 19-21 in Hutchinson, Kansas. Dating back to the 2018 NJCAA Outdoor National Championships, Cloud County has finished no worse than third in an Outdoor National Championship meet which includes their lone National Title coming in 2019. The last time Hutchinson hosted the NJCAA Outdoor National Championship meet was in 2017 after seeing the 2020 NJCAA National Championship meet canceled due to the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic.