HAYS, Kansas — The Cloud County Community College track and field teams made the drive west on I-70 on Thursday to Fort Hays State University, site of the Alex Francis Classic.
Competing in their second outdoor meet of the season, the T-Birds shined as they picked up four event wins and 19 top-10 finishes, while both the men and women notched fourth-place finishes out of 12 teams.
On the women's side, freshman Grace Chinonyelum, the NJCAA indoor champion in the women's triple jump and high jump events, cruised to a win in Thursday's triple jump with a record-setting mark of 43-feet, 10-inches.
Chinonyelum won Thursday's final by over five feet to take over the top spot in the country and set the outdoor school record in the event, previously held by Kearah Danville (41'5.25) set in 2011.
Concordia native Jessica Williams claimed the top spot in the women's pole vault as she cleared 11'5.75, while freshman Sophie Jebose placed third (10'0). Williams, who also added a fifth-place finish in the high jump (4'11), currently owns the second-best pole vault mark in the country amongst NJCAA athletes.
Freshman jumper Semaj McGhee found the podium in both the long jump and triple jump. McGhee earned a runner-up finish in the long jump at 17'9 then tallied a fifth-place finish in the triple jump (36'11.75). Both marks were season bests and just outside national qualifying spots.
The Cloud County women's team added four additional top-five finishes in the javelin, hammer throw, 400-meter hurdles and 3,000-meter steeplechase.
Sophomore thrower Shanee Angol took home third in the javelin (114'6) and fellow sophomore Takyra Hilton placed fourth in the hammer throw (117'7), while the duo of Kenisha Stubbs (1:18.15) and Shackera Samuels (1:09.45) earned third and fifth-place finishes, respectively, in the 400-meter hurdles.
Sophomore distance runner Sadie Jones finished fourth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 15:01.88.
The Cloud County men's track and field team would add two event wins of its own Thursday as sophomore Peter Ackah earned the top spot in the long jump and freshman Saba Khvichava won a tight finish in the 1,500-meter run.
Ackah's winning jump of 24'11 was a season high and the fourth best mark thus far amongst NJCAA athletes. The sophomore also added a fourth-place finish in the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.94.
Khvichava was one of two T-Birds to crack the top-five in the 1,500-meter run, winning with a time of 4:05.71 just a second ahead of Colby's Caleb Carrasco.
Freshman Santino Kenyi was close behind in fourth-place as he crossed the finish line in 4:07.92.
For the second straight meet, sophomore thrower Jerrod Hoover earned himself a top-3 finish in the javelin as he placed third with a throw of 170'3. It was a season-best throw for Hoover, who is currently ranked eighth in the country amongst NJCAA athletes, just outside of a national qualifying spot.
A pair of freshmen in Kody Orester and Stephen Holland collected the other two top-five finishes for Cloud County, with Orester earning fourth in the triple jump (40'11.5) and Holland placing fifth in the 400-meter dash (51.66).
Up next for the T-Birds will be the two-day Cowley Multis, set for next Thursday and Friday in Arkansas City.