Deon Lendore surrendered his National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division 1 Indoor Track and Field Championship men’s 400 metres title, in Arkansas, USA, late on Saturday.
Lendore, a senior at Texas A&M University, clocked 45.81 seconds to finish second in section two and fourth overall in the finals. The title went to American Vernon Norwood, the Louisiana State University (LSU) student getting home in 45.31. Lendore’s Texas A&M teammate, Grenadian Bralon Taplin picked up silver in 45.55, and United State/University of Florida athlete Najee Glass got bronze in 45.77.
While Lendore missed out on a top-three finish in the individual event, the Trinidad and Tobago quartermiler had the satisfaction of anchoring Texas A&M to men’s 4x400m gold in three minutes, 02.86 seconds. Lendore produced a 45.34 seconds split.
Sparkle McKnight ran the second leg for University of Arkansas in the women’s 4x400m relay, the T&T athlete splitting 51.79 to help her team earn silver in 3:28.70, just behind University of Texas, the winners in 3:28.48. On Friday, McKnight was part of the triumphant women’s distance medley relay team.
McKnight featured in a huge Arkansas celebration on Saturday night, the school emerging as women’s team champions with a total of 63 points.
University of Oregon (46.5) and University of Georgia (37) finished second and third, respectively, while Deandra Daniel’s Coppin State University finished joint-32nd with six points. The T&T athlete earned all six points with her third-place finish in Friday’s high jump.
Lendore’s Texas A&M accumulated 33 points for fourth spot in the men’s team competition, behind champions Oregon (74), Florida (50) and Arkansas (39).
At the NCAA Division 2 Indoor Championships, in Alabama, Kevin Roberts’ Tiffin University finished sixth in the men’s team competition with 28 points. Adams State University earned 45 points to capture the men’s title, while the women’s title went to University of Central Missouri (47).
Roberts, a freshman at Tiffin, finished ninth in the men’s long jump (7.08m) and 12th in the triple jump (14.51m).
At the Division 1 Championships, Daniel continued her fine run of form, earning women’s high jump bronze with an impressive 1.87m clearance.
“It means a lot to me to come in third,” said Daniel, in an interview on the Coppin State website “I put in the work and got the results I deserved. I am very pleased with my efforts today and I had great attempts at each height. I knew in my heart that I could do it. Jumping today I felt relaxed and great. That helped me throughout the competition.”
Daniel said she was grateful to her high jump coach at Coppin State, former T&T athlete Natoya Baird, as well as the school’s women’s track and field head coach, Alecia Shields-Gadson.
“I just want to thank God because without him I wouldn’t have been able to reach this far and accomplish any of this. Also, I want to thank my main coach Natoya for believing in me. She is the best coach and we have built a great relationship, not only as coach but as good friends. I want to thank coach Shields for her great support, and everyone else for their prayers and support. It meant a lot and it mattered.
“Finishing third feels great, but I didn’t accomplish all of my goals for indoors. I will be even better for outdoors,” Daniel warned.