NC A&T tracksters, past and present, showcased their talents before a home crowd this past weekend at the Aggies’ Truist Stadium.
Dubbed the Aggie Classic, the meet primarily featured both college and pro competitors from around the state of North Carolina. The real treat was seeing NC A&T head coach Duane Ross’s current and former Aggies display their world-class skills and his seniors perform on their home track for the final time.
Cambrea Sturgis shines
NCAA 100- and 200-meter outdoor champion Cambrea Sturgis, who turned pro after her scintillating double victories at the 2021 national championships, was most impressive. Sturgis, now of team Adidas, showed speed and acceleration as she powered to a world-best time of 10.87 in Saturday’s 100 meter final. Her time bettered Jamaica’s five-time Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah’s mark of 10.89 run a week earlier at the Golden Games in Walnut, California.
Thompson-Herah made history as the first woman to win back to back Olympic sprint doubles when she retained her 100 and 200 meter titles in Tokyo.
This was Sturgis’s second fastest officially recorded 100 time ever behind her record time of 10.74 in last year’s NCAA finals. Former Aggie Kayla White, who won the 2017 NCAA 200-meter indoor title and now runs for Nike, finished behind Sturgis in 11.13. A&T senior Kamaya Dubose-Epps was third in 11.31.
Former Aggie Chris Belcher (10.02) outran NC A&T sophomore Javonte Harding (10.21) to win the men’s 100 meters Saturday. A&T senior Tavarious Wright was third (10.24).
Senior long jumper Brandon Hicklin perhaps had the best day among the current Aggies. He jumped a personal-best 26-feet, 10-inches to win the competition on Friday. The leap is almost a foot better than his previous high of 25-feet, 11 1/2 inches that he soared to finish fourth in last year’s NCAA Outdoors. His new best is the No. 1 jump in the country this season.
Olympic 4×400 gold medalist Randolph Ross, Jr. did not compete in his specialty, the 400 meters. Instead, he got in speed work as he posted a 20.51 time to win the 200 meters. Former Aggie Akeem Sirleaf, who teamed with Ross and two others last season to win the NCAA 4×400 national title, finished third in 20.82.
A&T senior Delecia McDuffie ran 22.89 to come through with a first place finish in the women’s 200 meters just ahead of graduate teammate Symone Darius (23.02). Both times are near the qualifying times for the upcoming NCAA East Preliminary Round. Freshman Pebbles Scott finished fourth in 24.18.
Former Saint Augustine’s quartermiler Tia Adana-Belle won both the women’s 400 meters and 400 meter hurdles. Adana-Belle, who now runs for G. W. Express/Nike, clocked a time of 55.77 to win Friday’s 400 meter hurdles race. A&T sophomore Nia Frederick got in at 58.69, a personal best, to finish second
Belle came back on Saturday to win the 400 meters in 53.03. A&T freshman Grace Nwokocha was second in 53.22 with fellow freshman Pebbles Scott third in 53.63.
A&T seniors Cory Poole (50.18) and Akeem Lindo (50.84) finished second and third respectively to 400 meter hurdles winner Andre Clarke of Puma/Chase Athletic Friday.
Current and former Lady Aggies swept the top five finishes in the women’s 100 meter hurdles Saturday.
Graduate Paula Salmon came through with a winning time of 12.66 Saturday. Former Aggie Telyrica Robinson was second in 13.17. Graduate Breann Bygrave (13.59), freshmen Zamia Stelly (13.86) and Amanda Kinloch (13.88) took places 3-thru-five.
NC A&T senior Cedric McGriff won the men’s 110 hurdles with his season’s best time of 13.97. Senior Jordan Richardson won the men’s 3000-meter steelplechase in 9:52.19.
In field events, A&T junior Kenady Wilson jumped a career-best 1.85 meters to win the women’s high jump with senior teammate Nazah Reddick second at 1.75m. Kennedy Alexander of Winston-Salem State was third (1.65) followed by Fayetteville State’s Shania Ingram (1.60).
A&T grad shot putter Loren James won the women’s shot put with a personal best throw of 53-feet, 5 3/4 inches. Aggie freshmen Carlos Alexander and Brayden Hodgest finished 1-2 in the men’s shot put. Alexander took first with a heave of 55-feet, 1-inch. Hodgest’s best throw measured 53-feet, 8 3/4 inches.
NC Central senior Marvin Jones soared 2.06 meters to take the men’s high jump final on Friday. Jones is the MEAC indoor champion. Kristoff Darby (1.95) of Johnson C. Smith finished second while Golden Bulls’ teammates Isaiah Harris and Brenden Finger tied for third with A&T’s Kendrell Goodes (1.90).
Upcoming Track & Field events
SWAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships – May 5-7 – Prairie View A&M University
Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships – May 10-12 – – Vert Stadium at High Point University
MEAC Outdoor Track & Field Championship – May 12-14 – Dick Price Stadium at Norfolk State University
East Preliminary Round, NCAA Outdoors – May 26-29 – Bloomington, IN
West Preliminary Round, NCAA Outdoors – May 26-29 – Fayetteville, AR
Outdoor Track & Field Championships, NCAA – June 8-11 – Heyward Field – Eugene, OR
United States Track and Field Outdoor Championships – June 23-28 – Heyward Field – Eugene, OR