The Barton Community College women’s track and field team placed fourth over the weekend at the NJCAA Division-I Indoor Track and Field National Championships held at the New Balance Track and Field Center at The Armory in upper Manhattan, N.Y.
The Lady Cougars scored 52 points as Lydia Mato and Agnes Abu won a combined five events with Bethany Bowman placing seventh to earn Barton an additional two points.
Mato, who won three distance events, earned the distinctive Female Athlete of the Meet Award after earning two distinctive awards after the Region VI Championships two weeks earlier.
Mato led the Lady Cougars with three individual championships, posting season-best times in winning both the 5,000-meter and 3,000 on Friday, then held off a late charge in Saturday’s 1-Mile Run to claim her third victory.
Running amongst three Iowa Central runners in the 5,000 run, Mato ran an incredible last lap to pass her opponents to capture the first individual race of the Championships, running a 17:38.68 to better the field by two and a half seconds.
Mato wrapped up her first day of competition winning the 3,000 run, breaking the tape at 10:16.04.
On Saturday, Mato needed a lean at the finish to hold off a hard charging Gillette College’s Makala Diggs to win by .13 in a time of 5:97.47.
Winning both of her individual races, Abu held off the field in capturing both the 800-meter and 1,000-meter runs.
After posting a season-best 2:16.68 in the prelims on Friday, Abu ran an even faster 2:13.38 to beat the nearest competitor by 1.71 seconds.
Having less than 40 minutes between the 800- and 1,000-meter races, Abu exceeded her season-best 1,000 meter time of 3:02.45 to capture her second championship with the closest race of the day by leaning at the tape to scrape out a narrow .01 victory in a time of 2:55.56.
Despite clocking season-best times, Modesty Lorick and Kiana Winston both missed finals in the 60-meter hurdles.
Lorick crossed the tape in 9:02 to finish 13th, while Winston was close behind at 9.06 to finish 15th.
The Lady Cougar 4x400-meter relay team placed 10th, but clocked a season-best time by over four seconds. The team of Lorick, Lahni Clifton, Winston and Abu, who just won the 1,000-meter 30 minutes prior, tag-teamed to cross the line at 3:58.51.
In the jumps, Bowman led the way with a seventh-place finish in the high jump.
After clearing 5-foot and 5-2 on her first attempts, the Emporia freshman was knocked out of the competition, failing to clear 5-3. Annette Gaskins led Barton in the long jump, finishing ninth with a leap of 5.50-meters ,while N’Kia Jones finished 14th at 5.26-meters.
Jones also competed in the triple jump, finishing ninth at 11.35 meters, while Tahje Ochs finished in 17th place at 10.57.
Susan Evans was the lone thrower for Barton, finishing 12th in the shot put with a throw of 12.19 meters.
In addition to the relay, Clifton also competed in the pentathlon, matching or exceeding her previous bests in each of the five events to finish 13th overall with a score of 2,736 points.
The Lady Cougars will now turn their attention to the outdoor season, beginning March 22 at the Butch Reynolds Invitational in El Dorado.