(Neb.)- Roden Led Eagles' Indoor Season With Impressive Marks
CHADRON, Neb. -- Like everything else pertaining to athletics, the 2020 track and field season at Chadron State College was brought to a screeching halt by the Coronavirus invasion.
But numerous highlights had occurred before things crashed. A school record was set and several other marks from the shortened season are now high on the Eagles' indoor record board. Many of the athletes' best marks also were career bests because more than half the team members were freshmen.
Sophomore Brodie Roden of Riverton, Wyo., was the team's pacesetter. He broke the school's 200-meter dash record and also posted the Eagles' second fastest 400-meter time ever this winter. He won both events at the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Indoor Championships while also claiming the Outstanding Male Athlete of the Meet award.
Roden set the 200 record on Feb. 15 when he ran the event in 21.59 seconds at the South Dakota State Classic in Brookings. The old record belonged to Joel Duffield, the Morrill native who in 2006 ran the 200 in 21.76 during the preliminaries at the NCAA DII Indoor Championships in Boston.
That was the second time Duffield had dipped below 22 seconds in the 200. The first was on Feb. 17 that season at the Prairie Wolf Open Meet hosted by Nebraska Wesleyan in Lincoln where his time was 21.98 seconds and took second place. Earlier that season, Duffield had run the race in 22.16, good for first place at the University of South Dakota, to break the school record of 22.23 that was set by Jeff Gipson in 1998.
Gipson's time is now 12th on the Eagles' all-time 200 list, and his name is the only one remaining from before 2000 in the top 30. Gipson's name is on the list twice. His mark of 22.40 as a junior in 1997 is now tied for 19th.
Roden also had been striving to catch Duffield at the top of the 400-meter record board when the season ended so abruptly because of the virus scare on Thursday, Feb. 12. That was a day before Roden was to run the preliminaries of that race at the DII championships in Birmingham, Ala.
Duffield also established the CSC 400 record at the national meet in Boston his senior season in 2006. His time of 47.22 in the finals netted second place behind only Jamaal Torrance of St. Augustine's in North Carolina, whose winning time was 46.96. Earlier that season, the Morrill standout had already improved upon the school record of 49.32 that he'd set as a freshman in 2003 three times.
Roden seriously started challenging Duffield's 400 mark this winter when he hit 48.13 while placing third among 60 entries at the South Dakota State Classic. That was the fastest any CSC athlete had ever run the 400 indoors except for Duffield. Martin Moriel, a native of Arizona, previously had posted the second fastest mark of 48.65 in 2016.
The next week, Roden ran even faster while taking runner-up honors at the Nebraska Tune-up Meet in Lincoln in 47.69.
The CSC sophomore also dipped below 48 seconds again while winning the 400 at the RMAC Championships in Colorado Springs on Feb. 29. His time of 47.93 was fast enough to break Duffield's conference record of 48.40 that again dated back to 2006. The latter meet was in Chadron.
Roden was due to have another chance to challenge Duffield's school record, but the opportunity died when the national meet was cancelled along with nearly every other athletic event in the nation that weekend.
Roden earned another medal at the conference meet when he teamed up with twins Osvaldo and Osiel Cano of Oshkosh and Harley Rhoades of Douglas, Wyo., to finish third in the 4x400 relay. Their time of 3:22.07 is eighth best in team history.
His explosive season didn't come by accident. He was unbeaten in all three sprints as a senior at Riverton High School on 2018 when he earned Wyoming's Gatorade Male Track and Field Athlete Award.
Roden also ran well as a freshman at Chadron State, highlighted by placing third in the 200 meters with a time of 21.85 seconds at the RMAC Outdoor Meet. CSC Coach Riley Northrup also encouraged him to lose about 15 pounds last fall while getting ready for the 2020 season, and Roden's times improved as the season progressed.
The men's triple jump is another event that has new names high on the list of all-time top performances. Freshmen Naishaun Jernigan of Springfield, Mass., and Derrick Nwagwu of Aurora, Colo., now rank second and third, respectively, with leaps of 49 feet, 3 inches and 48-11, both at the RMAC Championships on Feb. 29.
They also placed second and third in the triple at the RMAC Meet. Both of Northrup's prize recruits cut loose with their best jumps at the right time. Jernigan's silver medal mark was 33 ½ inches farther than his previous best and Nwagwu's bronze was the result of a personal best measuring 18-¾ inches longer than before.
Like Roden in the 400, Jernigan qualified for nationals in the triple jump. He also placed second in the long jump at the RMAC Meet by going 23-3 ½.
Chadron State's longest triple jump still belongs to Isaac Grimes, who went 51-8 ½ while placing second at the NCAA indoor championships a year ago after he'd won the gold medal at nationals in the long jump by going 25-8 ¾.
The only senior competing at the conference meet among either the CSC men or women, Javan Lanier, finished 2019-20 ranked among the top 10 all-time in two events. His time of 6.80 seconds puts him seventh on the 60-meter list and his 23-10 ½ long jump is 10th.
There's a good chance Lanier would have accomplished more if he hadn't tweaked a hamstring while running the 60-meter preliminaries at the conference meet in Colorado Springs. He long jumped just twice prior to the setback and still placed fourth in the event
As the season ended, Roden, Jernigan and Lanier received all-star honors for having marks that ranked among the top five in their events in the South Central Region during the 2020 indoor schedule. The region is comprised of 11 men's team from both the Rocky Mountain and the Lone Star Conferences.
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