Northwestern State relay sets season best, but no Demons advance to NCAA Championships
The following was released by NSU Athletics:
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Northwestern State men went two-for-two in advancing individual sprinters to the NCAA East Preliminaries finals on Day 1, but the Demons couldn’t repeat that feat Friday against nationally stiff competition in any of four events at North Florida’s Hodges Stadium.
The men’s 4x100 relay posted a season-best 39.65 in Friday’s first heat, but the Demons were about three-tenths off the final qualifying time to reach the NCAA Championships.
Strong legs by Kennedy Harrison and Kie’Ave Harry appeared to put the Demons in third entering the final leg, but Kentucky surged in the last 100 meters to grab third place at 39.45.
NSU finished fourth in the heat and 14th overall with the final at-large qualifying time coming in at 39.38. Javin Arrington took the lead leg while Tre’Darius Carr ran the anchor leg.
“The men had great regionals, and it’s a credit to the sprinters and Coach Adam Pennington,” said NSU coach Mike Heimerman. “We had one exchange that wasn’t great, and it probably cost us about two-tenths, and that’s the difference. But it gives us something to work on next year, and we’ll have at least three of these four guys back.”
The top 12 in each event advanced to the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore.
Harry ran another solid 100 meters in Friday’s finals, clocking a 10.21 in a speedy third heat. He finished eighth in that heat and 21st overall in the 24-runner field.
The 10.21 is Harry’s second-fastest in his career behind his personal-best 10.16 at this year’s Leon Johnson NSU Invitational. Friday’s mark also improved on his qualifying 10.27 to advance to Friday’s finals.
“Kie’Ave had a good run overall, but he didn’t get out great at the start,” Heimerman said. “It cost him a little bit. He turned it over all the way through the line today, but it’s a really talented field out there, and it’s hard to make up ground.”
Harry ties Mark Duper for the seventh-fastest time ever run by a Demon in the 100.
After advancing to the 200 meter finals out of lane nine, Harrison faced the tall task of getting to the NCAA Championships out of lane two in the region finals.
Harrison finished eighth in his heat and 22nd overall in the 24-runner field with a 21.19.
But by reaching the region final with his 20.90 on Wednesday, he’s done something an NSU freshman hasn’t done since Micah Larkins in 2016.
“For a freshman to do what he’d done – he’s had a great season,” Heimerman said. “Both Kie’Ave and Kennedy have had great seasons, they were just one race short of where they wanted to be.
“They’ll come back better and grow from this experience.”
Larkins advanced to the NCAA Championships in the 100 as a freshman.
Larkins, Harry and Carr also ran on a 4x100 relay that finished seventh at the NCAA Championships in 2018, which is the last year in which an NSU male has competed on the highest national outdoor stage.
Quindarrius Thompson didn’t record a triple jump mark in his third and final NCAA East Preliminaries.
Thompson appeared to make a solid jump on his third attempt, but a foul near the board wiped out the mark.
The senior entered with a season-best 51-2.25, which would have placed him second in the first two flights. But it would have landed him around 21st overall with just the top 12 advancing.
“He had toenail fouls, which means he was just an inch or so too far,” Heimerman said. “It would have taken near a 52-foot jump to advance today, so he was trying to get every inch he could. He had good distance on his jumps.”
The NSU women hope to give Jasmyn Steels some company in Eugene, Ore., on the women’s final day of action Saturday.
Steels could double major at the NCAA Championships if she finishes among the top 12 triple jumpers, which start at 2:15 p.m. Steels is ranked 16th entering the event.
The 2019 NCAA Indoor National Long Jump Champion has already advanced in her specialty this week with a 21-2.75.
Natashia Jackson will attempt to make her first individual NCAA Championships as she takes off in the 400 meters at 6:20 p.m. The senior ran an NSU record 52.55 in Thursday’s prelims to finish 10th.
Jackson will run a leg on the NSU 4x400 relay to cap the NCAA East Prelims.
The foursome of Jackson, Erin Wilson, Janiel Moore and Diana Granados enter the relay ranked 21st in the region at 3:38.54.
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