NATCHITOCHES – Justin Walker’s pair of first-team All-America awards, unprecedented in Northwestern State history, became official Monday as the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association announced the 2014 list of NCAA Division I Outdoor All-Americans.
By finishing fourth in the 100 meter dash Friday and third in the 200 a day later at last week’s NCAA Outdoor Championships, Walker became the first Demon competitor to win first-team All-America recognition with a pair of top eight finishes at the NCAA Outdoors. He is the first sprinter in NSU and Southland Conference history to reach the finals, and clinch first-team All-America honors, in the short sprints at the national outdoor meet.
Lady Demon record-holder Stephanie Sowell won All-America honors indoors with a pair of top eight finishes in 2004. Sowell, was second in the women’s long jump and eighth in the triple jump at the NCAA Indoors as a senior. She holds school records in both events (20-10 ½ in the long jump, 43-1 in the triple jump).
The first eight finishers in each event at the NCAA meet are first-team All-America recipients, with athletes and relay teams in places 9-16 earning second-team All-America from the USTFCCA. Each event has the top 24 qualifiers emerging from the East and West preliminary rounds, which send their top 12 to the national meet.
Walker snagged sole possession of the Demons’ 100 meter record Friday evening with a 10.12 time that edged past the 10.13 he ran in 2010 and Ronnie Powell posted in 1998. Walker had the 200 record by himself since that year, and dropped it to 20.47 last month. His 20.13 in Saturday’s final was barely ineligible for a record listing with a 2.1 tailwind, just 0.1 too much.
Northwestern finished 20th in the team standings thanks to Walker’s 11 points. His scoring total is the most ever by an individual NSU competitor at any NCAA Championships, indoors or outdoors, giving NSU its third-highest team total ever and best team finish since 1982.
The Demons posted 17 points in 1982 with Mark Duper fourth in the 100, John Campbell fifth in the shot put and the 4x100 relay team finishing second. In 1981, NSU scored 16 points with the champion 4x100 relay team and Steve Stockton taking third in the javelin.