May 30, 2010

FEATURE: Angelo State's Byrd Flies High

By Jeff Hawkins
Special to

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Perfection can be achieved.

Those in attendance Saturday night at the 2010 Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Johnson C. Smith University were witness to Lincoln (Mo.) sophomore Semoy Hackett's seamless performance in the women's 200-meter run.

Her start, flawless. Her turns, she gained greater and greater momentum. The ending, ignited by a closing burst. The result, a Division II record of 22.75 seconds. The old record of 22.85 was set by Chandra Sturrup of Norfolk State in 1993.

"I ran the perfect race," said Hackett, who also captured the 100 dash (11.33). "I am very proud of myself."

The 100 was not nearly as precise for Semoy, who competed at the 2008 Beijing Games participant for her native Trinidad and Tobago. She won, but "I was disappointed with my time," Hackett said, then closing with quick one-liner.

"The 200 made up for it."

During a three-day event where several individual records were established and program-firsts were achieved, Saint Augustine's College defended its men's team title with 82 points and Angelo State women (87) earned the program's first team championship at Irwin Belk Track Complex.

Among individual performances, Abilene Christian's Linda Brivule became Division II's first three-time javelin champion. She described the occasion as "sweet-bitter."

No, make that "bitter-sweet," although "sweet-bitter" is probably more appropriate.

Sweet because she won for the third time, but bitter only in the fact likely will be her final competition.

A Republic of Latvia native who speaks with a heavy Baltic accent, Brivule said she had dedicated a big part of her last 14 years to the javelin, resulting in three national titles, a national record throw of 184 feet, 6 inches and a world junior title.

"I feel happy," said Brivule, whose throw of 166-01 clinched her share of history. She is now looking forward to graduating and starting a job hunt.

"The sweet part is I'm going to start my life and get a great job or internship," Brivule said. "It's bitter due to no more competition."

Saturday was also "sweet-bitter" for her coach, Jerrod Cook. "It's exciting to see Linda make history," Cook said. "It's sad because it's her last competition, but every athlete dreams of going out on top."

Fort Valley State junior Antionette Oglesby defended her triple jump title with a leap of 42-06.25. Rebounding from what she considered a disappointing fourth-place performance Thursday in the long jump - "I was thinking too much," she said - Oglesby recorded Saturday's Top 10 all-time mark on her final attempt. When she took the line, her title was secured.

"It was ease," she said.

With much of Friday night's schedule delayed by two thunderstorms, Saturday's track winners were determined via sectional timed finals.

Among other event highlights, Seattle Pacific senior Jessica Pixler dominated the women's 1,500-meter run, claiming the title for the third time; junior Josh Scott of St. Augustine's earned four first-place trophies (200- and 400-meter runs and 4 x 100- and 4 x 400-meter relays); and Lincoln (Mo.) freshman Michelle Cumberbatch broke the meet record of 57.18 in the 400 hurdles (Lynnsey Dailey, Fort Valley State, 2006) with her time of 56.85. Second-place finisher Aisha Adams of Angelo State also had a record-breaking run in the same event(56.93).