A point here or there and Barton Community College would have had its 56th national title Saturday at the NJCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Lubbock, Texas, but instead finished two points shy of its 11th indoor title. Finishing third last year, the Cougar men continue their climb back to the top with the second placing while the Lady Cougars also had a great weekend in bettering expectations coming home with a fourth place finish.
In always one of the most exciting events of a meet, Saturday final men's 4x400 meter relay at the Texas Tech Sports Performance Center did not disappoint as the national title came down to the final heat of four. With Barton leading South Plains College by one point, it all came down to who could finish ahead of who with the Texans edging out the Cougars by 1.04 seconds to earn the title. South Plains placed second in the event for eight points while the Cougars' tandem of Kemarni Mighty, Hilton McClain, Jr., Kenroy Williams, Travis Hugg ended up fourth overall with a season's best time of 3:10.60 to earn five points.
The three point relay margin gave South Plains the title with 94 points in the twenty-event meet with Barton tallying 92 in the runner-up spot, seventeen more than Region VI foe Cloud County Community College's 75 points.
On the ladies side, Barton came in as the fifth ranked team in the nation but the Lady Cougars' 69 points was three better than Central Arizona. New Mexico Junior College under former Barton Coach Keith Blackwill once again took the title piling up 120 points to easily distance South Plains' 90 and Iowa Central's 89.
In addition to the team trophy, Barton also had five individual titles on the weekend with four coming on the men's side and one coming on the women's side.
Travis Hugg won the first men's title in capturing the long jump with a leap of 7.48m (24-06.50) while Alvin McCray just missed the fourth spot by .25 inches and into the third position by an inch in marking a 7.33m (24-00.75) jump.
School record holder Sanjae Lawrence led a top of the podium shot put 1-2 placing for the Barton men with a title mark of 18.17m (59-07.50) while Kevin Nedrick was good for the runner-up at 17.90m (58-08.75).
Earning the lone Lady Cougar title of the weekend, Latoya Stewart rolled steady in the first 400m before turning it on in the final 200m to win the 600m by .10 seconds at 1:32.60.