Indoor track prepares for national championships at ‘last chance’ meet


Photo courtesy of Buffalo State athletics

Cory Cox is one of seven athletes on the men’s team who will participate in the national championship meet next week.

With the NCAA championship meet looming, it was now or never for many of athletes looking to secure a spot. A handful of competitors from Buffalo State’s men’s and the women’s track teams participated in the Tufts University ‘last chance’ meet and the ECAC indoor championships this weekend with the hopes of qualifying for the most important meet of the year next week.

This was the final chance for certain relay teams and individuals to showcase their abilities and cut their times down. After the weekend ended, Bengal assistant coach Dustin Dimit said he was pleased with his team’s performance.

“This past weekend for us was all about getting our times down, which we accomplished,” said Dimit about his distance medley and 4×400 relay teams. “With the entrance of those two relay teams we are sending the largest group to the NCAA championships that we ever have before.”

For the men, the distance medley team, consisting of Bumkoth Jiak, Felipe Yanez, Austin Becker and Alex Ngabo, set a new school record (10:00.38) and finished in second place. The time puts them eleventhnationally, qualifying them for the NCAA championships.

Ngabo, who anchored the last leg of the men’s distance medley relay team, said he was proud of what they accomplished this weekend

“As a team the meets went really well, going in there we weren’t ranked nationally in the [distance medley relay] so we had to run our best in order to make it to nationals,” Ngabo said. “We ended up running the time we needed so it was great.”

The women’s team had similar success in the 4x400m relay, composed of Sasa Vann, Tara Murphy, Jazlyn Porter and Niasha Houpe, taking home a first-place finish with a school record time of 3:53.77, the fourth fastest time in the nation this season.

“Our [4×400] made the cut to nationals, which feels very good,” Porter said. ” I don’t know if it has sunken in yet, but to run that qualifying time was amazing for us.”

This weekend’s national championships, held in Lincoln, Nebraska, will include a number of Bengals in varying events.

The seven participants for the men’s team include Cory Cox, who qualified for the 200m dash and the long jump; Ray Richardson and Rich Pete, who both qualified for the triple jump; and the distance medley team of Ngabo, Jiak, Yanez and Becker.

The women’s team is sending five athletes as well: Jazyln Porter in the long jump, Shuntone Pricher in the 60m, and the 4x400m relay team of Vann, Murphy, Porter and Hope.

Coach Dimit believes that his team is ready for the challenge that the national championship meet brings.

“The goal has been the same, we want to get as many All-Americans as we possibly can,” he said. “Our training throughout the season is solely in preparation for two meets, SUNYACs and nationals, and we are ready.”

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