Sand Sharks shine at indoor nationals

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By Wes Kerr

USCB’s five qualifiers represented well at the 2021 NAIA Indoor Track and Field National Championships, recording five top-10 finishes over the week and rewriting the program’s record books at the Ruth Donohoe First Dakota Fieldhouse in Yankton, South Dakota.

The Sand Sharks hit the ground running on Thursday, as the terrific trio of Shamar Deacon, Kadari Mitchell, and Mel Obadiah Jr. all advanced to the finals of their respective events. 

Obadiah posted a sizzling 1:20.32 in the men’s 600m, besting the school record and recording the second-fastest time in the preliminaries. Deacon was right behind the Tennessee native, finishing in 1:20.71 to book his spot in the finals. 

The single Sand Shark in the men’s 60m, Mitchell zoomed to a time of 6.85s, coming in a tie for fourth with three others and matching his personal record. 

The action shifted to the field on Friday, as senior Iyana McKeever dazzled in the women’s triple and long jumps in record-breaking fashion. The three-time Sun Conference Field Athlete of the Week started off her memorable day with a 5.60m leap in the women’s long jump, finishing eighth overall and shattering the school record. McKeever delivered again in the triple jump, posting a fifth-place mark of 11.86m which set both a personal and USCB record. Maisonne Jones put together a strong performance in the high jump, finishing in 12th place after clearing a height of 1.56m. 

The trio of track stars capped off a phenomenal meet Saturday with three finishes inside the top eight. Obadiah was sensational in the men’s 600m finals, finishing in fourth place with a tremendous time of 1:20.71 and earning the senior NAIA All-American honors. Deacon took home a sixth-place finish with a solid mark of 1:21.42. Mitchell put the finishing touches on a successful Sand Shark trip, placing eighth in the men’s 60m at 6.96s and coming just .23 seconds away from the champion.

After a fantastic indoor track and field campaign, the Sand Sharks will begin their outdoor season in a few weeks.