LYNCHBURG, Va. - The Iowa Central men's and women's track teams will be quite the force this coming weekend at the NJCAA Indoor National Championships.
Running and field events will take place Friday and Saturday from the Liberty Indoor Track Complex on the Liberty University campus.
Iowa Central is ranked first on the men's side and have six events that enter nationals with the No. 1 seed. On the women's side, the Tritons are third with a trio of No. 1 rated seeds.
In all, 22 events for Iowa Central are ranked in the Top-4 for NJCAA this year, making them strong candidates to claim top honors once more.
Last year, the Triton men secured their fourth national team championship in five years.
"Our men have been ranked No. 1 all season, so we are really hoping we can bring home back-to-back national titles," said Iowa Central Director of Track and Field, Dee Brown. "We have a very diverse group that has the ability to score in nearly every event.
"In addition, we have guys ranked among the Top-3 in six different events whom we will rely on to score some of the bigger points for our team total."
Iowa Central is ahead of South Plains, Barton and New Mexico in the team rankings. South Plains is the lone squad to earn a team title in the past five years other than the Tritons, winning gold in 2018.
"I am confident this group of men will fight until the very last event with everything they have to provide the best outcome possible for our team," Brown said.
Kelvin Bungei in the mile and the distance medley relay both enter as national leaders.
New Mexico sits first entering nationals with Barton second. Eleonora Curtabbi has the top seed in the 3000 and Lea Grady is No. 1 in the weight throw. Grady is also second in the shot put, with Florance Uwajeneza, Curtabbi and Lilian Busienei third, fourth and fifth in the 5000.
"The women's team has been ranked second or third all season," Brown said. "The Top-4 teams are all very close, so it will be a very tough battle to get on the awards stand by the end of the day Saturday."
Iowa Central is coming off a 15th consecutive sweep of the Region XI team championships.
"Our strengths lie in our distance and throws group," Brown said. "We will rely on them to do a majority of the work. We are hoping, however, that our sprints and jumps will surprise a lot of teams and score some points people are not expecting.
"If we can leave the meet knowing we gave it our best, and I know we will, whatever the outcome, it will be something to be proud of."