Lewis & Cumberbatch Named MIAA Track Athletes of the Week
JEFFERSON CITY -- After combining to set four automatic qualifying times and five marks that rank as the best in the conference, Romel Lewis and Michelle Cumberbatch have been selected as the MIAA's Men's and Women's Outdoor Track Athletes of the Week. The weekly honors, voted on by panels of selected conference SIDs, was announced Monday afternoon.
Lewis posted two automatic qualifying times for the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships at the Kansas Relays last week (April 18-21). He won the preliminaries of the 100-meter dash, beating out 30 other runners to finish in 10.30. Lewis also helped Lincoln's 4x100-meter relay team win in 40.11, combining with Ravel Grey, Terrel Cotton and Joshua Manuel to take first place. Those two times are the only automatic qualifiers in the MIAA in those respective events this season.
Teaming with Cotton, Michael Ashley and Rashawn Hugg, Lewis also led the Blue Tigers' 4x400-meter relay team to a fourth place finish, clocking in at 3:12.14, the only provisional qualifying time in the league in that event. He additionally had one other top-two finish at the Kansas Relays, taking second in the finals of the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.49. Lewis was the top finisher in the finals from a participating school, as the winner of the race competed unattached.
Cumberbatch also posted two automatic-qualifying times at the Kansas Relays, both of which rank as the top times in the MIAA this year. Cumberbatch won the 400-meter hurdles, finishing in 58.75. She also teamed with Yanique Haye, Tamara Keane and Dereka Kelly to lead the 4x400-meter relay team to a third-place finish, clocking in at 3:40.87. The latter time is not just the only automatic qualifying time in the league in the 4x400-meter relay, but it is also the conference's only provisional qualifying time.
Cumberbatch is also just one of two runners in the MIAA to earn an automatic qualifying time in the 400-meter hurdles, joining teammate Haye, who also accomplished the feat this week.
This marks the second time this season that Lewis and Cumberbatch have helped Lincoln sweep the MIAA's weekly track honors, as each runner also won the award on April 2. It's also the third time this year that the Blue Tigers have swept the men's and women's track award, as Michael Ashley won the men's honor while Tamara Keane took the women's on March 26. Lewis becomes the first four-time recipient of the men's award for Lincoln this year, as he also claimed the title twice during the indoor season. This is the second league honor of the season for Cumberbatch.
The Blue Tigers have taken the MIAA Men's Track Athlete of the Week honor seven times overall this season, with Cotton and Steve Banton each claiming the honor during the indoor season. Lincoln has now won the MIAA Women's Track Athlete of the Week award eight times, with Latoya King and Twishana Williams taking the honor twice while Anna-Kay James was the recipient of the award last week.
The Blue Tigers have another busy week ahead of them, as both the Lincoln men's and women's track & field teams will split time competing in the Drake Relays and the Penn Relays, both of which take place from April 26-28. The Drake Relays will be particularly special for Lincoln this year, as head coach Victor Thomas will be inducted in the organization's coaches hall of fame.