Today: Apr 14, 2024

Track & Field finishes third at NCAA

Photo Courtesy | southernctowls.com
The Owls third place finish is the best finish in school history. They also added 13 All-Americans.

PAT LONGOBARDISports Writer

The No. 4 nationally ranked SCSU men’s indoor track and field team was well represented at the Division II NCAA Championships and continued to strive for top performances.

The Owls claimed the program’s best ever indoor finish of third place at the national championships at Minnesota State University.

The Owls sent eight athletes to the meet and had one NCAA Champion, as sophomore Nick Lebron won his first national championship in the heptathlon.

Lebron from Newington, Conn. won with a total of 5225 points, a new school record, and became the 19th NCAA Championship for the indoor track and field team.

“It was not expected because this is only my second year of track,” Lebron said. “I have worked hard and I tried to get ready for the season. I did not expect to do track, but I got involved with it.

“I think we did pretty good. We came in ranked fourth, and we all scored which is pretty good…We had some slip-ups. Track is a battle and you have to see where you end up.”

Grand Canyon won the national championship with an overall team score of 54 points. Adams State finished second with 47, Southern with 39.

The Owls have constantly improved in the second half of the season, which led to their high ranking heading into the championship meet.

Southern’s other finishes this season included a fourth place in the Metropolitan Championships, third in the New England Championships and their 10th straight Northeast-10 Conference indoor championship.

The distance medley relay team of Selasi Lumax, Logan Sharpe, Brian Robbins and Josh Perry came in second in 9:55.34. The Owls returned Lumax, Sharpe and Perry from the DMR team that finished eighth at the championships during the previous indoor season.

The 4×400 meter relay team of Stenson Jean-Baptiste, Twayne Forth, Lumax and Sharpe placed third by a full second off of the lead in 3:15.25. This team also returned three athletes from their top-eight finish at the indoor championships last season.

Perry finished seventh in the one mile event in 4:12.84.

Connor Coleman also finished third in the heptathlon.

Lumax finished third in the 800 meters in 1:52.61, and Robbins also was eighth in 1:54.42.

Lumax, a senior from Somerset, N.J., said the team had many expectations in their respective events.

“I think we did pretty well,” Lumax said. “I think we had a slip up. We could have done better, maybe second, but we did well.”

“We were in the hotel waiting for our events [when Lebron won]. He came in 11th, and if he came in second or in the top three finishes, then it was good chance to win the meet. He continued to do his part.”

The Owls also had 13 All-Americans at the championship meet and tied for the program’s single season record combined for indoor and outdoor set back in 1985. The Owls will open the outdoor season on March 31 at the Army Dick Shea Open and the UConn Spring Invitational.

SCSU head coach John Wallin, in his second season, said the program continues to build confidence each season and is always ready to compete.

“They were pretty excited to achieve third place,” Wallin said. “There were places where we could have been better. They were pretty excited because this was the highest finish we ever had. We were ranked third or fourth which was good. A lot of people there put an “X” on our backs and they had to get ahead of Southern because a lot of them see the writing on the wall.

“It was really exciting [having 13 All- Americans]. They all got individual awards. Last year, some came without All-Americans with 11. 13 [All-Americans] was the program’s highest and we are very excited. Every kid feels that they contributed to the team’s success and that was important.”

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