RALEIGH, N.C. (Feb. 13) – The world-renowned Saint Augustine’s University track and field program showed its championship heart at the CIAA Indoor Track and Field Championships on Monday, Feb. 12.
Both the Falcons and Lady Falcons rallied back from deficits to take home championship plaques. The Lady Falcons bested Winston-Salem State University 162-154 for their third women’s crown in six years and first since 2014. The Falcons tied Virginia State University 175.5-175.5 to extend its conference title streak to 21.
Led by CIAA Women’s Field MVP Magaly Tshipopo (Jr./France), the Lady Falcons quickly erased a 38-32 deficit entering the final day. They surged ahead early and maintained their lead throughout the meet. Leading 152-146, the Lady Falcons clinched the championship in the final event – the 4×400-meter relay. Ranked sixth nationally in Division II, the Lady Falcons’ foursome of Ade Hunter (Sr./Philadelphia, PA), Amanda Crawford (So./Brooklyn, NY), Merissa Gale (Sr./Trinidad & Tobago) and Shannon Kalawan (Fr./Westmoreland, Jamaica) topped the second-place Rams to secure the title. They outraced the Rams in an NCAA provisional time of 3:48.17.
Tshipopo was fantastic in her first CIAA Indoor Championship meet. She won four events including three on Monday to earn Women’s Field MVP honors. She finished first in the Pentathlon, triple jump and high jump and placed second in the 60-meter hurdles for 38 points on Monday. Counting her long jump win Sunday, Tshipopo scored 48 points for the Lady Falcons.
Tshipopo led a Lady Falcons’ unit that placed first in five individual events and one relay Monday. Shakera Hall (Sr./Westmoreland, Jamaica) captured the 60-meter hurdles, placed third in the Pentathlon and finished sixth in the triple jump. Kalawan won the 400-meter dash in a provisional time of 55.94, anchored the winning 4×400-meter relay team and finished sixth in the 800-meter run.
Gale was part of the winning 4×400-meter relay and placed fourth in the 200-meter and 400-meter dashes Monday. Leah Barker (Sr./Barbados) was fifth in the 60-meter and 200-meter dashes, and Florence Fields (Fr./St. Philip, Barbados) was second in the 800-meter run and fourth in the 3,000-meter run. Crawford ran on the winning 4×400-meter relay squad, finished third in the 400-meter dash and placed fourth in the 800-meter run. Hunter was on the winning 4×400-meter relay team and placed fifth in Monday’s 800-meter run.
The Falcons’ men overcame a huge deficit against Virginia State. They entered Monday trailing 73-26 and the margin grew to 52 points before the Falcons started their comeback. The deficit appeared insurmountable but the Falcons kept chipping away until they moved ahead late in the meet. However, Virginia State led by four points heading into the final event – the 4×400-meter relay. The Falcons, powered by Shaquille Dill (Jr./Pembroke, Bermuda), won the relay and the Trojans finished third which tied the score.
Dill earned CIAA Men’s Track MVP honors for his superb running. The defending national Division II 800-meter champion won his signature event in a provisional time of 1:51.23 and helped the Falcons win the 4×400 relay. On Sunday, Dill crossed the finish line first in the mile run.
Led by Dill, the Falcons claimed individual titles in four events and one relay Monday. Jumonne Exeter (Sr./St. Vincent) was the winner in the triple jump, leading a 1-2-3 sweep with Justin Williams (Jr./Long Island, NY) placing second and Alazae Hester-Taylor (Jr.) finishing third.
Dakarai Hightower (Sr./Washington) won the high jump with Kirvano Handfield (Jr./Turks and Caicos Island) placing second and Exeter sixth. Hester-Taylor finished first in the Heptathlon and fourth in the 60-meter hurdles.
Dontarian Evans (Jr./Gainesville, FL) was part of the winning 4×400-meter relay team in addition to placing second in the 400-meter dash and third in the 200-meter dash. Adrian Kimmons (Sr./Cold Water, MS) placed third in the 60-meter dash and fourth in the 200-meter dash, and Devonte Gardiner (Fr./Turks and Caicos Island) finished fourth in the 60-meter dash and fifth in the 200-meter dash.
Jose Penalver (Fr./Miramar, FL) was third in the 800-meter and 5,000-meter runs Monday and Justin Marsh (So./Laurel, MD) was fourth in the 400-meter dash in addition to helping the 4×400-meter relay squad pick up a win.
After sweeping CIAA titles, the Falcons and Lady Falcons head back to the JDL Fast Track on Sunday, Feb. 25, to compete in the JDL Last Chance Meet in Winston-Salem, N.C. The meet starts at 10 a.m.
— Office of Sports Information