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NMJC Track Wins Three National Awards

NMJC Track Wins Three National Awards photo 5/26/2017 5:08:10 p.m. - Hobbs, NM.  

[Story by Jason Farmer, Hobbs News Sun]

The NJCAA women’s national champion New Mexico Junior College track program picked up three national awards Wednesday from the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

Latavia Coombs went out with a bang at NMJC. The Lady T-Bird sophomore finished her NMJC career by winning the National Women’s Field Athlete of the Year. Heading to University of Kentucky next year, Coombs won the triple jump national championship. In the heptathlon, Coombs won three of the events before eventually finishing as the national runner-up. Over the course of the outdoor track season, Coombs set school records in the 100-meter hurdles, the triple jump, the long jump, and the heptathlon. Overall, Coombs leaves NMJC with seven school records. In addition to the four outdoor marks she holds, Coombs also set records in the 60-meter hurdles, the triple jump, and the pentathlon during the indoor track season.

Keith Blackwill has been the head coach of the Lady Thunderbirds track and field team for the past 12 seasons. This school year, Blackwill led NMJC to a track and field national championship sweep as he coached the Lady Thunderbirds to national championships in both, indoor and outdoor track. Wednesday, he was named Women’s Head Coach of the Year. Under the guidance of Blackwill, the NMJC women registered 24 top 10 finishes at the outdoor national championships. Unlike the Lady T-Birds’ close finish during indoor season, NMJC scored 97 points as a team to easily beat runner-up Barton Community College (83.5 points).

Jeff Becker, an assistant coach witht he track and field team for seven years, was named Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year. Becker, who also coaches the NMJC cross country team, had one of his runners win the 5,000-meters and the 3000-meter steeplechase.

He also had another runner finish third in the steeplechase. Additionally, two of Becker’s distance runners finished in the top five of the 1,500-meters. Of the Lady T-Birds’ 97 team points, 38 of the points came from the distance runners.

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