Dillard sweeps GCAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships

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SHREVEPORT, La. – Dillard University’s men and women scored 300.5 and 348 points, respectively, to capture the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference 2023 Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The Bleu Devils notched their third consecutive conference title while the Lady Bleu Devils won their second title in a row.

Philander Smith women placed second overall, scoring 104 points, while Wiley took home second in the men’s competition with 216 points.Dillard’s Kevell Byrd scored 32.5 points and was named the 2023 Women’s Track Most Valuable Performer and Rachel Rowe (Dillard) scored 25 points to take home Women’s Field Most Valuable Performer.

On the men’s side, Dillard’s Cody Branch scored 34.5 points and was named Men’s Track Most Valuable Performer, while Wiley’s Xavier Hutchinson scored 29 points for Men’s Field Most Valuable Performer honors.

Dillard also swept coaching honors. Head Coach Nile Legania picked up Coach of the Year honors for both the men’s and women’s championship. Alexis Hunter-Lonon was tabbed Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year, and Brandon Scruggs was named Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year.

“This was an incredible weekend for the GCAC and its member schools,” said Commissioner Dr. Kiki Baker Barnes. “Our inaugural GCAC HBCU Admission Fair saw more than 100 students in two days visit all current member schools and future member University of the Virgin Islands. When we show the possibilities academically, we bolster the opportunities for our students academically,” Barnes said.

It was a weekend for the record books, quite literally, as school records were clipped during this year’s championship. Friday, Philander Smith saw four records set as Zarea Winn placed second in the women’s javelin with a new school record of 28.08m. Both the men’s and women’s 4×800 relay teams set records for the Panthers. The men’s team of Maurice Rue-Whitfield, Katavious Gibbs, Javon Burrell, and Desmond Merritt had a record-setting first place finish with a time of 8:17.96. The women’s 4×800 team of Ja’Niesha Collins, Ayanna Allen, Dajanae Shaw, and Jasmin Johnson ran away with first place and the school record, crossing the finish line in 10:13.08. Michael Prescott added to the frenzy, setting the record in the hammer with a toss of 25.12m, good for fifth place in the event.

Just one week after setting the school record, Dillard’s Tashina Beyioki-Alase eclipsed her own record in the 100-meter hurdles, shaving nearly a second off her previous record of 14.14 to clock a 13.83 for first place and new school record. The Lady Bleu Devils 4×100 team broke their own record by .03 seconds Saturday afternoon, finishing the relay in 46.36 to take first place. The 4×800 team of Kennedy Timmons, Rachel Jackson, Karmyn Dotson, and Kaylyn Turner also set a new relay record, shaving seconds off to mark a time of 10:14.78. The previous record of 10:20.38 was set in 2022.

The championships, sponsored this year by Xfinity and the U.S. Army, will be in Shreveports at Lee Hedges Stadium in 2024 and 2025 and hosted by Shreveport-Bossier City Tourism and Sports Commission. All of the championship events were broadcast live on HBCU League Pass Plus.

For more information about the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference, visit gcaconf.com. To book an interview or for media inquiries, contact Dani Wright at communications@gcaconf.com or (504) 321-3362.

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