2018 NJCAA Preview: 5 Can't-Miss Stars To Watch In Lubbock

By Lincoln Shryack


The 2018 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Indoor Championships stream live this Friday and Saturday, March 2-3, right here on FloTrack. The event is hosted by Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas, and their brand-new Sports Performance Center promises fast times and a magnificent setting to watch up-and-coming stars of the sport compete for national titles. Division I coaches looking for talented recruits will have their eyes glued to the action this weekend in Lubbock, and you should plan on doing the same.

Below we highlight the top athletes to watch at this year’s championships.

1. Sean Bailey | Western Texas | 400m, 600m

The young Jamaican was the breakout superstar of last year’s indoor meet, as he ran 45.59 to obliterate the NJCAA indoor 400m record. Although it was run on an oversized track, Bailey’s time was the fourth-fastest in the world indoors last year. At just 20 years of age, the Western Texas sophomore will no doubt be a name to watch in the coming years as he figures to continue his career at a prominent Division I school.

TASTY RACE: Sean Bailey Breaks NJCAA 400m Record 45.59!


Bailey enters Lubbock this weekend as a bit of a mystery, however, as he hasn’t quite been at the top of his quarter-mile game so far in 2018. With a season best of just 47.79, Bailey sits just seventh on the NJCAA descending order list, well behind the top time of 46.92 by Meridian’s James Burnett.

However, Bailey did run an incredibly impressive 600-yard race in 1:08.51 three weeks ago — not too far off Vincent Crisp’s collegiate record of 1:08.16 from January. Bailey’s mark was an NJCAA record. So while it’s a bit perplexing that Bailey hasn’t been close to his 400m best so far in 2018, he’s clearly still very fit. Expect him to put on a show on Texas Tech’s brand new — and very fast — track.

2. & 3. Adva Cohen (Iowa Central) vs Esther Gitahi (New Mexico JC) | Mile, 3000m

This will be the distance matchup to watch this weekend in Lubbock, as Cohen and Gitahi are by far the best female distance runners in the NJCAA. Gitahi won the mile and the 3K at last year’s indoor championships, but you’d be hard-pressed to call her the favorite this time as the freshman Cohen has shown incredible range from 800m to the 5,000m.

Cohen’s 4:42 mile and 16:16 5K scream of a future DI star, and although Gitahi has a faster converted time in the 3K, it’s safe to assume Cohen will be favored in that distance as well, since she beat her by a minute at last November’s NJCAA cross country championships.

4. Derek Holdsworth | Trinidad State | 800m, 1000m

Holdsworth is a former prep superstar who won the Brooks PR 800m back in 2014 and ran 1:48 the summer after his senior year. Back then, he had future NCAA star written all over him, but Holdsworth didn’t follow the traditional collegiate path, and at 22 years old he’s only now a freshman at Trinidad State.

But four years after starring in high school, Holdsworth is still running fast — he ran 1:47.07 outdoors last summer and his 1:48.53 this season is the only sub-1:50 time by an NJCAA runner in 2018. He also ran a lightning-quick 2:22 1K in January as well. No one will touch him this weekend, but it will be fun to see how fast he can go on Texas Tech’s ultra-fast surface.

Watch Holdsworth’s 2014 Brooks PR win over future NCAA All-Americans.

Boy's 800 F01


5. Travis Collins | Butler CC | 60m

The NJCAA shorts sprints tend to be a hotbed for future DI talent, and 2018 is no exception as 6.64 man Travis Collins will head to the University of Houston this upcoming fall. Collins has the fastest non-converted mark of the season, but he should have plenty of competition from Western Texas’ Emmanuel Yeboah and Barton County’s Terence Ware, who have qualifying times of 6.64 and 6.65, respectively.

Last year’s runner-up in the NJCAA 60m, Andre Ewers, now runs for Florida State and currently owns the fastest time in the NCAA this season of 6.52.

Did I mention that the NJCAA sprints are fantastic?

Tara Davis Says Georgia Not Releasing Her To Transfer

Update (Dec. 18): All-American jumper/hurdler Tara Davis released a video on Tuesday evening saying that she has not transferred to Texas, and that the University of Georgia has not yet released her to pursue other schools. Davis' former coach at Georgia, Petros Kyprianou, tweeted last week that the world junior record holder was headed to Texas, but in the minute-long video posted on Davis' Twitter account, she refutes that assertion.

The Best Performance Of Every Men's Bowerman Finalist

The six finalists for The Bowerman racked up a ridiculous list of accolades during the indoor and outdoor seasons. With so many collegiate records and all-time marks it was hard to settle on each athlete’s best showing, but here’s one attempt and nailing down the three men’s nominees single best performance of 2018.

House Of Run: Ranking The Best Marathoners Of 2018

Jason and Kevin wind down 2018 by reading listener emails about the best hopes for American marathoning, biggest track and field fears, compiling a yearly marathon top-ten list, must-see running films, watching Wayde Van Niekerk’s world record in person and Lebron vs. Ashton Eaton.

Jordan Hasay, Sara Hall Join Elite 2019 Boston Marathon Field

(c) 2018 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

Best Of 2018: Newcomers Of The Year

Some of the most entertaining and accomplished stars of the 2018 track and field season were either under-the-radar names before this year, or competed in their first season at a specific level of competition. Here are FloTrack’s top five newcomers of the year:

Which NCAA Stars Will Go Sub-4:30 For The First Time In 2019?

Join PRO Now to Get Unlimited Access to FloTrack!

Join Now

Already a PRO Member? Log In

Women's Mile, Heat 1 - Elinor Purrier 4:26.55, NCAA #2 ALL-TIME!

Among NCAA female milers, sub-4:30 provides the ultimate designation of elite status. 

The Best Moments In Bowerman History

On Thursday in San Antonio, Texas, the 2018 Bowerman Awards will celebrate a decade of crowning NCAA track and field’s brightest stars. And through those 10 years, the event has featured some of the greatest athletes in collegiate history.

FloTrack Is Confident About The Bowerman 2018

As we look ahead to 2019, we must first look back at the year of track and field that took place in 2018. The finalists for The Bowerman are as follows:

Which NCAA Program Would Win An All-Star Track Meet?

Who would win the NCAA indoor title if every school was allowed to enter their top all-time athletes in program history? We decided to take the all-time top-8 indoor lists and see who wins a team title when scored based on collegiate personal bests.

2018's 10 Most Improved In NCAA Cross Country

The Ultimate 2018 DI NCAA XC Championship Highlight

Within every NCAA cross country season there are always individual performers who improve dramatically from the year before, from total irrelevance to the very front of the national championship pack.