March 13, 2010

By Glen Rosales, Special to

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Kurt Roberts came into the NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field Championships thinking he had a chance at a record in the shot put.

Roberts, a junior from Ashland College (Ashland, Ohio), accomplished just that Saturday at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

After fouling on his fourth throw, Roberts broke out a 64-foot, 11 1/2 -inch throw to erase the 2006 mark of former Eagles teammates Bryan Vickers (64-feet, 3 ¾ inches) by almost eight inches.

"We've been ragging on each other and I've been throwing against him since I was a freshman," Roberts said of his mentor. "I've been watching him come out and dominate the field and I said, 'Man, I want to get what he's got.'"

And he did it thanks to Vicker's tutelage.

"He took me under his wing the whole way and really helped me get the mark I got (Saturday)," Robert said. "I wouldn't say I pushed him out of the record book. I would say we just added another Ashland name to the record book.'

That's the message Eagles coach Jud Logan relays to his athletes.

Logan, a four-time U.S. Olympian and record holder in the weight throw, takes particular pride in the school's throwing prowess.

"We believe that the throwers who have come before have set a standard of excellence," Logan said. "We have a saying that tradition never graduates. There's a tradition that goes on. Bryan Vickers, who had the record, will be the first one that will be excited for Kurt when he hears that he broke the record. As long as we keep it in the program."

Roberts secured the victory during the preliminary round, then he set his sights on grabbing the record in the finals. The foul on his first throw of the final round got him focused for the record attempt.

"Don't think about anything else and just break your fingers off on the finish," Roberts said of the advice he gave himself. "And it went. I knew it was there. I knew what I had to do to get there. I fouled because I was watching it. I just needed to hit it and let the crowd tell me how far it was. The one I hit, I didn't look at it all."

On the women's side, there was an unusual occurrence in one event.

In the women's 60-meter dash, Barbara Pierre of St. Augustine's (Raleigh, N.C.), set a record during Friday's preliminaries in a time of 7.20. But she wasn't able to repeat as a national champion.

That went to Semoy Hackett of Lincoln (Jefferson City, Mo.), and she won the 200 to get her own record, turning in a time of 23.32.

Then there was Josh Scott of St. Augustine's, who first set a record in the 200 in the preliminaries with a time of 21.12, came back and got a 400 record finals in a time of 46.05, then he bested his own mark in the 200, dropping it to 20.91.

"It was kind of hard because I was basically by myself,' he said of the race. "In the same sense, I practice by myself. I have teammates who can push me, but I'm basically in a class by myself."

He is indeed in class by himself as he owns a pair of records.

"It makes me feel like a newborn champion," Scott said. "It's a very big achievement. It's not usually done like that. "I'm in it nationally, that's where I want to be."

And the final record of the meet went to Indira Spence of Adams State (Alamosa, Colo.) running a 8.05 60-hurdles to slice a sliver off the mark set a year ago, with old record holder Shermaine Williams of Johnson C. Smith (Charlotte, N.C.), 0.03 behind. Then Spence came back 15 minutes later to finish second to Hackett in the 200.