The student-athletes from North Carolina A&T University dominated the HBCU Showcase track and field meet at the Armory last Saturday. In 2021, student-athletes from the university brought home two medals from the Tokyo Olympics, so it was no surprise that these are serious competitors.
The Aggies didn’t win everything. There were 20 participating Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), with first-place finishes from other schools, such as Delaware State, Florida A&M, St. Augustine’s and Coppin State.
“The Armory is definitely a special place for me,” said Malcolm Garbutt, a sophomore sprinter and computer science major from Delaware State, who competed on this track during high school. “I feel like the energy is really unmatched. … A lot of time, HBCUs don’t get the spotlight they deserve and a lot of people aren’t aware of all the HBCUs, but it’s really great to see us come together, sharing our love of track and our competitiveness.”
The girls’ victorious 4×200 relay team from Baldwin Track Club was excited to see student-athletes from HBCUs. “I love running at HBCU Showcase because the environment, the performances are everything. It really makes you feel empowered as a Black young lady,” Jahzara Emeli said. Jillian Rickford stated her desire to attend North Carolina A&T. She was excited that she and her teammates were able to show their talents in front of such impressive student-athletes and coaches.
Coppin State senior Kaelyn Woodrum ran in the 60-meter hurdles and the 400 meters. “I like it because the track is fast and it gives me motivation to run fast,” she said. Teammate Erin Palmer said, “Running here makes me feel like I can do my best because a lot of professional athletes have run here. Here, we see all the HBCUs come together. We’re kind of underlooked when it comes to society. We’re all great athletes and great students; it makes me feel that we mean something.”
“The track team has high standards for each other all the way around and we hold each other accountable,” said Lucheyona Weaver of North Carolina A&T, who placed second in the 60-meter hurdles behind teammate Paula Salmon, a Brooklyn native. “We had a big name to keep for ourselves. That’s basically what we did.”