5 Must-Watch Athletes Competing At NJCAA Championships
Latavia Coombs (New Mexico Junior College)
The jump specialist from New Mexico Junior College is currently ranked No. 6 in the triple jump among all college divisions. Coombs earned the standing after jumping 13.56m on April 15, which is an improvement on her previous best by a foot. As the USTFCCA pointed out in a feature on Coombs, her mark would have finished fourth at the NCAA DI Outdoor Championships last year. At the NJCAA Indoor Championships, the multi-event talent scored 34 points by herself (pentathlon, 60m hurdles, triple jump, long jump, and high jump), leading her team to a national title.
Coombs has committed to compete next year for the University of Kentucky, where she will focus on the 100m hurdles, long jump, and triple jump.
Keitavious Walter (Hinds Community College)
The sophomore has posted personal bests of 9.98 in the 100m and 20.43 in the 200m so far this season. Although the 100m time run at the Ole Miss Classic was not wind-legal, Walter posted a 10.21 winning time just a few weeks earlier at the Southern Miss Open. His 200m performance was also a big improvement as he ran 20.73 previously at the Crimson Tide Invitational. At the NJCAA Indoor Championships, Walter won the 60m and 200m and is poised to continue his winning ways this weekend. Walter has committed to run in the fall for the University of Arkansas, where his 100m time would currently rank in the top 10 of the NCAA.
Watch Walter's 60m victory at NJCAA Indoor Championships:
Natassha McDonald (South Plains)
The freshman from South Plains recently posted a 400m best of 52.48 at the Texas Tech Masked Raider Open, indicating that she is ready for a massive breakthrough at this weekend's championships. Prior to running 52.48, her best mark in the sprint was 53.06 from the semifinal round at the 2016 World Junior Championships, where she finished seventh in the final for Canada. McDonald also contributed to Canada's bronze medal in the 4x400m at the championship last summer. She currently holds the fastest 400m time run so far this season and should continue her reign at the NJCAA Outdoor Championship.
Elias Gedyon (Trinidad State Junior College)
California high school track fans remember Elias Gedyon as the Loyola High School standout who notched head-turning marks of 4:02 in the mile and 8:50 in the 3200m as a senior. Gedyon, an Oregon signee, never competed for the Ducks but returned to running last year with season's bests of 3:48 and 1:53. Now running for Trinidad State Junior College, Gedyon has already won an NJCAA indoor title and recently posted a 1500m personal best of 3:45 in the 1500m at the Bryan Clay Invitational.
Gilbert Kigen (Central Arizona)
Central Arizona's distance star unleashed a massive personal best of 13:53 in the 5K at the Bryan Clay Invitational. Prior to Bryan Clay, Kigen's best was 14:13 from his NJCAA indoor victory. At the same championship, Kigen won the mile and 3K. Prior to indoor, Kigen claimed his second individual NJCAA cross country championship. So far this season, Kigen has posted top ranked marks in the 5K and 10K and is projected to repeat his winning ways in the distance events this weekend.
Watch Kigen's Bryan Clay 5K race:
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