ALLENDALE, Mich. - For the first time in school history the Tarleton State TexAnns have a national champion in senior jumper Euphemia Edem.
"I didn't expect it", said Edem. "But ending that way in a competitive fashion with all those girl jumping over 6.50m, it was great. I don't think I've ever been in a competition like this before, I enjoyed it and they made me jump farther"
The senior, who transferred to Tarleton over the summer from Stillman College in Alabama, did nothing but make history in her lone year as a TexAnn. Edem in one short year broke four school records - indoor long jump, indoor triple jump, outdoor long jump, outdoor triple jump - and broke a fifth record as a member of the TexAnn 4x100m relay running the second leg.
Edem won her national championship on her very last jump recording a mark of 6.56m (21-06.25) setting a personal best, school record, facility record, and Lone Star Conference All-Time record - erasing the 31 year old mark of 6.45m (21-02) by Carla Seldon of Angelo State in Cape Girardeau, Mo. on May 26, 1984.
"I'm super excited for Euphemia", said Tarleton head coach Pat Ponder. She did an outstanding job, she competed when you had to compete in those last few jumps and she represented Tarleton very well. I'm proud of her and obviously proud of coach (Justin) Hobbs for doing the job he did with her coaching her, the fruits of their labor showed today in wining the national championship."
The next competitors on thee track for the purple and white would be the TexAnn 4x100m relay. The foursome of Deylinn Garrett,Euphemia Edem, Hollie Boyd, and DeAijha Hicks-Boyce entered the meet with the No. 12 time of 45.91, but failed to advance to the finals after an incomplete pass of the baton in the final exchange zone.
"That's the nature of the game in track and field", said Ponder. "We had two teams get disqualified and sometimes the excitement of being at the national champs for the first time can get the best of you. DeAijha just got excited and got out, those things happen but she'll compose herself and get ready for the 200m and 4x400m relay, I'm proud of them and they'll regroup and learn and they'll be hungry going into next year."
Following the 4x100m relay was defending national championChase Rathke in the prelims of the 1500m. Rathke entered the prelims with the No. 7 time in the nation at 3:46.08 set in a first-place finish at the Mt. SAC relays in California. Rathke who stayed in the front pack from start to finish earned an automatic qualification into Saturday's final by finishing in the top-four of his heat clocking 3:51.83.
"He executed the race plan to the letter which was what we needed to do which was finish in the top four and qualify for finals, said Ponder. "He'll be ready when the gun goes off on Saturday. It was a good day for the Texan and TexAnns."
Tarleton will continue competing at the NCAA championships Friday with DeAijha Hicks-Boyce in the 200m and the Texan 4x400m relay.