LUBBOCK, Texas — The Northwestern State Track Team’s third road trip to Texas will be longer than the previous two.
It also comes with the benefit of a wider variety of competitions.
For the first time in the 2022 indoor season, the Demons and Lady Demons will compete in a two-day meet, traveling to Lubbock, TX for this weekend’s Texas Tech Open & Multis at Texas Tech’s Sports Performance Center. .
Competition begins at 10:30 a.m. Friday with the start of the men’s heptathlon. Field events begin at 3 p.m. Friday with race events beginning at 5 p.m. Saturday’s schedule begins at 10 a.m. with the women’s shot put while the women’s 200-meter preliminaries kick off the running events at 11:30 a.m. ESPN+ will air coverage of the meet both days.
“Something that (associate head) coach (Adam) Pennington and I have been discussing is challenging these young men and women to get them ready to compete in conference,” the head coach said. Mike Heimerman noted. “To do that, you have to compete against the best. That’s why we’ve been at Texas A&M for the past few weeks and why we’re going to Lubbock. There will be Western regional teams in Arizona State. and San Diego State with Texas Tech, which is highly ranked. There are also other Big 12 schools that are there too, so that’s another busy area.
In addition to intensifying the competition, the Demons and Lady Demons will go up a bit in altitude as the Texas Tech facility sits more than 3,200 feet above sea level.
Responding to the dual challenge of increased competition and competing at a higher altitude aligns with Heimerman’s message to his team following last weekend’s Texas A&M Aggie Invitational. During this encounter, several NSU competitors took part in events in which they were less experienced.
“They all have their #1 event, but we might need it in two events and in some cases three events,” Heimerman said. “We need them to fill these shoes because we’ve had people in the past like Natasha Jackson, who did that. We have a fifth year senior on the team this year in Janiel Moore. Whatever we put it in, it comes out and does it. Last year was her first time running hurdles. She was indoor conference champion and second outdoor, and she had never raced until last year. She is right behind the conference leader (in the hurdles).
“She won her heat and made the final last week in the hurdles, but we took her out of the final to run the 400m, and she had the best of her life. She’s only going to get better. .”
Moore’s 400 time of 56.83 ranks him second in Southland behind his teammate Maygan Shaw, who clocked 56.46 at the season-opening Texas A&M Ted Nelson Invitational on January 15. Moore’s time of 8.76 in the 60-yard hurdles also puts her second in the league, 0.16 seconds behind Houston Baptist’s Kaitlin Smith, who led her once at the Air Force Invitational on Jan. 20.
As NSU enters its third of four pre-Southland Conference indoor meetings, Moore isn’t alone among the Demons and Demon Ladies who are near or atop the SLC performance lists.
shot putter Jimon Gumbs set the indoor school record in his signature event in each of the first two weeks of the season. New Mexico Junior College’s second season-best transfer of 61-1.25 in last week’s Aggie Invitational leads all Southland pitchers by nearly 8 feet and sits at 26and nationally.
Gumbs won his event both weeks at Texas A&M, but he will see a tougher field this week.
“He’s going to see some very, very good men from Arizona this week,” Heimerman said. “(Arizona State’s Turner Washington) threw 70 feet. We’re not going to throw that, but we can throw farther than we did. (Gumbs) will be pushed, which is what we’ve been looking to He’s a player. He likes competition and a challenge. Mentally, I try to push him all the time, and 90% of the time he comes forward.”
Heimerman saw the real freshman Galen Loyd respond to his challenge last week.
Loyd scored for the Demons in three events, finishing fourth in the 400 (48.99), eighth in the 60 (7.2) and running the anchor leg for NSU’s 4×400 relay team which ran a 3: 19.36 to finish third behind a pair of Texas A&M Teams.
Heimerman credited Loyd’s work ethic — and his training partners — with helping the freshman acclimate to collegiate athletics after a stellar career at Grant High School.
“It’s a sponge right now,” Heimerman said. “He soaks up everything. He loves to work. He is part of a group of men who like to work with Ebenezer Aggrey and Destiny Scott. These guys love to grind. He did work with our short sprinters like Kie’Ave Harry, Tre’Darious Carr, Dylan Swain and Simon Wulff. Our sprint team is deep, so to get recognition they have to step up.”