Aldredge has a 166-0 best mark, 20 feet ahead of the second-best throw in the league. She is the only top-ranked NSU entry with her top throw among five NSU performances ranked in the Southland’s top three this spring. The top eight finishers in each of the 19 events contested will score points for their teams.
Quiana Griffin’s school-record 54.96 time in the women’s 400 is second-ranked, 1.5 seconds back of the league’s best mark.
The Lady Demons are third-fastest in the 4x400 meter relay at 3:42.86 and are a full three seconds behind second-seeded Texas State.
Even with the graduation loss of last year’s Southland athlete of the year and eventual NCAA discus champion Trecey Rew Hoover, the NSU women are well stocked in the throws. Chantel Bratton is the third-ranked competitor in the shot put (47-11 1/4) and Janae Allen is No. 3 in the discus (150-9), and both can contend for individual titles this weekend.
“Chantel could win it. She’s looked very good in practice, and she’s capable of getting it out to 51 feet and winning,” said Lady Demons coach Mike Heimerman. “Janae has been much more consistent th is season than last, but she hit a big throw (157-8) and took fourth last year. With some luck if she gets it out there again, that could win.”
Without a dominant performer and with the improvement of some teams, Heimerman isn’t forecasting a repeat of last year’s all-time best showing by his team, second, at the conference meet.
“If we score what we can, we could finish as high as fourth if everybody else scores to form,” he said. “It’s a conference meet, and last year at home, we rose to the occasion.”
Other competitors with high scoring potential for the Lady Demons include sprinters Angelica Kotun and Constance Seibles, half-miler Lawana Perkins, miler Karensa Ellis, and 3000 meter steeplechase school record-holder Ali Fontenot.
Youth is an overwhelming element for the NSU men, whose top performer is triple jumper Wayne Douglas, second last year at the Southland meet. He has battled an injury but veteran coach Leon Johnson is hopeful his standout junior can answer the bell on the final day of the meet Sunday.
“Wayne is back training, but we won’t know if he’s back to his full capabilities until Sunday,” said Johnson, who is hopeful that freshmen twins Aaron and Emmanuel Williams will post top eight performances and get on the scoreboard along with Douglas in the triple jump.
“Our guys are as prepared as we’ve been all spring, and we’re relatively healthy. We’re not highly ranked in many events, but we should get to the finals in enough spots and once you do that, anything can happen,” he said.
Sprinters Kendal Taylor, Keenan Jackson and Trey Hatton are among NSU’s top entries. The Demons should fare well as usual in the 4x100 and 4x400 relays, and senior P.J. Bennett hopes to repeat or improve upon last year’s fourth place at the conference meet.
Senior Kartemus Heary could challenge for a top three spot in the javelin.
The Demons have been hampered with standout sprinter Justin Walker on the shelf this year after reconstructive knee surgery. He was ranked in the top 10 nationally in the 100 and 200 last year, and led the NSU 4x100 foursome to the national meet.
“Justin would win the 100 and 200 and we’d be tough to handle in the 4x100, so that’s a potential 30 points we aren’t getting because he’s redshirted,” said Johnson. “His future and our future is bright. This weekend, hopefully our athletes can give us their best performances and we’ll see where that takes us.”