Jenkins, Demas shine at championship

Two athletes from the women’s track and field program represented Sam Houston State University on the national stage by taking part in the 2016 NCAA Division I Women’s Track and Field Championships in Birmingham, Alabama last Friday and Saturday.


In a battle against the nation’s top athletes, senior Ashley Jenkins finished in fourth place in the weight throw competition with a toss of 70 feet, eight inches.


Jenkins entered the championship ranked fourth in the nation and finished less than three feet behind competitor Vesta Bell from the University of California Riverside who took home the winning title with a throw of 73 feet, 6 ¾ inches.


“It feel pretty surreal to compete at a national level and it was a very humbling experience,” Jenkins said. “Being there was a testament to all I’ve worked for and it meant a great deal to me and my coach to compete at an indoor national championship.”


The senior became the first female athlete from SHSU to earn All-American during the indoor season. Jenkins also became the first SHSU athlete to be a two-time All-American and also set a women’s program record for the highest finish at the national championships.


“I wanted to show others it’s definitely not a walk in the park to compete at a national level,” Jenkins said. “It’s not something easily given, but if you choose to push yourself, you’ll be surprised and pleased with the outcome.”


Also present at the event was senior Danielle Demas who competed in the women’s 60-meter hurtles where she finished 16 with a time of 8.36 seconds.


Demas entered the competition ranked 14 in the nation in the 60-meter hurdles and prior the NCAA Championships, the senior had won two consecutive indoor titles in the event.


“My goal, other than winning, was to have fun,” Demas said. “I’m a senior and this was my last indoor season as a collegiate athlete, so I wanted to make sure I was running for fun and having a good time doing what I love.”


At the Southland Conference Indoor Championships in February, Demas earned the title of top point scorer with a total of 28 points and top finishes in the 60-meter hurdles and the 60-meter dash. Demas also took second place in the 200-meter dash.


“I’m very blessed to have even made it this far and to to run at the national meet,” Demas said.


The presence of both Demas and Jenkins doubled the SHSU women’s track and field program all-time appearance at the national championships.


Two seasons ago Sabrina Starr took 15 place in the 60-meter hurdles while in 2009 Dess Meeks secured 11 place in the high jump. On the men’s side, Michael Courtney took fourth place in the 400-meter dash.


On Saturday the Bearkats will be travel to San Antonio to take part in the University of Texas at San Antonio Invitational where the team will take part in a nine event meet.

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