LYNCHBURG, Va. — Indian Hills had All-American performances in three events from the men’s team and three program record in the 2020 NJCAA Indoor Track and Field Championship, with the Warrior women setting program records in three more events at the NJCAA National Indoor Track and Field Championships this past weekend. The IHCC men placed 18th overall as a team at Liberty University’s Indoor Track Complex.
“As a team, we were definitely hoping for a higher finish (than 18th) at the national meet,” said Indian Hills head coach Brent Ewing. “There were some positive things that happened, but we certainly had our eyes set on a higher team finish.
The Warrior men finished third in the 4x800 meter relay. Micah Reed, Aytonn Bar-Shimon, Kohner Butts and Elijah Berry posted the best national finish for any IHCC relay, establishing a new school record becoming the first team to cross the finish line in under eight minutes, posting a time of 7:49.25.
“We were shooting for a national title in the men’s 4x800 relay,” Ewing said. “Despite being in contention for the lead, we weren’t able to seal the deal. I’m proud of the way they competed, though.”
Tracy Gates led the field events for the Warriors, finishing fifth in the triple jump, leaping 14.74 meters. Gates improved his performance at last year’s national outdoor meet by nine places.
“I was really proud of the way Tracy ended his indoor season,” Ewing said. “He has improved exponentially since last year.”
Elijah Berry took eighth in the finals of the 600 meters in 1:20.86. Berry raced four times over a two-day span, posting a 48.32-second split for IHCC’s 4x400 relay team. That unit finished 10th, but was later disqualified due to an exchange zone violation.
Chris Hudnall placed 16th in the 60 meter hurdles, running 8.3 seconds. Kendall Banks-Price cleared the opening height (1.95 meters) in the high jump before bowing out at two meters, finishing 14th. Tyler Dunigan and Floyd Pond were 22nd and 23rd, respectively, in the 60 meters, both running 6.89.
“Elijah gave us everything. He had with three races in one day, capping it off with an impressive 4x400 split,” Ewing said. “We’re anxious to get some quality work in before opening up outdoors.”
Halley Wilmes finished 10th in the 1,000 meter run in 3:05.02, breaking her own record for the Indian Hills women’s track and field program by over two seconds. Kylar Brown competed in the triple jump and placed 10th with a jump of 10.88 meters. Her previous best had been 10.73.
“Our women did really well,” said Ewing. “We were hoping to come away with an All-American, but fell just short. Wilmes and Brown improved on their rank coming into the meet.”
The women’s 4x400 meter relay unit of Melanie Hall, I’Reoina Lightsey, Destiny Lottie and Brown clocked a 4:00.66 to come in 12th.
“Melanie had a solid opening leg for the 4x4 relay. Destiny did a great job of filling in for Jocelynn Crowell in that event. She really stepped up and surprised the coaching staff,” Ewing said.
The indoor portion of the season is all the IHCC track and field team will be able to participate in this spring. The NJCAA announced the cancellation of all remaining spring athletic activities to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, wiping out the entire outdoor portion of the 2020 season for the Warriors.