Winning national championships is nothing new for the New Mexico Junior College women’s track and field team.
On Saturday, the Lady Thunderbirds claimed their third indoor title in four years. After winning back-to-back titles in 2017 and 2018, the Lady T-Birds slipped to a second place finish in 2019, finishing 16 points behind Barton College. This year, the Lady T-Birds left no doubt on how good they are, crushing the competition.
The Lady T-Birds scored 160 points, blowing by second place Iowa Central (115). South Plains College (98) was third while Barton (95) was fourth and Cloud County (49.5) was fifth.
“I think last year had a big effect on us. We weren’t very happy last year,” NMJC track and field coach Keith Blackwill said. “All year we have been saying that we didn’t necessarily lose it last year as much as we gave it away. I think that is a little bit of what we had to prove this time. Last year wasn’t what our team actually was, and that this year is what our team is. I think that is why there was such a big gap with 160 points to 115 in second place.”
With three indoor titles in the last four years and the last three outdoor national championships, the Lady T-Birds have begun to dominate the sport. Blackwill wasn’t ready to call what his team has done over the last three and a half years a dynasty.
“I don’t know that I would call it a dynasty. I think what we are starting is more of a tradition,” Blackwill said. “I think the work ethic for the team, and everything that goes on, it is just something that you have to instill in your team and I think that is more where it is at. I don’t know about dynasty. I think that is a pretty big word.”
Yanique Dayle won the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.38 seconds while teammate Ayla Stanisclaus won the 200 with a time of 23.52 seconds. Britnie Dixon (1:33.37) won the 600-meter dash.
Flomena Asekol did everything she could to help the Lady Thunderbirds indoor track and field team win another national championship as She won three individual events and one relay.
Asekol took first in the 800 meters, the 1,000 meters, and the mile runs. She finished the 800 with a time of 2:12.87 and turned in a time of 2:56.43 in the 1,000. In the mile run, she had a time of 4:52.69. Additionally, she was a member of the distance medley relay, which took first place with a time of 11:56.50. Asekol ran the anchor for the medley relay, which won by more than 20 seconds.
“She was amazing, “ Blackwill said. “I told coach (Jeff) Becker, I really don’t think I have ever seen anything quite like that. … It was pretty impressive.”
The Lady T-Birds relay team took first in the 4×400 with a time of 3:48.83
In the field events, Demisha Roswell won the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.17 seconds while Victoria Villanueva took first in the pole vault, clearing 3.85 meters. In the indoor pentathlon, Rushelle Jones won the high jump, clearing 1.64 meters.