Lydia Mato has had a decorated career for the Barton Community College women’s track team.
This past weekend at the NJCAA Indoor National Championship will be tough to surpass as the highlight of that career.
The sophomore from Ghana was simply unbeatable and showed great conditioning on her way to a record four individual national titles. Her 40 points led Barton to a fifth place team finish at the championships. Vanessa Style also brought home a national title in the 60m hurdles.
South Plains (Texas) won the meet with 147.5 followed closely by Iowa Central with 135. New Mexico JC was third with 73. Central Arizona edged Barton for fourth with 65 to 63 for the Cougars.
But for Barton it was all about Mato - especially on the opening day. Mato started Friday off with a win the 5000m. Mato dominated the field with a 17:52.1 - besting the runner-up time by more than 20 seconds.
After a four hour break Mato was back for the 3000m. Again no one really pushed the Barton standout was she ran a 10:10.73 to win by 17 seconds and give her a second gold medal.
Mato completed her day with a qualifying time the 1000m 30 minutes after completing her 3000m win.
With two gold medals in the bag, Mato returned for day two with two more on her list. She blew the field away in the Mile with a 5:03.35 to win by more than 10 seconds in the first event for her on Saturday.
That set up the finals of the 1000m in what would be a battle with a very familiar foe - Stephanie Barrett of Cloud County. Mato edged out her fellow Jayhawk competitor in the end with a 2:58.42 to Barrett’s second in 3:00.61 to become the first four-time individual winner at the Indoor Championships.
The four championships coupled with three she won last year gave her seven in her indoor career at Barton.
In between all that Style won her 60m hurdles race. She earned a spot in the finals with a Friday prelim race then won by a photo finish Saturday. Style and Courtney Robinson of Central Arizona hooked up in the closest race of the meet. Style ran an 8.394 for first with Robinson finishing in 8.399 for second.
In the field Tasha Frazier took second in the long jump with a leap of 19-3.5 to pace Barton. N’Kia Jones took eighth in the triple jump with a jump of 37-5.75.
Brooklyn Polk also finished eighth for Barton on the track in the 400m with a time of 56.68.
Barton finished the meet with a sixth place effort in the 4x400m. Polk, Widline Lageroy, O’Neisha Glover and Tamara Style finished the eight laps in 3:51.05 to round out the Barton scoring.