PITTSBURG, Kan. –Ushan Perera defended his high jump crown for his third national championship to highlight a strong Saturday for the Texas A&M University-Commerce track and field teams at the NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships at the Robert W. Plaster Center.
Perera (Mahabage, Sri Lanka) claimed his third overall national championship in the men’s high jump, clearing the bar at 2.17 meters (7′ 1 ½”). It is his second consecutive indoor national championship.
He joins Charles Holding (1952-54, NAIA high jump) as the only Lion to win three national championships in the same event, as he was also the 2021 outdoor champion.
The Lion men finished the national championships with 26 points, to place seventh at the national meet. The Lion women totaled program-best 16.5 points to tie for 17th place.
“I could not have asked for more from our team today,” said coach George Pincock. “Our team came ready to compete, they wore their hearts on their sleeves, and they did everything they could.”
“Ushan was tremendous today, had a chance at the new Sri Lanka record, but just could not get through. Minna and Mariana were great in the 400 meter and then turned around and nearly won the 4×400 with Francesca and Sofia. I am really excited for our student-athletes and I am just grateful to be their coach.”
The Lions collected nine more points with strong performances in a highly competitive 60 meter dash. J.T. Smith (Klein Oak) earned the bronze medal with a finish of 6.72 seconds and Delan Edwin (Castries, St. Lucia) placed sixth at 6.83 seconds.
Edwin added five points in the 200 meter dash with a fifth place finish at 21.43 seconds.
The Lions carried 25 points into the mile relay, where they held the lead in their heat for most of the race. The team of Jordan Hollis (Lancaster), Edwin, Maxime Woirin (Lyon, France), Conner Stockerl (The Woodlands) timed 3:14.43.
Shostak clocked a time of 54.49 seconds for fifth place, just ahead of Svaerd’s 54.52 seconds in sixth place. Their seven points pushed the Lions’ point total to 8.5 entering the mile relay.
In the final event of the National Championships, the Lion 4×400 meter relay team of Sofia Khenfar (Lyon, France), Francesca Aquillino (Milan, Italy), Shostak and Svaerd finished just .33 seconds behind Lincoln to win the silver medal. The Lions’ timed 3:42.36 in the relay.
The outdoor portion of the Lions schedule begins on March 23 in Austin as part of the Texas Relays.