(LUBBOCK, Texas) – The TSJC Men's and Women's track teams competed at the NJCAA National Indoor Championships in Lubbock, Texas. There was no shortage of success for either team. On the women's side, Toni Moore and Benadine Chelimo competed in the 3,000 meter run. They finished 7th and 8th respectively after being ranked 20th and 16th coming into the event.
Coach Lauren Masterson commented, "Toni and Benadine had a tall task ahead of themselves in trying to be top eight out of the slower heat. They worked together and were able to pull away in the last half of the race. I'm very happy with their performance." Moore finished with a time of 10:58.07, just barely out-leaning Chelimo who finished in 10:58.08.
On the men's side the meet began Friday with the Distance Medley Relay; comprised of a 1,200 meter leg, 400 meter leg, 800 meter leg, and 1600 meter leg. Daniel Haymes led off the 1,200 meter leg, handing off to Riley Allen in second place. Allen ran a great 400 meter leg but unfortunately got tangled up with another runner and fell to the track, dropping the baton. Allen got up and finished his leg of the relay and handed off to Godfrey Chama who had the fastest 800 meter split time of the relay, passing a number of runners and handing off in 6th place. Derek Holdsworth ran a great final leg and was able to move the team into a 2nd place finish. Cloud County won the event in 10:11.40 to Trinidad's 10:15.64. "I'm extremely proud of how our relay performed" said Masterson. "We suffered an unfortunate fall but our guys never quit. That's what we are all about."
Individual events followed with John McMahon running a personal best time in the 5,000 meters to finish 20th after coming into the meet ranked 27th. Godfrey Chama ran a school record in the 600 meters preliminaries and advanced to the final. Derek Holdsworth won his preliminary heats of both the 800 meters and 1,000 meters and advanced to the final. Margarita Jones competed well in the women's 800 meter preliminaries, finishing 10th in her heat in 2:26.77.
Daniel Haymes and John McMahon competed in the 3,000 meter run later that evening, both after running other events only hours before. Haymes battled a very talented field the whole race. He was in 14th place at the halfway point, but moved up over the second half to finish fourth overall in 8:38.44. McMahon finished 29th in 9:47.48. Ayrton Ledesma of Gillette won the event in 8:35.34.
Coach Masterson praised Haymes, "Dan ran a great race. He was a great teammate and decided to run the relay earlier in the day even though it meant he would be less rested for the 3,000. Dan has been a model of consistency throughout his whole career with us."
Day two started off with a bang as Godfrey Chama finished third with a late charge in the men's 600 meter final. His time of 1:18.09 bested his previous school record he set the day before by less than a second.
Three Trojans competed in the men's mile which began with freshmen Riley Allen setting a personal best in the event. Holdsworth and Haymes followed that up in the fastest heat with a fantastic performance. Holdsworth won the national title while Haymes had a gutsy performance to finish fourth on very tired legs. Holdsworth's time of 4:16.10 bested second place by only .25 of a second. Haymes made another late push to finish in 4:17.86. "I couldn't be more proud of how Derek and Dan competed in the mile. I know both of them were tired, having already run multiple races, but they still fought hard to represent their team well" said Masterson.
Holdsworth came back only minutes later to compete in the 800 meter run. After starting in the back of the pack Holdsworth made a big move to the lead with 200 meters remaining and never relinquished the lead. He won his second national title of weekend in 1:52.73. Masterson stated, "Derek showed he's not only talented, but he has incredible toughness. He was unstoppable this weekend and I'm excited to see what more he can do in the future."
The Trojan women finished 25th overall, scoring their first ever points at a track National Championship. Both Toni Moore and Benadine Chelimo will be named USTFCCCA All-American's for their performances.
The Trojan men finished in sixth place, despite only bringing a small contingent of runners to the meet compared to the other high placing teams. TSJC was among only a total of five teams who won two events during the meet. 39 total teams had athletes who competed at the national meet. Derek Holdsworth scored the most points of any male athlete at the meet, while Dan Haymes tied for the eleventh most points scored by an individual athlete.
Both teams will get their outdoor seasons started March 17th in Pueblo, Colorado at the CSU-Pueblo Early Bird meet. The teams look to improve upon the great first outdoor track season in 2017.