PITTSBURG – The drought is over for the Cloud County Community College women's track and field team as the T-Birds would leave little doubt on Sunday on their way to a 70-point victory and their first NJCAA Region VI track and field championship in 40 years inside the Plaster Center in Pittsburg on Sunday.
Earning their second NJCAA Region VI track and field championship and first under hall of fame coach Ted Schmitz, CCCC would score 183 points to beat out second-place Barton who would finish as Region VI runner-up with 113 points. No other team of the remaining 12 teams to score at the meet would eclipse the 100-point mark as Butler and Fort Scott would tie for third with 95 points and be followed by Cowley (93), Coffeyville (42), Colby (35), Hutchinson (32), Allen (29) and Highland (23) to round out the top-10. CCCC's last Region VI Title came in 1981, as Schmitz has coached the Lady T-Birds to 23 top-three Region VI finishes in his career prior to today's Region VI Title.
In addition to winning the Region VI and Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference titles, coach Schmitz would be named NJCAA Region VI Women's Head Coach of the Year while assistant coach Drew Mahin would take home Region VI Women's Assistant Coach of the Year. The T-Birds would also see sophomore Mercy Ntia-Obong named Women's Athlete of the Meet after winning both the 60 meters (7.40) and 200 meters (23.84) as part of four Region VI Championship event wins on Sunday.
CCCC would also get a pair of event victories from Pamela Milano as the sophomore would claim Region VI Titles in the 600 meters (1:32.82) and 1,000 meters (3:10.72). In the 600 meters, Milano would be joined by teammates Leonie Beu (1:36.17) and Tashira Edwards (1:38.64) as the trio would earn a one-two-three finish as the T-Birds would do the same in the 200 meters with Ntia-Obong, Beu (24.68), and Isila Apkup (24.71).
The time by Edwards in the 600 meters and Milano in the 1,000 meters would both be new national qualifying marks as Cloud County would see three new national qualifying marks with the 4x800 meter relay team running a time of 11:38.93 in their first race of the year for the final NQM.
Region VI runner-up performances for CCCC would come from Patricia Koma (1,000 meters, 3:13.15) and the 4x400 meter relay team (3:51.48), as well as Marie Forbes in the shot put (14.25 meters, 46 ft. – 9 in.) as the T-Birds, would record six runner-up finishes to go along with the three region championship performances.
Additional top-three finishes on Sunday would see Keiana Newman place third in the 60-meter hurdles (9.46) while Kya Johnson took third in the 800 meters (2:28.25). Cloud County would also add a fourth-place finish from Aeryn Reckward in the 60-meter hurdles (9.75), Ludjenie Mondesir in the mile (5:34.02), and Apkup in the 400 meters (56.97) while fifth-place finishes from Johnson in the mile (5:36.15), Passion Crews in the 400 meters (58.83), and Maycee Callihan in the shot put (12.08 meters, 39 ft. – 7.75 in.) would cap off a historic day for the T-Birds.
Cloud County will have the option of sending athletes to the Cowley College Last Chance meet scheduled to take place sometime in the upcoming week in Arkansas City, Kansas to try and have one last shot at recording additional national qualifying times and marks. If CCCC chooses not to participate in the meet, the T-Birds will have to wait for the official qualifying list to come out from the NJCAA for the 2021 NJCAA Indoor Track and Field National Championships which will take place on March 5 and 6 inside the Plaster Center in Pittsburg.