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NSU Track and Field receives runner-up titles at Southland Conference Championships

%28L-R%29+Dillon+Dawson%2C+Richard+Fisher%2C+Mike+Heimerman+and+Adam+Pennington+Track+and+Field%2FCross+Country+coaches+show+off+their+championship+rings.
Submitted by Athletics Department
(L-R) Dillon Dawson, Richard Fisher, Mike Heimerman and Adam Pennington Track and Field/Cross Country coaches show off their championship rings.

Northwestern State University of Louisiana men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field teams showed immense success last season at the Southland Conference Championship.
Mike Heimerman, head coach of track and field at NSU and recently named the Southland Conference Indoor Women’s Coach of the Year, led both indoor and outdoor teams to top-two finishes, including a women’s indoor team title last season.
“It was really great for the women to win their first team title, and the men were runner-up indoors and outdoors, so it really was a great year for them,” Heimerman said. “It was also the first time we brought men’s and women’s trophies home together.”
Heimerman explained that with the dedication from associate head coach Adam Pennington, assistant coach Richard Fisher, and distance coach Dillion Dawson, the team wouldn’t have had as big of an impact on each individual event’s success. He also said that he is thankful for the dedication of the student-athletes last season and is looking forward to another successful year.
“We are trying to address more athletes across the board in every event, and I think with our recruiting, we’ve done a very good job with that, but only time will tell,” Heimerman said. “All the indications in our month of training so far, and I’m looking forward to indoor and outdoor.”
Sanaria Butler, named Southland Conference Female Athlete of the Year and Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Most Valuable Performer, had a remarkable indoor and outdoor season for only being a freshman.
Butler broke the school 400-meter dash record twice, earning honorable All-American in the event. Butler became NSU’s first freshman to reach the national meet since 2011 after qualifying for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in the event.
“Just having the goal in mind of what times I want to run and what I want to do to make it to the Nationals is what kept me motivated,” Butler said. “I was trying not to get in my head and just go out there and perform.”
She finished the 2023 outdoor season with a gold medal as a member of the 4×400 meter relay team alongside teammates Vannessa Balde, Sian Weller and Maygan Shaw with a time of 3:35:77. Butler also earned two silver medals in the 400-meter dash with a time of 53:01 and the triple jump with a jump of 42-0.75.
The spotlight was on the Gumbs’ twins last season, as they showed success in the men’s field events both indoors and outdoors.
Djimon Gumbs, named Men’s Outdoor Track & Field Most Valuable Performer, won the men’s shot put with a throw of 18.95m, earned silver in discus with a throw of 180-8, and earned bronze in the javelin, a season-best, with a throw of 189-9. In the indoor season, he finished in the top two in four of the five meets. Gumbs also earned bronze and a season-best distance of 62-2.25 at the SLC Indoor Championships.
“I never expected to get that award because I just try to do what’s best for the team,” Djimon Gumbs explained. “Knowing at any moment your spot could be taken is what gives me motivation to keep pushing through it; you really have no excuse but to go for it every time.”
Diamante Gumbs earned a season-best with a toss of 60-4 in the weight throw in the SLC Indoor Championships. He later earned a gold medal at the SLC Outdoor Championships in discus with a personal-best of 184-4, finished fourth in shot put with a throw of 54-2.75, and placed fifth in the hammer throw with a season-best of 180-0.
“It was bittersweet, I would say. Since I was injured, I wasn’t at my fullest potential, but seeing that I could do it meant a lot to me,” Diamante Gumbs said. “The road to recovery wasn’t easy, but my brother and my other teammates definitely kept me motivated to keep pushing and to keep moving forward.”

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Kallie Bourgeois, Current Sauce - Reporter
Kallie Bourgeois is a freshman communication major, with a minor in sociology at NSU. This is her second semester as a reporter for The Current Sauce. She has had a love for storytelling since high school, where she spent a year as her school’s Editor for their newspaper. Kallie looks forward to continuing her passion for journalism by delivering stories of exciting events happening on campus and in the Natchitoches area.  

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