Jan. 24, 2010
Johnson City, Tenn. - Shorter College increased its number of national qualifiers to 18 with another impressive performance on the boards at the Niswonger Invitational, which concluded on Saturday, Jan. 23 on the campus of East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tenn.
Several Hawks and Lady Hawks improved on personal bests while other punched their tickets to return to Johnson City for the NAIA National Indoor Track and Field Championships March 4-6.
Shorter proved one of the top programs in an event loaded with big name institutions - the University of Alabama, University of North Carolina, University of Alabama-Birmingham, Georgia State University, Western Carolina University, Virginia Commonwealth University and Appalachian State University, among others - and both the men's and women's teams represented Shorter well with several top finishes.
Two Shorter athletes took first in their respective events.
Appearing in his first event of the season, Hawks' junior Montagious Brown cruised to a victory in the men's high jump, clearing 6'10.75", two inches higher than runner-up Jerome McKinzie of Kennesaw State University.
Brown won the National Indoor High Jump national championship as a freshman in 2008, and with this latest national qualifying effort, will have a chance to add to his All-American resume with a repeat performance in this year's national meet.
Lady Hawks' sophomore Justyna Mudy, a two-time national champion and perennial All-American in both indoor and outdoor track, breezed to an individual title in the 5,000-meter run at the Niswonger.
Her time of 16:58.13 qualified her for nationals in March, but also broke her own school record, torched the field by over 39 seconds and is the best time in the country so far this season.
Five Hawks and one men's team posted national qualifying times in Johnson City.
Peter Limo placed third in the 3,000-meter run (8:46.07) to earn a spot on the national roster. Limo finished less than three seconds behind event champion Jaakko Nieminen from Kennesaw State who crossed the line in 8:43.64.
Nicolas Toscan finished sixth in the 5,000-meter run with a national qualifying time of 15:07.9 and Albert Huntley (6.95), Allen Huntley (6.96) and Shaun Kennedy (6.98) each qualified in the 60-meter dash. Allen Huntley was most impressive, posting his qualifying effort in first-ever 60-meter race.
Other Hawk standouts included N'aithan Scott, whose 8.20 in the 60-meter hurdles earned him runner-up honors while also improving upon his national qualifying time of 8.26 that he posted two weekends ago at the Indiana Open in Bloomington, Ind.
Nick Dodson posted the Hawks' top time in the 200 and 400-meter dashes, crossing the line in 22.23 and 50.38, respectively.
Shining brightest for the Lady Hawks in Johnson City may have been junior Ashlie Stewartson, who broke two school records in the long jump and 400-meter dash on Saturday afternoon.
The 2008-09 All-American jumped 18'3", smashing her 17'7.50" from the Indiana Open that already qualified her for the national championships.
Stewartson also secured a slot in the nationals in the 400-meter dash with a school-record time of 58.98.
Rounding things up for Shorter at the Niswonger Invite was the women's distance medley relay team of Sarah Massey, Dominique Woods, Courtney Pike and Mudy, who placed second overall in a national qualifying time of 12:25.05. That time now leads the country and gives the team a great starting point as it works towards a national title in March.
Shorter will return to action on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 29-30 at the University of North Carolina Open in Chapel Hill, N.C.