GULF SHORES, Ala. – In 2012, Wiley College was given 20 scholarships to recruit in Trinidad and Tobago to help build a national championship contending track and field team. Those student-athletes set the foundation for the 2018 Wildcats to dominate their way to the first NAIA Track & Field Title in program history Saturday at Mickey Miller Blackwell Stadium.
“This was three years in the making,” said head coach Marlon Baugh, who won NAIA Men’s Coach of the Year. “It started with Dan-Neil Telesford, Quinn-Lee Ralph, Justin Maloney and Moriba Morain. I’m proud of how our men performed. They executed.”
The national title is the first in Wiley College athletic history and the first for a Red River Athletic Conference school in track & field. The Wildcats won six events and scored 92 points – which was 30 points ahead of Indiana Tech – which finished runner-up for the second consecutive year. Wiley College’s point total is the highest since 2014. It is the first Historically Black College & University to win the national title since 1993 when Central State (Ohio) won. Eight Wildcats earned NAIA All-American.
Oraine Palmer (JR/Kingston, Jamaica) won the 100-meter dash (10.35), 200-meter dash (20.77) and ran on the champion 4 x 100-meter relay team with Fabian Hewitt (SO/Jamaica), Kimorie Shearman (SO/St. Vincent) and LaFranz Campbell (FR/Kingston, Jamaica). Palmer was named co-Most Valuable Performer – sharing the award with Goabaone Moshelekti of Lindsey Wilson Kentucky and Geoffrey Kipchumba of William Carey.
“I’m elated,” Palmer said. “It’s great being able to come up here and win a national title. I worked hard all year. This wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for God.”
After running the anchor in the 4 x 100-meter relay, Campbell won the 110-meter hurdles in 13.98. He capped off his freshman season by being named Most Outstanding Performer.
“It feels great,” Campbell said. “It took a lot of hard work and training. Now, I’m going to work on myself more and come back and do something bigger next season.”
Rajay Hamilton (SR/Jamaica) sped past Wayland Baptist’s Quintaveon Poole – who had the fastest qualifying time to win the 400-meter dash (46.07). It was the second straight season a Wiley College runner won the event.
The Wildcats finished the day with Kimorie Shearman, Jamoul Pierre (JR/Trinidad and Tobago), Marbeq Edgar (SR/Choiseul, St. Lucia) and Rajay Hamilton winning the 4 x 400-meter relay in 3:09.11. The Wildcats six titles give them 13 in program history.
Hewitt delivered NAIA All-American runs in the 100-meter dash (10.41) and the 200-meter dash (21.13) – finishing behind his teammate Palmer. Shearman earned NAIA All-American in the 200-meter dash (22.11) and 400-meter dash (47.00). Edgar (1:51.05) and Shevan Parks (SO/Jamaica) (1:52.04) earned NAIA All-American in the 800-meter run.
Edgar, Hamilton, Leonard Kiprono (SR/Chepkorio, Kenya), Kendell Perouza (SR/Barataria, Trinidad and Tobago) and Darion De La Rosa (SR/Freeport, Trinidad) depart. With Campbell, Pierre and Parks potentially returning, the Wildcats will look to add pieces for a repeat bid in 2019.