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NSU track and field athletes reach All-America honors at NCAA Championships
Jun 08, 2013 | 274 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The fastest 4x100 meter relay time at Northwestern State since the days of Demon legends Joe Delaney and Mark Duper propelled the 2013 foursome of Gabriel White, Hanoj Carter, Kendal Taylor and Justin Walker to All-America status Wednesday afternoon on the opening day of the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

Walker barely missed another All-America award 90 minutes later in the 100 meter dash semifinals, running a 10.28 that was 18th in a 24-sprinter field, matching his national ranking entering the day. The top 16 finishers earn All-America recognition.

The Demons' 4x100 relay squad ran 39.57, the best mark by an NSU foursome since 1982. Duper ran on all five relay combinations between 1980-82 which own the fastest finishes in school history, and Delaney was on three of those units. Both, who became Pro Bowl football stars in the NFL, are in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.

White, Carter, Taylor and Walker finished with the 11th fastest 4x100 mark among three eight-team semifinals. The top eight teams advanced to Saturday night's finals, led by Auburn (38.76) and including LSU (fourth in 38.94).

Just ahead of NSU were Iowa (the eighth and final qualifier at 39.31), Arizona State (39.44) and Clemson (39.46). Immediately trailing the Demons were Louisiana Tech (39.71), Illinois (39.76), Baylor (39.78), Nebraska (39.84) and Oregon (39.89), with Ohio State's foursome missing out on All-America honors with a 17th-place 40.08.

On the following day, Janae Allen, a surprise qualifier for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, rose to the occasion in her last collegiate competition, rocketing three personal best throws to finish 10th in the women's discus and qualify for All-America honors.

Allen, an Abbeville native who graduated from NSU last month, topped her personal record by 11 feet with her 176-2 best mark. She came into the national meet seeded 24th in the 24-woman field after being the 11th of 12 NCAA East Preliminaries qualifiers two weeks earlier.

She topped her PR of 165-3 with a 171-1 mark on her first throw Thursday afternoon, then improved by two inches on her second try and added nearly five more feet on her last throw in the first flight. Allen was bumped out of being one of the nine finalists, who got three additional throws, when Baylor's Skylar White marked 176-10 on her last throw.

"I'm elated for Janae," said Lady Demon head coach Mike Heimerman, who coached Trecey Rew to the 2011 NCAA discus title. "At the start of the season, we were just hoping she could qualify for regionals and we were happy to make it there. Then she qualified for nationals and that was way past any reasonable expectation.

"But in the last few weeks especially, in practice with marks and in competitions with foot fouls and sector fouls, she showed she had the capability of getting it out there to compete on the national level. We knew this kind of performance was in there, but nobody expected anything quite like this."

Arizona State junior Anna Jelmini won at 190-1. Allen topped Wisconsin senior Taylor Smith for a spot in the top 10 by three inches.

The top 16 finishers in each event at the NCAA Championships will be officially named All-Americans next week by the USA Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. The top eight score points for their teams and earn first-team All-America honors.

"She graduated in May, and left her mark on NSU track and field history in June," said Heimerman. "Honestly, from a technique standpoint, she didn't hit a throw correctly today. But when that first one was a PR by six feet, that's when we knew it was on for her today. Three PRs in three throws, at the national meet, that's all you could want, and to finish in the top 10 is just great."

Allen moved into second behind Rew on the NSU all-time discus throws list and cracked the top four in Southland Conference history.

"I'm upset a little, at not making the finals so I could get three more throws, but I'm very, very happy," said Allen. "I believe if I had gotten to the finals I could have done even better and placed higher, but I did PR each time and it was a very fun day."
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