South Plains sweeps Men's and Women's Outdoor Track & Field Championships for fifth time in six years



MESA, Ariz. – South Plans College completed competition at the 2014 NJCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Saturday night, where both the Texans and Lady Texans swept the team titles for the fifth time in six seasons thanks to dominant performances from both groups during Saturday's finals. 

For the Texans, it is their eighth consecutive team championship dating back to 2007 when they tied for the team title with Central Arizona College, setting the stage for the 2015 championship meet where they will have the opportunity to tie Blinn College for the all-time record of nine straight team championships.

With the help of five event titles for the Lady Texans and three event titles for the Texans, in addition to a number of All-American performances (top 3) from both sides, the Lady Texans finished the meet with 162 points while the Texans finished with 148 points.

Saturday's highlights featured event titles from Shaquan Burris in the women's high jump; Chrisann Gordon in the women's 400-meter dash; Odean Skeen in the men's 100-meter dash; George Flaviano in the men's 400-meter hurdles; the women's 4x400-meter relay; and a men's and women's sweep of the 4x100-meter relays.

South Plains also picked up a championship Thursday night in the women's 4x800-meter relay.

Entering the final day of competition, both the Texans and Lady Texans had some significant ground to make up on their rivals from Iowa Central and they quickly got to work reducing that deficit.

Burris shocked the NJCAA high jump leader from Central Arizona when she cleared a season and personal best of 5-11.25 on her third attempt to claim the crown.  Two weeks ago Burris cleared what was then a person best of 5-09.25 to enter the NJCAA field with the second best clearance.

Burris said she was feeling the pressure of her final attempt.

"I was nervous.  My hands were shaking, my knees were trembling, but I just calmed myself down," she said after the event.

Moments after Burris' winning jump, the Lady Texans added 10 more points by winning the 4x100-meter relay.

The team of Shun-Shauna Mason, Diamond Gause, Royal Cheatham, and Eboni Coby defended the relay title South Plains won a year ago in Hutchinson, crossing the line in 44.65 seconds.

The victory bell rang again in the men's relay race as Brian Smith, Ahmed Ali, Lestrod Roland, and Odean Skeen claimed the Texans' first event title of the weekend in 39.55 seconds to also defend their relay championship.

In the women's 400-meter dash, Chrisann Gordon led teammate Domonique Williams to a 1-2 sweep, earning 18 points for their team.  Gordon crossed the line in a season best time of 51.91 seconds, while Williams finished in 53.47 seconds.

Gordon nearly pulled off the grueling 400-800 double, but came up about a half-second short in the two-lap event, finishing second and just ahead of defending champion and teammate Desreen Montague who finished third.

Odean Skeen edged Coffeyville's Andre De Grasse for the 100-meter title, leaning across the line in a season best time of 10.14 seconds.  Teammate Lestrod Roland was fourth in 10.40 seconds, but saved his best for the 200-meter event where he finished second in 20.84 seconds.

With the Texans still looking to rally in the team standings, the 400-meter hurdle event was crucial to the Texans.  Running out of lane nine, George Flaviano put together his best performance of the season.  As he rounded the final curve, Flaviano held a slight lead over teammate Kyle Robinson, who was making a challenge.  Flaviano held off his teammate and turned in a season best time by two seconds clocking a 51.75, just ahead of Robinson's 52.08.  The Texans earned 23 points in the event as Kadeem Williams finished fourth.

The Lady Texans dominated the 4x400-meter relay from the beginning as Gordon put South Plains into the lead and teammates Diamond Gause, Montague, and Williams held on in 3:36.64, nearly four seconds ahead of their nearest competitor.

Gause had a big day prior to the final women's event, finishing second in both the 100- and 200-meter dash events.

The Lady Texans handily won the meet over Iowa Central by a score of 162-119.  The men's standings were much closer and very much in doubt until the end of the 5000-meter run where Iowa Central was well represented but came up short of the points needed to overtake the Texans in the standings where South Plains held a 3.5 point advantage entering the 4x400-meter relay, where they would finish second.

In the end, the Texans outscored Iowa Central 148-134.50.

Clich here for a detailed list of South Plains' performances during the 2014 NJCAA Outdoor Track and Field meet.

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