Sports Contact: J.T. Wilcox, Sports Information Director
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 14, 2019
HIALEAH, FL – One of the beautiful things about sports is that everyone has something to compete for. Championships is always the ultimate competitor’s goal, but even when a title may not be on the table – there still are plenty of reasons for one to go out and give everything they have.
When the ASA College-Miami men’s and women’s track teams make the trek to Hobbs, New Mexico this week to compete at the NJCAA Division-I Outdoor Track & Field Championship Meet at the Ross Black Track Complex, they’ll be looking to put their best feet forward and put on a strong performance on a national stage.
14 Silver Storm total athletes (8 men and 6 women) qualified to compete in the national meet, a more than respectable number for first-year head coach Jeff Campbell, who was handed the reins of the program just as the 2018-19 season began.
Campbell hit the ground running as best he could, learning his school and new team of athletes while also trying to implement and instill his own ideals of a track program.
“This season was hectic but good,” said Campbell, who will be coaching in his Division-I NJCAA championship meet this coming week.
“We had to get things started with eligibility and getting kids into shape and developed as fast as possible. It wasn’t ideal but at the same time, we made it work.”
One thing that will make things easier on a new coach is a roster not only full of talent but also a group of amendable and teachable athletes. With his team almost completely made up of holdovers from previous recruiting classes, Campbell was appreciative of the welcoming nature of his team.
“They are a good group of people. They are social and they are hard-working,” Campbell said. “Of course, you have your ups and downs with every team, but this group is very consistent.”
“I think of Shericka Treco and how she welcomed me with open arms and was extremely coachable from the very first day. She took everything I said and did it to her fullest…and she set several personal bests this season because of it.”
“She dropped from 12.9 seconds to 12.37 seconds in the 100-meter dash this year,” Campbell boasted.
The Silver Storm will be in line to have a handful of athletes earn individual championships in New Mexico. The most prominent and most likely to achieve the feat will be 2018 defending champions Antonella Creazzzola (thrower) and Nercely Soto (sprinter).
Creazzola won the school’s first individual national track and field championship this past May when she took home crown in the hammer throw. The Venezuela-born Creazzola has maintained her status as one of the country’s top throwers – posting top-five distance throws at multiple meets throughout the year. Soto will be looking to defend her 200-meter dash title this week as well as possibly improve upon her fourth-place finish in last year’s 100-meter dash at the championship meet.
“Antonella is the most warm-hearted person you’ll ever meet,” Campbell began. “She’s also the most competitive person you’re going to find. She’s never satisfied with her marks. She was to set a new personal best every time she throws.”
“Nercely has battled through some injuries throughout the season but she’s a natural talent. And she can easily win the 100- and the 200-meter dash…it all depends on how she runs that day and how everyone else competing runs,” Campbell added.
On the men’s side, Campbell pointed to spindly sprinter Kimani Gardener as an individual national champion hopeful.
“Kimani is another naturally talented athlete. He’s running 10.5 [in the 100-meter dash] and he’s a qualifier for the finals. He is another one that can put on a great performance and possibly qualify for All-American status if he has a good day when it matters most.”
ASA Miami finished 11th in the team rankings on both the men’s and women’s sides in 2018 – something Campbell feels the team can improve upon this year.
“The goal is to score as many points as possible,” Campbell said. “On the women’s side, I feel like we have a high chance of finishing in the top 10. But the biggest goal – if you can’t win a team title – is to keep pushing for those personal bests. We’re racing against time, we’re not just racing against people.”