Cloud County Women Finish NJCAA Runners-Up, Men Take Fifth at NJCAA Championships in New Mexico
Breaking five school records and recording nine top-five finishes in their final day of competition of the 2023 season, the Cloud County Community College women's and men's track and field teams would leave their mark on the biggest stage of the season by earning top-five team finishes at the 2023 NJCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Hobbs, New Mexico on Saturday, May 20th.
Matching their highest-ever team finish on the women's side, CCCC would finish as one of two teams to eclipse the 100-mark on their way to a national runner-up team finish after scoring 101 points to trail only host school and national champion New Mexico Junior College who would score 105 of their 130.5 points on the final day of competition. The rest of the top five in the women's standings would see Barton (92.5 points), South Plains (82), and Iowa Western (64) round out the top five as each of the five schools would also be represented in the top five of the final men's team standings. A tie for the national title would be seen between New Mexico Junior College and South Plains for the second-consecutive contested championship after both teams scored 100 points with Barton (79.5 points), Iowa Western (55.5 points), and Cloud County (48) finishing behind the co-national champs.
Entering the day with 55 points in the women's standings, CCCC would get off to a quick start in field events with Jessi Brummet (javelin) and Tamara Thompson (discus) taking second and third in their respective events. Setting a new personal best and throwing over 45 meters on all of her throws, Brummett would finish with a top throw of 45.40 meters (148 ft. -11 in.) to finish just one inch back of the national title mark set by Anisha Gibbons of NMJC. For Thompson, the freshman would bring home a third-place finish after recording a throw of 46.46 meters (152 ft. – 5 in.) on her final attempt of the day.
Two national championship performances would come in track events for the T-Bird women as Lucy Ndungu would win her second national title in as many days by posting a time of 17:59.69 in the 5,000 meters to sweep the two-longest distant events of the meet after winning the 10,000 meters on Friday morning. Sophomore Miracle Thompson would back up her top-qualifying time in the 100-meter hurdles by running a wind-legal time of 13. 31 seconds to beat the remaining eight competitors by .15 seconds or more as only two runners in the field would break the 13.50-second mark in the event.
A Zimbabwe national record would be set by sophomore Vimbayi Maisvorewa in the 400 meters as a time of 52.46 seconds would be good enough for a third-place finish while eclipsing the previous record time of 53.09 seconds set by Larissa Bakasa who held the previous record after competing for TCU in the 2004 track season. Maisvorewa would go on to run the anchor leg of the 4x400 meter relay (Vanessa Mercera, Passion Crews, Lela Singleton, and Maisvorewa) while helping set a school record for the second-straight day in the event after the relay squad would run a time of 3:40.20 to eclipse their Friday time of 3:41.93.
Totaling 16 points in the final day of competition, the Cloud County men would see two of their top-five finishes come in field events highlighted by a fourth-place finish from Hemon Joseph in the javelin (54.21 meters, 177 ft. – 10 in.) while seeing Oageng Mdlela record a mark of 15.40 meters (50 ft. – 6.25 in.) in the triple jump to take fourth out of a 21-competitor field. After picking up a fourth-place finish in the 10,000 meters on Friday, sophomore Kidus Misgina would come back on Saturday to run in the 5,000 meters and post a time of 14:40.56 to take third out of 40 runners in the event while finishing just 12 seconds off the winning pace set by Sanele Masondo of Colby.
For the weekend, Cloud County would combine to bring home five individual national champions as part of 22 All-American performances and 24 finishes in the top six of their respective events. Additionally, seven school records would fall with the most recent performances put together by CCCC athletes in their final competition of the season. Additionally, in awards being announced by the United States Track and Field Cross Country Coaches Association on Saturday afternoon, the Cloud County women would sweep the Central Region Awards with Lucy Ndungu winning Women's Track Athlete of the Year, Vanessa Mercera bringing home Women's Field Athlete of the Year and T-Bird head women's track coach Drew Mahin earning Women's Track Coach of the Year honors.