Local athletes begin indoor track season

LUBBOCK, Texas — The team of Daniel Harper, Alistair Moona, Vernon Norwood and Bralon Taplin earned top honors in the men’s 4x400 meter relay in the final event of the two day Texas Tech Open on Saturday afternoon, while the Lady Texans lost a close race to host Texas Tech University to finish second in the women’s relay.

The Texan quartet was able to earn the victory with a time of 3 minutes, 10.11 seconds even with a bobbled first exchange between leadoff leg Harper and Moona.

Norwood, a Morgan City High School graduate, was competing in his first meet as a college athlete.

Returning all-American performers Shana-Gaye Tracey, Sparkle McKnight, Janeil Bellille, and Natoya Goule composed the women’s 4x400 M relay team. The first three relay legs kept Lady Texan anchor Goule within a few meters of the Lady Raiders. Goule made the spectators inside the Athletic Training Facility gasp as she nearly pulled even with the Texas Tech anchor coming off the final curve, but was not quite able to completely close the gap on her opponent.

During the two day meet the Texans and Lady Texans were entered in only five events and came away with victories in three with Taplin winning the 600-yard dash and anchoring the Texan 4x400M relay; and with McKnight outleaning her teammate Bellille in the women’s 600-yard dash.

South Plains College will likely be more completely represented in all events next weekend when they return to the Athletic Training Center Jan. 20-21 to compete in Texas Tech’s second invitational of the 2012 indoor season.

Stewart runs 200 for first time

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Veteran Southeastern Louisiana athletes turned in solid performances Friday at the UAB Blazer Invitational in Birmingham, Ala., and the McNeese Indoor I in Lake Charles.

“We were exposed to some good competition,” head coach Sean Brady said. “Our freshmen acted like freshmen and they need to gain experience. We had some jitters I thought we’d shaken over the break, but I’m really pleased with the veterans.”

With the top Southeastern performance of the UAB Blazer Invitational, Michelle Ogashi won the women’s triple jump (12.35 m) and set a Southeastern indoor record.

Shannon Grover, running in lane three, finished second in the men’s 200-meter dash (21.50 sec) to Mississippi State’s Tavaris Tate. Tate set the track record (20.96 sec) in winning the event.

“Shannon is a mature guy that we expect to be great,” Brady said. “And he is living up to it.”

Grover also finished second in the men’s 60-meter dash (6.82 sec).

On the women’s side, Alicia Noel finished 12th in the 400 meter dash (59.06 sec). Central Catholic graduate Nia Stewart placed 28th in the 200 meter dash (25.80 sec) and the Lady Lion relay team finished 19th in the 4 x 400 meter relay (4:03.63).

“It was nice to be able to lineup against some CUSA and SEC schools,” Brady said. “We can compete against anybody in spots.”

St. Mary Now & Franklin Banner-Tribune

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