Saturday May 23rd, 2015 8:01AM

Brenau qualifies three for 2014 NAIA women's track & field championships

By staff reports
GAINESVILLE -- Three Brenau University athletes will participate in the NAIA's 34th Annual Women's Outdoor Track & Field National Championships in Gulf Shores, Ala., May 22-24, 2014, following the Golden Tigers second consecutive Southern States Athletics Conference championship win.

Qualifiers for the national meet include freshman DeMichia Higgins in the 100-meter hurdles, sophomore Deishane' Honeycutt in 400-meter hurdles and sophomore Olamide Sokunbi in the 100- and 200-meter dash.

As it did a year ago in its inaugural season, the Brenau team dominated the SSAC championship in Gulf Shores last weekend, scoring 321.5 points to easily outpace second-place Emmanuel College of Franklin Springs, Ga., with its 110 points. Golden Tigers Head Track Coach Richard Ludwig also chalked up his second SSAC "Coach of the Year" honor.

However, when Ludwig takes his athletes back to Gulf Shores for nationals in May, it will be the first appearance by any Brenau track and field competitor in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Association top competition for the sport.

It is a significant development for Brenau, which started the track team in 2012 and participated in the first competitions starting last spring. But through Ludwig's aggressive recruiting and use of athletes in multiple specialties, the Golden Tigers applied talent and depth to score points in every event at the SSAC meet and to finish first in 14 of 21 contests.

On day two, Higgins won the 100-meter hurdles in 14.75 seconds. Freshman Jasmine Jones and Honeycutt finished fifth and seventh.

Dana Cole wrapped up her second title of the weekend as the sophomore captured first place in the hammer throw with a 33.59-meter toss. Freshman Rebecca Riddle's 31.16 meter throw was good for second. Golden Tigers juniors Devony Hemingway and Andrea Holloway also scored with their fourth- and eighth-place finishes in the strength event.

In the high jump, Jones won with a leap of 1.62 meters. Sophomore Snowie Saunders' 1.57-meter jump and Hemingway's 1.47 were good for second and eighth places.

Sophomore Aubrey Fearnow placed third in the shot put with a throw of 11.79 meters, while Hemingway and Cole tied for sixth place. Riddle also scored for the Golden Tigers with a tie for eighth place (9.85m).

In the triple jump, Brenau's superior depth was evident as Sokunbi captured second place while freshman Ismaelle Occeus, sophomore Jasmine Steen and Jones also scored with third-, fourth- and fifth-place finishes.

Sophomore Jasmine Ray continued the parade of first-place finishers, capturing the 3000-meter steeplechase title in 12:30.62. Teammate Tyana Luna, also a sophomore, and freshman Anahi Ruiz finished fourth and eighth.

In the 4x100-meter relay, the team of Occeus, freshman Cheyenne Wells, Steen and Sokunbi missed first place by 0.41 seconds.

However, sophomore Utami Ketchem added to the first-place finishers with her 5:04:38 1500-meter run. Freshman Natalie Williams finished fifth in 5:24:87.

Honeycutt's stellar weekend also included her winning the 400-meter in 57.83. Freshman Monika Nwajei placed sixth.

Sokunbi set a new conference record in both the 100- and 200-meter races. The sophomore won the 100-meter with a time of 11.75 while blazing to a 24.85 finish in the 200-meter. Wells also added to her impressive debut with a fourth-place finish in the 100 and seventh place in the 200.

In the 800-meter run, a pair of Golden Tigers finished a close second and third: Ketchem crossed the finish line in 2:29.11 and Ray in 2:29.70.

In the 400 hurdles, the Golden Tigers showed off depth with four runners scoring points, led by Honeycutt's first-place finish.

A trio of Golden Tigers scored in the 5000-meter as Williams finished third and juniors Brittany Aikens and Sarah Saenz finished fourth and fifth.

To cap off the meet, the team of Nwajei, freshman Anazjah Mayes, sophomore Amber Curney and Honeycutt cruised to a first-place win in the 4x400 relay­­­.
© Copyright 2015
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
2014 Top 10: Looking back at the top sports stories of the year
It was another year for the record books in 2014, mostly for the right reasons -- state championships, new challenges and new stars taking their turn to shine. But there were also plenty of big stories that reminded us that sports -- like life -- isn
11:55PM ( 4 months ago )
NASCAR K&N Pro Series schedules set for 2015
DAYTONA BEACH, FL - NASCAR announced recently the 2015 schedules for its top developmental regional touring series, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.
2:00PM ( 4 months ago )
Lanierland boys final: Johnson makes history with win over Red Elephants <b> (VIDEO) </b>
Ever the aggressor on the court, Johnson
8:55AM ( 4 months ago )
Jackets, Mississippi St. clash in Orange Bowl
No. 10 Georgia Tech has the nation's second-ranked rushing offense. No. 8 Mississippi State has held seven of its 12 opponents under 125 yards on the ground.
5:04PM ( 4 months ago )
Ole Miss defense braces for TCU offense in Peach Bowl
Mississippi and TCU were part of the playoffs story in 2014. Each team was part of the chase. Each team fell short of the coveted semifinals.
5:01PM ( 4 months ago )
Kiffin shining again after season of redemption
Lane Kiffin was modest in his goals and complimentary about the team he'll be facing in the Sugar Bowl. He went on and on about how much he's learned from Nick Saban, while insisting it's no big deal when his boss yells at him. Very un-Kiffin-like, you might say.
11:02PM ( 4 months ago )
College Sports
VIDEO: Wolves could care less about rankings -- they want a ring
Seniors Joey Bart, Jake Higginbotham, Connor Bennett, and Keyton Gibson aren’t worried about expectations at this point in the season. They know first hand expectations usually are worth about as much as it cost you to listen to them...
5:00PM ( 8 hours from now )
How do you measure clutch? Gainesville baseball provides the metric
In three straight postseasons, Gainesville baseball players watched in agony as -- at the crucial moment -- the other team made the play.
4:59PM ( 8 hours from now )
Johnson finds speed at Charlotte in Thursday’s practice
After last Saturday’s lackluster performance in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, Jimmie Johnson returned to Charlotte Motor Speedway on Thursday still searching for speed.
By Reid Spencer-NASCAR Wire Service
8:00AM ( 1 minute ago )
Battle-tested Dragons ready to pull off another road win in championship series
Forget “Mad Max,” Jefferson baseball might as well be re-making its own movie of similar vein this spring -- starring as themselves in “The Road Warrior(s).”
11:59PM ( 8 hours ago )
James leads Cavs to 94-82 win over Hawks, 2-0 series lead
LeBron James scored 30 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers took total command of the Eastern Conference final even without injured star Kyrie Irving, routing the Atlanta Hawks 94-82 on Friday night for a 2-0 lead with the series heading to Ohio.
11:02PM ( 8 hours ago )