Northwestern State signs All-American, junior college national champion


The Northwestern State women’s track and field team just keeps getting stronger after the Lady Demons inked a three-time All-American and a junior college national champion.

Kansas transfer LaTyria Jefferson has qualified for the NCAA Outdoor National Championships the past two seasons in which she’s competed, including a second-team All-American nod in 2018 in the high jump with a 12th-place finish.

South Plains College product Janiel Moore is the reigning 400 hurdles champion with a 1:00.65, and Moore’s career best has broken the one-minute mark (59.68).

Jefferson is a DeSoto, Texas, native who will have one more outdoor season to compete after she redshirted this past season.

The jumper has two honorable mention All-American nods with a 24th-place finish in the long jump in 2018 and an 18th-place finish in the high jump in 2017.

“We know what LaTyria is capable of, and we’ll see where she’s at after she redshirted this past (outdoor season),” said NSU jumps coach Tyron Stewart. “We don’t have any expectations coming in, but I think those expectations will rise once she gets in and starts working with us.

“It’s very important to add depth to our jump group with an athlete that can do multiple events. She can help us in the Southland Conference and hopefully get back to the national stage. She’s a veteran that can help our younger high jumpers and show them how to be elite at the NCAA level.”

Jefferson took high jump silver at the Big 12 Championships with her career-best 6-foot jump in 2018, which ranks third all-time in Kansas history.

Her best long jump mark of 20-5.25 ranks ninth in the Kansas record books, and she also captured a bronze in the Big 12 Championships in the event.

Jefferson also captured a Texas Relays title in the high jump in 2017.

Moore hails from Jamaica and can be a threat in 400 and 800 meters as well as her specialty 400 hurdles.

Her best times include 54.91 in the 400 and 2:12.71 in the 800.

“She’s 6-foot-1, so she has a natural advantage in the hurdles,” said NSU associate head coach Adam Pennington, who is in charge of sprints. “She’s an incredible athlete that I first saw at Texas Relays.

“Her recruiting process has been long as she had plenty of Power Five offers, but she was looking for somewhere where she was comfortable. She feels a gap for us as we position ourselves to compete for a team Southland Conference championship, and I think she can be an individual champion in this league that can score in multiple events.”

Before capturing a national title in the 400 hurdles as a sophomore, Moore posted two top-five finishes as a freshman.

She placed fifth in the 400 hurdles and third as member of South Plains’ 4X400 relay.