A&T Track and Field looks impressive at home meet Aggies take home nine first-place finishesCourtesy NCA&T Athletics / April 16, 2021
Senior Trevor Stewart and freshman Randolph Ross Jr., presented what might be considered coming attractions in the men’s 400 meters for the 2021 outdoor track and field season at North Carolina A&T’s Irwin Belk Track on Saturday.
Meanwhile, there was nearly a passing of the torch in the women’s 200 meters at Irwin Belk on Saturday.
All of this action and much more occurred as the N.C. A&T men’s and women’s outdoor track and field teams hosted the Aggie Invitational on a day that traded off cloudy skies for sunny weather before a downpour of rain came and prevented the men’s 5000m run and the women’s and men’s 4×400-meter relay races from being conducted.
Before the rain, however, the Aggies did get a chance to honor 17 seniors as a part of Senior Day.
Also, prior to the inclement weather, the Aggie Invite provided an opportunity for fans to see two of the best men’s 400m runners in Division I track and field.Three of the four Aggies from the indoor national championship 4×400 team competed in the men’s 400m, and they finished 1, 2 and 3. Stewart crossed the finish line first, crossing in 45.43. Ross Jr. was second in 45.71, and senior Young finished third with a time of 46.57.
Ross Jr. held the lead early, but coming around the backstretch, Stewart started building momentum. When the runners got to the last 150 meters of the race, Stewart was in complete command, easing his way past Ross Jr. for the win. Stewart is now ranked ninth in the nation in the 400m, while Ross Jr. is 13th.
Another internal Aggie battle took place in the women’s 200m between former Aggie sprinter Kayla White and current standouts, sophomores Cambrea Sturgis and Kamaya Debose-Epps. White jumped out to the big lead but quickly saw that lead disappearing as Sturgis and Debose-Epps came on strong.
As the runners raced to the finish line, White, who earned multiple All-American honors during her four-year stint (2016-19) in an Aggies’ uniform, kept her composure to hold off the two current stars. White finished in 22.96, followed by Sturgis at 22.97 and Debose-Epps at 22.97.
Sturgis’ 22.87 ran at Texas Relays still has her ranked fifth in the nation in the women’s 200m. Debose-Epps’ 22.97 on Saturday has her ranked ninth.
Sturgis did win the women’s 100m invitational event, out dueling Debose-Epps with a time of 11.29. Debose-Epps finished second in 11.40, and junior Symone Darius finished fourth in 11.46. Sturgis is ranked sixth in the nation in the women’s 100m after running an 11.21 at Texas Relays.
Seven other Aggies earned the right to call themselves winners on Saturday. The Aggies were dominant in two of those events, including the women’s high jump and the women’s 100-meter hurdles.
N.C. A&T finished 1, 2 and 3 in the women’s high jump, with senior Nazah Reddick leading the way with a leap of 5-feet, 8 ¾-inches. Sophomore Kenady Wilson finished second with a measurement of 5-feet, 8 ¾-inches, and junior Paula Salmon came in third at 5-feet, 3-inches.
In the women’s 100mh, the usual speedsters finished 1, 2, 3 and 4. Senior TeJyrica Robinson led the charge on Saturday by running a personal-best 12.97. Salmon crossed the finish line in 13.07, followed by senior Madeleine Akobundu in 13.27 and senior Breanne Bygrave in 13.38.
Robinson is tied for sixth in the nation after her Saturday performance, while Salmon is 10th after Saturday.The Aggies also did well in the men’s 110mh and the women’s 400mh. On the men’s side, junior Rasheem Brown moved to 10th in the nation in the 110 after finishing first in 13.65. Senior Cedric McGriff finished second in 14.04.
In the women’s 400mh, junior Sydni Townsend won the event in 58.48. while teammate and fellow junior Nilaja Florence finished second in 58.48.
The Aggies’ other winners included junior Akeem Lindo in the men’s 400mh. Lindo finished with a time of 51.34. Senior Abbas Abbkar won the men’s 800m in 1:49.62. Aisha Southern won the women’s 100m in a personal-best time of 11.68.
Other outstanding performances included Ross Jr., finishing second in the men’s 200m at 20.58. Ross Jr. is now 16th in the nation in the men’s 200m. The Aggies also finished 2, 3 and 4 in the women’s 800m with freshman Carolyn Brown crossing in a personal-best 2:09.87. Sophomore Ayoola Gbodale finished third in 2:10.04, and senior G’Jasmyne Butler was fourth in 2:11.35.
Senior Loren James had a second-place finish in the women’s shot put with a personal-best throw of 49-feet, 3-inches. A&T returns to action next week as they head to the University of South Carolina to participate in the USC Open.