HBCU Track And Field, Lincoln Lions, NCAA, St. Augustine's Falcons -

Congratulations! This HBCU won its eighth NCAA outdoor track and field title Lincoln University’s women’s team cruises to championship

HBCU Track And Field, Lincoln Lions, NCAA, St. Augustine's Falcons -

Congratulations! This HBCU won its eighth NCAA outdoor track and field title Lincoln University’s women’s team cruises to championship

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Lincoln University women’s track and field team and coach Victor “Poppy” Thomas had grown sick and tired of near misses in NCAA Division II national championships.

Thomas said the team has missed out on at least three national outdoor and indoor titles by a total of five points.

Thomas and the Blue Tigers left nothing to chance Saturday, building up an insurmountable lead and cruising to the team’s eighth national outdoor championship at Johnson C. Smith’s Irwin Belk Complex.

Lincoln was led by the quick feet of sophomore Rene Medley, who won the 200-meter dash, finished second in the 100-meter dash and teamed with Diana Cauldwell, Christine Moss and Shaian Vandenburg to win the 4×100 relay in 44.51 seconds.

Medley said she had extra incentive in the 200 meters because she wanted revenge on the runner who finished ahead of her in the semifinals.

“It was a great race,” Medley said. “In the prelims I came in second place and I got lane 3, and the girl who beat me got lane 4. So that really motivated me to just run her down, and I did just that.

“It’s a great feeling to win the national championship with these great ladies. We came in third indoor in the nationals with just three girls, so this feels great.”

Cauldwell, a senior, also won the triple jump and was second in the long jump to help the Blue Tigers build a nearly insurmountable lead by midday.

“I just came out here to deliver, and do what my coach said I should do,” Caldwell said. “This is amazing; it is so amazing to win a national championship.”

Moss also helped pick up a third-place finish in the 4X400 relay, for which she teamed with Renea Ambersley, Segale Brown and Shanice Clarke.

“I think the girls did excellent,” said Thomas, Lincoln’s head track and field coach for 15 years. “We have three superstars, along with a supporting cast who did the job that they were supposed to do, and we were able to pull it off quite comfortably.”

Lincoln is a historically black university with an enrollment of 3,000-plus students in Jefferson City, Missouri. The Blue Tigers finished the meet with 60 points, followed by runners-up St. Augustine’s, which in typical fashion, climbed from 19th at the start of the day to second place at the end.

In fact, St. Augustine’s, whose men’s and women’s teams failed to achieve a 40th national championship for coach George Williams, was racing for second place in the final event and secured it when the Falcons’ Shannon Kalawan passed a Lincoln runner on the backstretch and cruised to the finish line for St. Aug’s victory in the 4X400 meter relay.

The Falcons finished with 48.5 points.

But Medley, Caldwell and Lincoln teammates had already been fitted for the crown.

Before that final event, Lincoln already had 54 points — 11.5 more than the next-closest competitor.

Angelo State (42.5 points), Grand Valley State (40.5) and Adams State (39) rounded out the top five.

For Lincoln, it was the school’s eighth national outdoor women’s championship to go with five indoor titles.

The Blue Tigers won five straight, from 2003 to 2007, and again in 2009 and 2014. Their national indoor titles came in 2004, 2006, 2009, 2010 and 2016.

For Williams, it’s back on the recruiting trail and back to trying to cajole St. Augustine’s administrators for more scholarship funds.

“We only had five girls, and Lincoln had quite a contingent,” Williams said. “We put up a good fight, we just ran out of bodies. Until we can be able to find scholarships to get some more student-athletes, that’s about the best we can do.”


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