CONCORDIA, Kansas — The Cloud County Community College track and field teams make their way back to Pittsburg and the Prentice Gudgen Complex this weekend, site of the NJCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships.
It'll be a familiar setting for the T-Birds, who competed out in Pittsburg two weeks ago in the Region VI/KJCCC Championships and saw the men's team earn its first indoor Region VI title in school history and the women's team come home with a runner-up finish.
Cloud County will now be eyeing some national hardware once action gets underway at 10 a.m. Friday with the multi events.
A total of 32 Cloud County student athletes will compete over the two-day meet, with 13 female qualifiers and 19 qualifiers on the men's team.
The T-Birds have a number of athletes in position to claim individual national champions, with five athletes entering the weekend as the top seed or tied for the top seed in their respective events.
Freshman jumper Grace Chinonyelum, the Region VI Female High Point Athlete of the Meet two weeks ago, comes in as the No. 1 ranked triple jumper at 42-feet, 11.5 inches; over two feet further than No. 2 seed Ruth Usoro of South Plains.
Chinonyelum is also tied for the top seed in the high jump with Central Arizona's Regina Yeboah at 5'7.25.
Fellow freshmen Jacqueline Pokuaah, Deya Erickson and Jessica Williams are all in national title hunts, as well, as Pokuaah enters as the No. 2 seed in the long jump (20'1), Williams the No. 2 seed in the pole vault (11'11.75), and Erickson is the No. 3 seed in the women's 60-meter hurdles.
Erickson, the school record holder for the indoor 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.48 seconds, is just a hundredth of a second off of the 8.47 time of top seeds Yoveinny Mota (Barton) and Demisha Roswell (New Mexico Junior College).
On the men's side, freshman distance runner Santino Kenyi, the Region VI Male High Point Athlete of the Meet at the Region VI/KJCCC Championships, is in great position to come home with some hardware as he enters the weekend as the top seed in the men's mile (4:08.48) and 5,000-meter run (14:30.10).
Dennis Kiptoo is a threat in the 3,000-meter run, currently ranked No. 2 with a time of 8:20.92 just behind Colby's Nehemiah Too.
Sophomore multi athlete Louis Humbert, Cloud County's school record holder in the heptathlon (5,004 points), begins competition as the No. 2 seed in the event and as the No. 2 seed in the pole vault (15'7.25).
Cloud County also owns the top seed in the men's distance medley relay with a time of 9:59.48.
The T-Birds won't be running the same group that set that school record time, but the quartet of Saba Khvichava, Ablel Gebreselase, Gabriel Chinya and Lesley Mahlakoane have all run marks on the DMR team this season that would still own the top seed in the country ahead of No. 2 seed Iowa Central (10:16.21).
Live results of this weekend's NJCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships will be provided by Heartland Timing.
Cloud County women's national participants
Jatoria McGirt 60-meter dash, 200-meter dash, 4X400-meter relay
Myflore Methelus 60-meter dash
Chanice Forbes 200-meter dash, 4X400-meter relay
Kenisha Stubbs 400-meter dash, 4X400-meter relay
Shackera Samuels 600-meter run, 4X400-meter relay
Deya Erickson 60-meter hurdles
Jacqueline Pokuaah 60-meter hurdles, long jump
Grace Chinonyelum High jump, long jump and triple jump
Jessica Williams High jump and pole vault
Semaj McGhee High jump, Pentathlon
Sophie Jebose Triple jump and pole vault
Takyra Hilton Shot put
Maryse Mbenoun Pentathlon
Cloud County men's national participants
Lesley Mahlakoane 400-meter dash, 4X400-meter relay, distance medley relay
Sten Sepp 600-meter run, 4X400-meter relay
Saba Khvichava 800-meter run, distance medley relay
Santino Kenyi 1,000-meter run, mile run, 5,000-meter
Ablel Gebreselase 1,000-meter run, 4X800-meter relay, distance medley relay
Gabriel Chinya 1,000-meter run, 4X800-meter relay, distance medley relay
Dennis Kiptoo Mile run, 3,000-meter, 5,000-meter
Kwanele Mthembu Mile run, 3,000-meter, 5,000-meter
Thom Reynders 3,000-meter run
Kyle Alcine High jump
Johnathan Spearman High jump, triple jump
Louis Humbert Pole vault, Heptathlon
Jaycob Vargas Pole vault
Peter Ackah Long jump, triple jump
Murphy Bavinga Triple jump
Levi Armon Shot put, weight throw
Tanner Brown Heptathlon, 4X400-meter relay
Stephen Holland 4X400-meter relay, 4X800-meter relay
Marco Joseph 4X800-meter relay