For the third straight year a member of the Barton Community College women's track and field team was the buzz at the NJCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field National Championships. Previously it was the performances from distance standout Lydia Mato, but this past weekend the torch was passed to Ayesha Champagnie as multi-event freshman broke three Pentathlon records helping lead the Lady Cougar to a sixth place national finish this weekend. Held at the JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the Region VI champion Lady Cougars scored 50 points in garnering ten All-American performances with three coming Champagnie accumulating twenty-three points.
Friday belonged to Champagnie opening up the championships with a 4003 point Pentathlon title. Having already broke Lisa Wright's 3784 school record with a 3787 point performance back on February 6, Champagnie blew past that mark winning three of the five events breaking the 1999 NJCAA National Championship meet record 3840 point total set by Odessa College's Virginia Miller in 1999. Additionally, Champagnie etched her name in the JDL Fast Track facility record book breaking University of Central Missouri's Erin Alewine's 3926 mark set in the 2014 NCAA Division II Championships.
Champagnie began her record setting day with consecutive personal best performances beginning with an 8.58 first place 60m hurdle time earning 1000 points a second place 1.70m (5-07.00) clearance in the high jump tacking on another 855 points. Coming up just shy of her personal best shot put throw, Champagnie still easily captured the event and 791 points with a 13.96m (45-09.75) mark then chalked up another 744 points in the long jump winning her third event with a leap of 5.65m (18-06.50). Despite having a comfortable lead going into the final 800m event, the Jamaican native left it all on the track just missing a personal best finishing in 2:36.00 adding 613 points and securing the championship.
Back on the track less than an hour from the grueling five-event Pentathlon, Champagnie and teammate Tasha Frazier each qualified for the 60m hurdle finals with the third and fourth fastest preliminary times. The duo would return on Saturday to give Barton a second and third place finish and fourteen combined points as Champagnie's 8.58 time tying a personal best just edged out Frazier's 8.64 finish.
The busy duo would hit the runway less than two hours after the 60m hurdle prelims to earn another five points in the long jump. Just shy of her personal best set two weeks ago at the Region VI Indoor Championships, Champagnie stuck her first jump at 5.69m (18-08.00) to finish fourth in the event. Also coming up just shy of a personal best, Frazier did sail a national runner-up 5.80m (19-00.50) distance earning eight points as the pair gave Barton an additional thirteen points from the event.
If breaking records in Pentathlon, qualifying in the hurdles, and earning a fourth place long jump national placing wasn't enough, Champagnie also was splitting time between the jumps and throws. Having passed on her final long jump attempt and her third shot put throw, Champagnie managed to heave a nation's ninth best throw of 13.40m (43-11.75) finishing just out of the All-American category. Teammate Michelle Tomlin came in four spots behind at thirteenth with a 12.78m (41-11.25) throw.
Having the nation's third best 4x400m relay time coming in to the meet, the Lady Cougars missed the third spot by .09 seconds as the tandem of Rian Robinson, O'neisha Glover, Tamara Style, and Widline Lageroy finished in 3:50.29. Also on the track the Lady Cougars picked up five points in the 200m as Style's 24.85 edged out Sabrina Mason's 25.03 for sixth place and another point in the 800m as Asha Douglas grabbed eight place with a 2:20.93 clocking.
Not competing throughout the indoor season, the Lady Cougars 4x800m relay team made its debut pick up a seventh place finish as Emilykate Hopson-Boyd, Brianna Payne, Douglas, and Olivian Jackson gave Barton two points in the event clocking a 10:03.25.
Besides Champagnie's ninth place shot put finish, additional near misses for the Lady Cougars came from the track. Shaving off twenty seconds for its season best performance, the distance medley relay team of Douglas, Hopson-Boyd, Lageroy, and Holly Pierce finished one second out of the placings with a 12:52.16 ninth place tag. Disappointment also came in the 400m as the reigning Region VI champion and holder of the top time in the nation was disqualified as Robinson was flagged for interference in the finals after clocking a third best prelim time of 56.68.
Next up for the Lady Cougars will be turning the attention to the outdoor season with a couple weeks away from competition.