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(Huntsville, Ala.) With a total of 96 points, the Dillard University Lady Bleu Devils track and field team won the inaugural 2016 HBCU Outdoor National Classic in Alabama. It is the second track meet of the season that the Lady Bleu Devils were victorious in; the first was the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference championship last month.
Sprinters Kaitlyn Fortuna (JR/New Orleans, La.), Megan Reed (SO/Thibodaux, La.), India Ware (JR/Missouri City, Texas) and Kahlia Columbus (FR/Houston, Texas) dominated the competition as they prepare for next week's NAIA Women's Outdoor Track and Field National Championships in Gulf Shores, Alabama. In the women's 100 meter dash, Fortuna finished first with a time of 12.15 while Reed finished right behind her, posting a time of 12.15. In the women's 200 meter dash, Reed picked up a second place finish with a time of 24.96 while Ware crossed next with a time of 25.04.
"This was simply a tune-up meet for us," said head coach Bobby Williams. "India, Kahlia and Megan ran top times for the season and for Kaitlyn and Sasha, they maintained while getting a break from the usual routine of practice. As for next week, we will do our best to return some All-Americans," said Williams.
In the women's 400 meter dash, Columbus finished first with a time of 57.33 while Ware picked up a second place finish with a time of 1:00.39. Dominique Hardin (SR/Apple Valley, Calif.) landed a third place finish in the women's 800 meter dash, posting a time of 2:24.23 while Sasha Newman (SO/Antioch, Calif.) finished first and second respectively in the women's 100m and 400m hurdles.
"Sasha has a great chance to come back as an All-American in both the 100m hurdles and 400m hurdles, and I am also interested to see what Quamel Sessoms will do as a freshman because he is a phenomenal jumper. If I can bring back four All-Americans out of eight competitors, then that will be quite an accomplishment for Dillard University."
Next week, the Lady Bleu Devils along with Sessoms will travel to Gulf Shores for the 2016 NAIA Men's and Women's Outdoor Track and Field National Championships. Opening ceremonies begin at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 26 at Mickey Miller Blackwell Stadium.
*Photos provided by Amos Morale III/Y. Tsega