Chipangama breaks long-standing record, Kemper moves to second all-time in NAU men’s high jump
The NAU track and field team split up again this past weekend, competing in the Mt. San Antonio College (Mt. SAC) Relays and the Beach Invitational. Redshirt senior Jordan Chipangama became the first Zambian to break a national record since 1995, but second overall on Mt. SAC’s track, finishing at 3:44.14 in the 1,500 meters race.
In addition to Chipangama’s feat, freshman phenom Deante Kemper advanced to the second place all–time spot at NAU for outdoor high jump.
“For [Chipangama] to break the national record, but still have a lot more to go, I think was pretty exciting for him,” said director of cross country and track and field Eric Heins. “After coming off of knee surgery two years ago, and to finish up his last semester of eligibility and to leave NAU with a new national record was great for him.”
It was the 54th annual Mt. SAC Relays at Hilmer Stadium in Walnut, CA on April 19 and 20, and the Beach Invitational was hosted by California State University Long Beach (CSU Long Beach) at Cerritos College’s Falcon Stadium in Cerritos, CA on April 21.
“First of all I felt very humbled to have broken the national record. It made me proud of myself and looking back to the time when I was injured I think it has been something to boost my journey and focus because I guess I never felt I could come back and do what I did,” Chipangama said. “Last weekend was something different and from this point on I think I’m going to face into every race with a different perception and attack them in a way I’m comfortable doing.”
Kemper continued to prove his athletic dominance this season at Mt. SAC, winning the men’s open high jump division at 7 feet 1.75 inches.
Freshman distance runner Caroline Hogardh and redshirt senior Haley Lawrence competed in the women’s 1,500 meters race recording times of 4:24.47 and 4:34.88, respectively. In the men’s 1,500 meter, redshirt senior John Yatsko finished with a time of 3:48.68.
“I feel really happy about the 1,500 [race], since it was a PR by like nine seconds, and I felt really good that day,” Hogardh said. “Overall, I’m happy because I’ve been practicing more for the 1,500.”
In only his second time competing in the men’s steeplechase race, freshman Caleb Hoover, the lone Lumberjack in the event, ran a personal best time of 9:04.40.
For the women’s invitational division 10,000-meter race, redshirt junior Rochelle Kanuho and senior Kortnee Burton completed the meet with a personal best mark of 34:42.36 and a Big Sky Conference (BSC) qualifier mark of 35:50.50, respectively. In the men’s Olympic development division for the same race, sophomore Bahlbi Gebreyohanns qualified for the Big Sky tournament with a time of 30:39.95 and freshman Alejandro Montano qualified as well in the men’s open with 30:58.
The Lumberjack sprinters performed to reset personal marks as well. In the 200 meters sprint freshman Darriel Banks crossed the line at 24.33 on the women’s side, while redshirt senior Dennis Givens and junior Miles Di Sabella finished with times of 21.32 and 21.44 for the men’s, respectively. In the women’s 400 meters race, senior Rashida McKinnon ran 55.59 and on the men’s side sophomore Adel al Nasser took a Big Sky season–best time of 47.31.
The throwers backed up the rest of their fellow Lumberjacks with redshirt senior Pascal Tang placing first in the men’s open division of the hammer throw with a distance of 201–4 meters. In the men’s discus, redshirt senior Karl Gehrke threw a personal best of 172–0.25 meters.
At the Beach Invite, hammer throwers redshirt senior Nicole Elliot and junior Kasandra Vegas threw for best marks of 184–8.5 and 163 meters, respectively.
Senior jumper Josh DeKonty claimed a personal best and the title in the men’s long jump with a leap of 24–7.25 meters.
The distance squad continued to shine this past weekend with junior Agnes Laurent garnering BSC qualifying and season best marks in the women’s 800 and 1,500 meters runs at 2:13.24 and 4:35.81, respectively. Just ahead of Laurent in the 800 meters race was Hogardh with a time of 2:12.83. Lawrence and sophomore Carissa Gwerder followed them at 2:14.20 and 2:16.55, respectively.
“When we look at the Big Sky rankings after this weekend, the exciting thing is I think we’ve got three freshmen in the 5K, we’ve got the top freshman in the steeplechase and the top freshman in the 1,500. It’s really exciting to see the improvement and to see how young they are.” Heins said on the women’s season thus far.
In the women’s 1,500 meters run, freshman Shayla Freeman earned her career first BSC qualifier with 4:39.24 while her twin sister Kayla Freeman matched as well in the women’s 5,000 meters race with 17:45.11.
The Lumberjacks will split up again this weekend in a Double Dual meet with UA and ASU in Tucson on Apr. 28 and at the Payton Jordan Invitational on April 29 in Palo Alto, CA.