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Northwestern State turns in great performance at Leon Johnson Invitational
May 03, 2014 | 108 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Northwestern State senior Justin Walker blazes his way to a 10.08-second time in the 100-meter dash at the Leon Johnson Invitational April 25. While the wins nullified a school record, it is still good for the third best mark in the nation. Photo by Gary Hardamon/NSU Photographic Services.
Northwestern State senior Justin Walker blazes his way to a 10.08-second time in the 100-meter dash at the Leon Johnson Invitational April 25. While the wins nullified a school record, it is still good for the third best mark in the nation. Photo by Gary Hardamon/NSU Photographic Services.
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NSU sophomore Kenyah McDaniel recorded a long jump of 20’ 5.25” to shatter her old personal best by 14 inches. She was named as one of the Most Outstanding Performers for the meet. Photo by Gary Hardamon/NSU Photographic Services.
NSU sophomore Kenyah McDaniel recorded a long jump of 20’ 5.25” to shatter her old personal best by 14 inches. She was named as one of the Most Outstanding Performers for the meet. Photo by Gary Hardamon/NSU Photographic Services.
slideshow
Wind denied Northwestern State All-American Justin Walker two school records but was mild enough for him to post the country’s third-best 100 meter dash time April 25, while Lady Demon long jumper Kenyah McDaniel and thrower Rechelle Bessard shared the spotlight at The Leon Johnson NSU Invitational at the Walter P. Ledet Track Complex.

Walker posted a 10.08 mark in the 100 with a legal wind, for NCAA qualifying purposes, of 3.7 mph, but a lighter measurement of 2.0 mph is required for records. His 20.48 mark as he completed a sweep of the 100 and 200 would have shaved a tick off his four-year-old school mark of 20.49, but a 4.5 wind negated the mark for NCAA and record purposes. Walker shares the school 100-meter record (10.13, also in 2010) with Ronnie Powell (1998).

McDaniel exploded for a 20-5 ¼ winning mark in the long jump, the second-best leap in school history and the 20th-ranked performance in the country this spring. The sophomore improved her previous best by 14 inches.

Bessard broke a five-year-old school record in the women’s hammer with a second-place 184-8 mark, topping De’Jon Griffin’s 183-7 in 2009.

Northwestern competitors won nine of the 36 men’s and women’s events contested, while Louisiana-Lafayette led the way with 13 victories. McNeese won five times and Louisiana-Monroe had three firsts, while unattached athletes won six events. There was no team scoring.

Along with the win from McDaniel, other first-place performances by the Lady Demons came by Quiana Griffin (400 meter dash, 55.51), Consuela Lindsay (400 meter hurdles, 1:01.41), Keona Jackson (shot put, 48-10 ¾), and Shakemia Johnson (discus, 161-10).

The marks from McDaniel and Johnson moved them atop the Southland Conference rankings, while Jackson’s personal best maintained her No. 1 ranking and triple jumper Por’sha Thomas matched her league-best 40-0 ¾ leap while finishing second to UL-Lafayette’s Tarvia Conway (41-4 ¼).

For the Demons, joining Walker in the winner’s circle were Keenan Jackson (400, 47.69) and the 4x100 meter relay team of Brent Giddens, Jackson, Walker and Ty Shilling (41.11).

First-year head coach Mike Heimerman was elated with his teams’ performances in the first home meet since 2012. The Ledet Complex track was resurfaced last year, keeping NSU from hosting a competition.

“It sure is nice to compete at home. We had a lot of great marks, a lot of PRs (personal records),” said Heimerman. “It was a wonderful all-around day for good, entertaining competition. Days like this make it easy and fun to coach because our athletes took care of business.

“We’re heading into conference in two weeks with a lot of momentum. We have final exams ahead and then it’s on to Conway,” he said. The Southland Conference Outdoor Championships May 9-11 hosted by Central Arkansas are the next competition for the NSU squads.

Jamaican Olympian Jason Morgan didn’t break his own Ledet Complex discus record, but won his specialty at 210-7.

Two former USA Olympians, NSU’s LaMark Carter (2000 triple jump) and UL-Lafayette’s Hollis Conway (1988, 1992 high jump medalist) watched their children compete.

The meet is named in honor of the recently retired NSU head coach, who steered track and field at Northwestern for 31 seasons and was part of the meet officiating crew.
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