Note: Jermaine Jones is a recent graduate of St. Augustine’s in Raleigh. He’s a 2009 graduate of New Hanover High School.
ALLENDALE, MI –- Saint Augustine’s University scored 104 points on the final day to capture its second consecutive men’s outdoor national crown at the 2014 NCAA Division II Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Grand Valley State Track and Field Stadium on Saturday, May 24, 2014.
The title was the 12th men’s outdoor title for the Falcons, who also swept the last two men’s indoor national titles. Overall, the Saint Augustine’s University track and field program has won 35 NCAA Division II national championships under legendary Head Coach George Williams.
“I am always thankful for a championship,” Williams said. “It never gets old. To see young student-athletes develop on the track and in the classroom is amazing.”
The Falcons scored 112 points to win by a 45-point margin over the competition. Adams State, who led entering Saturday, finished second in the men’s division with 67 points and Ashland placed third with 53 points. In the women’s division, Lincoln (Mo.) won the 4×400 meter relay in the last event top edge Johnson C. Smith University 64-59. Grand Valley State was third with 53 points and Saint Augustine’s University finished 10th with 24 points.
The Falcons were once again led by their talented array of sprinters, hurdles and jumpers. The men’s squad won four men’s events and scored multiple points in several others to win going away.
The Falcons entered the day with eight points and trailed leader Adams State by 25 points with 11 events remaining. They immediately cut into their deficit with a victory in the men’s 4×100 meter relay race, the day’s first running event. The foursome of Daniel Jamieson (Soph./Windsor, Conn.), Taffawee Johnson (Sr./St. Ann, Jamaica), Burkheart Ellis Jr. (Soph./Raleigh, NC) and Jermaine Jones (Sr./Wilmington, NC) crossed the finish line first in 39.42 seconds to defend their 400 meter relay national title.
Ty’reak Murray (Sr./Portsmouth, VA) continued the surge with a victory in the men’s 110 meter hurdles in 13.89 seconds to pull the Falcons in fifth place with 28 points, which was 11 behind leader Adams State. He earned a national title in the event for the second time in his four-year career. The Falcons moved in front 42-39 over Adams State in the men’s 400 meter dash when Joshua Edmonds (Sr./Jacksonville, FL) placed second in 46.03 seconds and Ellis Jr. finished third in 46.06 seconds.
The Falcons padded their lead in the 100 meter dash. Jones was second and Johnson was third to extend the team’s lead over Adams State to 56-39 with six events left. Jones nearly won the 100, finishing three/1,000th of a second behind Tim Price of TAMU-Kingsville, who won in 10.484 to 10.487 for Jones. Johnson ran a time of 10.58.
The Falcons continued to pour on the points. In the men’s triple jump, DeJon Wilkinson (Sr./Summerville, SC) finished second with a mark of 52-1¾ and David Shaw Jr. (Jr./Red Springs, NC) placed sixth with a leap of 50-7½ to open a 67-49 Falcons’ lead with four events remaining.
The Falcons continued their strong finish down the stretch. Roxroy Cato (Sr./St. Mary’s, Jamaica) won the men’s 400 meter hurdles national title in 49.75 seconds. Elhadji Mbow (Sr./Dakar, Senegal) was fifth in the event in 51.46 seconds as the duo pushed the Falcons margin to 81-49 with three events left.
The Falcons cemented the title in the men’s 200 meter dash as five sprinters competed in the finals. Edwards was second in 20.78 and Jones was third in 20.83. Ellis Jr. placed fifth in 21.054, Johnson finished sixth in 21.057 and Jamieson placed ninth in 21.78. All five sprinters combined to score 21 points for a 53-point Falcons’ lead with two events remaining.
With victory already in hand, the Falcons capped the championship meet in convincing fashion. The quartet of Cato, James Quarles (Sr./Washington, DC), Ellis Jr. and Edmonds won the men’s 4×400 meter relay national title for the second straight season with a time of 3:06.84.
On the women’s side, Tia-Adana Belle (Fr./Bridgetown, Barbados) led the Lady Falcons with a second-place finish in the 400 meter hurdles in 57.58 seconds. Belle also was a member of the women’s 4×400 meter relay which placed second in 3:37.88. The other Lady Falcons’ members were Cherrisse Lynch (Jr./St. Lawrence, Barbados), Brittany Brown (Sr./Akron, OH) and Akeisha Dumont (Sr./Brooklyn, NY).
Shamia Lassiter (Soph./Chesapeake, VA) placed sixth in the 100 meter hurdles in 13.70. Ornella Livingston (Soph./Jamaica) finished seventh in the 100 meter dash.
For final results, go to ncaa.com. Each student-athlete gained All-America honors by finishing in the top eight places in their respective events.