HIGHLAND – Led by a school-record performance in the shot put from sophomore Courtney Lawrence, the Cloud County Community College men's track and field team would earn 10 event wins and three national qualifying marks to cap off a successful opening weekend at the Highland Challenge and Multi-Events in Highland on Saturday.
Overall, Cloud County would finish with 161 team points in the four-team competition to win the event while finishing nearly 60 points better than runner-up Garden City. Host Highland and Cowley would round out the field with a limited number of unattached athletes also competing.
Lawrence was already the school-record holder in the shot put but put on a dominating display on Saturday by recording a mark of 18.48 meters (60 ft. – 7.75 in.). The throw would beat his previous record by over a foot and go over 12 feet past the minimum mark to qualify for the national meet.
Action from Friday would see four T-Birds in action to compete in the opening events of the Heptathlon, with Andrew Betton, Marcquiece Cade, Zachery Jones, and Renaldo Savoury all competing in the multi-event competition as Betton would earn Friday victories in the high jump (1.87 meters, 6 ft. – 1.5 in.) and 55 meters (6.86). Saturday's conclusion would see a pole vault victory from Betton (4.02 meter, 13 ft. – 2.25 in.) as Cade would end up taking the overall heptathlon with a total of 4,553 points with Betton (second), Jones (fifth), and Savoury (sixth) all posting initial marks towards national qualifying purposes.
CCCC's other two national qualifying marks would come courtesy of Daniel Cope in the weight throw (15.72 meters – 51 ft. – 7 in.) and Awet Beraki in the 3,000 meters (8:37.02) as the pair would both end up victorious in their respective event. Cloud County would also get a field event win in the long jump with Jaysaun Smith just missing out on a national qualifying mark by posting a leap of 7.00 meters (22 ft. – 11.75 in.) while the remaining four victories would come on the track.
Cade would go on to post a time of 8.55 in the 55-meter hurdles to take a second event win while Shadrick Tansi would take victories in the 55 meters (6.57) and 200 meters (23.14). Timothy Nyinguan, Smith, Tansi, and Narindra Rafidimalala would team up to run a time of 3:32.27 in the 4x400 meter relay to land one last victory for the T-Birds.
Cloud County will get their first look at non-NJCAA competition next weekend as the T-Birds are set to compete in the Washburn University All-Kansas Invitational. The meet is expected to feature a mix of NCAA Division II, NAIA, and NJCAA schools all from the Sunflower State coming together to compete in Topeka.