Bobcat Track and Field finishes successful season


File photo

Michelle Joseph

The Track and Field team saw its 2018 season come to an end at the final NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon.

The 2018 season proved to be a successful yet humbling year. The Bobcats started the season strong by claiming event titles at the Purple Tiger Invitational and posting 46 top 10 Sun Belt Conference marks. Following was 31 performances ranking in the top 10 in the Sun Belt Conference, a Sun Belt Conference Indoor Team Championship, several All-American First Team honors and a Sun Belt Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championship title.

The championship was the fifth consecutive overall SBC trophy for the women and second straight outdoor title for the team. The men’s team was runners-up after receiving 131 points.

Leading the Bobcats in shot put for the season was T’Mond Johnson, junior thrower, who broke the Texas State school record at the Roadrunner Invitational. His performance was one of 28 top 10 Sun Belt Conference marks by the Bobcats at the meet.

“It was an incredible moment I will never forget,” Johnson said. “I was able to see my teammates accomplish all their goals this year and surrounded by that energy is so motivating, it’s not just about me there is shared success amongst us.”

Before the season started, Johnson prepared himself mentally and physically, preparing to lay it all on the line to reach another level of success.

“Essentially, after nationals last year, I journaled throughout the summer the things I did well and not so well,” Johnson said. “In the beginning of the semester, the coaches and I made a list of what I wanted to accomplish academically and athletically, and we made it all happen.”

Setting the example this past year was important to the athlete. Johnson’s best toss was 18.91m (62-0.5). It was the eighth best mark in program history and the sixth time the athlete recorded a top 10 program mark in shot put.

“Being a leader on the team is something I never noticed because I focus on the craft more than anything,” Johnson said. “I wanted to be more vocal and it really helped the whole team. A lot of my teammates came to me for help and I repeated the same energy back to them.”

Pack running, running for each other and working together, is something Director of Track and Field/Cross Country Jody Stewart practiced and preached to the team the entire year.

“The challenge about track is getting the team together because we practice at so many separate times,” Stewart said. “We focused on training more and racing less. By doing that, our athletes remained healthy and it was a significant improvement on the field of play.”

More time, energy and resources for the program, along with team building activities, helped create the perfect storm for championship success on the track.

“They finally put it all together at the championship meet and it’s been a historical moment for all of us,” Stewart said. “I wanted to create a balanced program where all the events were strong then we could produce dominance.”

The effort and hard work that went into the season made the women’s championship success an emotionally satisfying experience for players, coaches and fans.

“It was an emotional moment for everyone to see our girls receive the Triple Crown,” Stewart said. “People were crying because it is so hard to achieve that goal. There are life challenges these athletes face outside of track with injuries, illnesses. To win three times in one year says a lot about the strength of those young ladies and everyone else who did their part to achieve the overall goal.”

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