HOBBS, N.M. – The storied Butler track and field program can add two more national champions to its tradition after the 2019 NJCAA Division I Track and Field Meet has come to an end at Ross Black Field of Champions on the campus of New Mexico Junior College.
Tavarius Wright played a central role in both. He won the individual men's 100 meter dash in an absolute photo finish, beating Terrance Laird of Hinds (MS) by just two hundredths of a second. Wright ran the race in 10.12, while Laird finished in 10.14. The top four finishers were all under 10.2 in the race.
The national championship is the second individual title for Wright. He also won the 60-meter dash at the national indoor championships in Pittsburg in March.
Wright also was a part of the national championship 4x100 meter relay. The Grizzlies relay team of Mark Doyley, Javahn Spicer, Cardet Bienevue and Wright ran a 39.62 in the preliminaries, ranking them first. Then they were even faster in the finals, blazing their way to a school-record time of 39.20 and edging runner-up Hinds (MS).
In addition to being a part of the gold-medal relay, Spicer also found success individually in the 200 meter dash. He ran a 20.29 with the wind at his back in the prelims to qualify for the finals. There, he ran a 20.93 into a slight headwind, finishing sixth and earning three points for the Grizzlies.
Butler would get a four points in the field events, with two apiece from Derrick Boyce and Jeremy Lawson.
Boyce finished seventh in the javelin with a throw of 53.80 (176-06). Boyce is a wide receiver for the Butler team who joined the track team this spring.
Lawson finished eighth in the long jump with an effort of 7.50 meters (24 feet, 7.25 inches). In the triple jump, he finished eighth as well with a jump of 15.26 (50 feet, 0.75 inches).
Other Butler participants included Doyley and Spicer in the 100. Doyley just missed the finals, placing ninth in the 100 in 10.35 as the top eight advanced. Spicer finished 19th in the prelims in 10.52. In the 200, Dylan Swain finished 21st in 21.09 and Tavarius Wright was 24th in 21.98. Leroy Wilson III finished 14th in the men's 400 meter hudles in 55.30.
On the women's side, Butler scored five points. Three of them came from Octavia Cato, who made the finals of the 100 meter dash by winning her heat in a time of 11.44. It was the second-fastest time in the 100 prelims. In the finals, Cato ran an 11.88 and finished sixth to account for three points.
Sophomore Claudina Constantine picked up two points and earned All-American honors in the 800 meter dash. She ran a 2:20.32 in the prelims, which was her personal best by over a second. The next day in the finals, she ran even faster, finishing seventh in a time of 2:17.53.
Freshman Tamera Rhode competed in the heptathlon and finished eighth, earning her a point and All-American honors. She had placed seventh in the Region VI meet with 3,680 points two weeks earlier, but improved her score to 3,921 points at nationals, beating two competitors who had beaten her at regionals.
Other competitors who did not score included Cato in the 200 meter dash (ninth in 23.82), Shenelle Tomlinson in the 400 meters (ninth in 56.86), Michelle Sanchez in the 10,000 meters (16th in 45:13), and Keyara Robinson, who placed 10th in the triple jump (11.13 meters) and scratched all three attempts in the long jump.Butler claims two national