Cloud County track teams post 16 national qualifying marks at season-opening Graduate Classic

Cloud County sophomores Johnathan Spearman (8th), Murphy Bovinga (3rd) and Peter Ackah (1st) all finished in the top-10 of the men's triple jump on Saturday
Cloud County sophomores Johnathan Spearman (8th), Murphy Bovinga (3rd) and Peter Ackah (1st) all finished in the top-10 of the men's triple jump on Saturday

LINCOLN, Nebraska — The Cloud County Community College track and field teams got the 2019 indoor season underway over the weekend at the Graduate Classic, hosted by the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

Cloud County wasted little time posting 16 national qualifying marks over the two days, while also receiving a pair of event wins from freshman Santino Kenyi and sophomore Peter Ackah.

Kenyi rolled to a victory in the men's 5,000-meter run, posting a time of 14 minutes, 54.58 seconds; the fastest indoor 5,000-meter time recorded by a South Sudanese runner.

Fellow freshman teammate Dennis Kiptoo followed in fourth place with a national qualifying time of his own at 15:21.51.

The duo of Kiptoo and Kenyi, alongside Lesley Mahlakoane and Saba Khvichava, also posted a national qualifying time in the distance medley relay with a time of 10:26.10 to earn fourth place.

As for Ackah, his win in the men's triple jump highlighted what was a great day for the Cloud County jumps corp. The sophomore, who also finished third in the men's long jump (23-3.25), won the triple-jump event with a leap of 49-feet, 9-inches.

Ackah was one of three T-Birds in the top-10 as fellow sophomore teammates Murphy Bavinga (48-06) and Johnathan Spearman (46-08.75) finished in third place and eighth-place, respectively.

Spearman added a third-place finish in the high jump event, as well, with a mark of 6-06.25.

Sophomore high jumper Kyle Alcine finished eighth in the seeded section with a qualifying mark of 6-08.25 to round out the day for Cloud County jumpers.

The T-Birds also received national qualifying efforts from sophomores Louis Humbert and Lesley Mahlakoane as Humbert placed sixth in the pole vault at 14-07.50, while Mahlakoane was the runner-up in the men's 400-meter dash with a time of 48.55.

On the women's side, Cloud County had four field athletes punch their tickets to the national indoor meet.

Freshman pole vaulter Jessica Williams, a Concordia native and member of Cloud County's volleyball team this past fall, finished second in the event with a national qualifying mark of 11-11.75.

Sophie Jebose, a freshman out of the Netherlands, joined Williams on the podium with a fourth-place finish and national qualifying jump of 10-06.00.

Sophomore thrower Avi Bulai got her season underway with a fourth-place finish in the women's weight throw — the highest finish for any junior college athlete — with a throw of 60-10.50.

Fellow sophomore thrower Takyra Hilton finished eighth in the women's shot put with a national qualifying throw of 43-30.25.

Cloud County freshman Jacqueline Pokuaah also had a strong showing in her collegiate debut, posting national qualifying marks in the women's 60-meter hurdles and in the long jump.

Pokuaah was the second fastest runner in the preliminary round, posting a time of 8.84, before earning an eight-place finish in the finals. She'd then place fourth in the long jump with a leap of 19-02.75.

The T-Birds will look to build off their opening weekend when they send split squads to the Northwest Invite and Highland Invite next Saturday.