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Matthews has good showing at NCAA meet

Jessica Matthews

Jessica Matthews

Clayton State closed out its track and field season with sophomore Jessica Matthews finishing 16th in the NCAA Div. II Outdoor Championships on Friday afternoon.

The Monroe native had a best jump of the meet at 39 feet, 3.25 inches at Grand Valley State University campus in Allendale, Mich., in the first flight.

Matthews made making her second straight appearance in the track and field championships. Last season, she finished 11th with a jump of 39-7.75 at the NCAA outdoor championship meet in Pueblo, Colo.

On Thursday, another Laker sophomore Job Kemboi ran in the meet’s first final when he compete in the 10,000 meters events.

Kemboi didn’t have as a strong finish as he had hoped after sustaining a side stitch midway through the race. Kemboi finished his first outdoor championship in 31 minutes, 15.75 seconds, which was off his season-best time of 30:02.97, a career-best time.

Southern Indiana’s Johnnie Guy won the event in 29:33.31.

A stitch is common among runners, and it is described as a sharp, localized twinge of pain just below the rib cage that usually occurs on the the right lower abdomen. It has been known to slow some athletes down to a walk until the pain subsides.

“Job was right in the mix the first 12 laps but another side stitch hit him and he couldn’t hang with the leaders,” head coach Mike Mead said. “Job had a great year, and I’m looking forward to his junior year.”

During last fall’s Div. II cross-country championships in Washington, Kemboi sustained a stitch injury that kept him from earning All-American honors at the meet.

Kemboi started strong at the race back in November, and was in the top 40 early in the race of almost 250 runners but fell behind after the midway point of the 10,000 meters race. He finished with a time of 32:05.9, which was still his second-fastest time in the 10,000 meters race.

The Kenya native was in the 41st spot after the first 5K, running a split of 15:19.5 in the opening half of the race before being hampered by the stitch.

This spring during track and field season, Kemboi also had a NCAA provisional time and school record run of 14:33.43 in the 5,000-meters and winning Peach Belt Conference titles in both events.