Track and Field pull national ranks as they prepare for Southland, NCAA Championships

The Northwestern State Track and Field team has followed Head Coach Mike Heimerman’s “show up and show out” motto for the 2018 season.

At Texas Relays, one of the biggest outdoor meets of the season held in Austin, Texas, the NSU team did just that as they posted some of the top numbers and brought their overall ranking to seventh in the nation.

Junior sprinter Micah Larkins posted the fastest collegiate time of the nation this year as he ran a 10.02 in the men’s 100-meter dash.

“I feel honored and blessed,” Larkins said. “I feel like a lot of hard work is starting to pay off. It’s really crazy. Coming from a small school … to be ranked as one of the best in collegiate sprints is really a blessing.”

In the invitational women’s 100-meter hurdles, Daeshon Gordon finished third and earned the 12th spot nationally.

Lady Demon senior sprinter De’Shalyn Jones clocked a wind-aided 23.22 seconds for third in the 200-meter invitational, the 11th best-time in the country this season.

Larkins, Amir James, Kie’Ave Harry and Michael McGruder joined to run 39.45 seconds in the 4×100 relay, taking third behind the University of Houston (38.915) and LSU (38.919), and ahead of Georgia (39.50), Baylor (39.57), A&M (39.65) and Texas (40.83). The times by UH and LSU are first and second in the world this year. NSU’s finish was second fastest in Southland Conference history and third best in Demon history in the event.

With the season ending soon, the next few meets will be used as practice as the team prepares for the last big meet of the season, the LSU Alumni Gold on April 21 and the upcoming Southland Conference Championships, Regionals and the coveted NCAA Championships.

On April 7 at the Carl Knight Invitational in Nacogdoches, Texas, most of the team’s best sprinters, hurdlers and jumpers were given an opportunity to rest. However, NSU still was able to astound with the athletes that performed.

Jones swept the women’s 100- and 200-meter dashes, and senior Marquise Foster came close to tying his school record in the men’s hammer throw, throwing 187-6 for second place.

“It’s a confidence booster because it just shows I have more in the tank,” Foster said. “It’s really exciting to see all the hard work I put into it pay off.”

The athletes have already focused in on the looming championships later this month.

“The coaches always stress there’s only three meets that count: conference, regionals and nationals,” Larkins said. “Those are the goal. I feel confident going into it. The competition gets tough, and it only gets tougher after conference. I’m going to go in with a strong mind, and be ready to run.”

“It’s always a different mindset going into meets like conference and regionals,” sophomore Collin Milton said. “You know you have to do your best, and if you don’t, that’s it.”