(Gulf Shores, Ala.) Dillard University’s 4×400 meter relay team finished second in the nation at Saturday’s NAIA final at Mickey Miller Blackwell Stadium, posting a time of 3:42.35. The team is comprised ofKaitlyn Fortuna (JR/New Orleans, La.), Sasha Newman (SO/Antioch, Calif.), Megan Reed (SO/Thibodaux, La.) and India Ware (JR/Missouri City, Texas). Furthermore, Newman and Fortuna both were named All-American in individual events; Newman finished fourth in the nation in the 100 meter hurdles with a time of 14.17 while Fortuna placed seventh in the nation in the women’s 200m dash, posting a time of 24.79. On Friday, freshman Quamel Sessoms earned NAIA All-American honors with a seventh place finish in the men’s long jump, leaping a distance of 7.27 meters.
“It was a great weekend and an even greater ending to a very special season,” said head coach Bobby Williams, who is currently 2016 Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Coach of the Year. “We had high hopes coming into the season with our returning runners and a few top recruits. Starting with the men, Quamel Sessoms, a lone freshman, came in and took care of business in his long jump. I’m extremely proud of him being self-focused to be the only one representing the team.”
The Lady Bleu Devils 4×1 meter relay team also earned All-American honors with an eighth place finish in the NAIA, posting a time of 47.43. Team members are Reed, Ware, freshman Tajdreana Hurst (FR/Katy, Texas) and Fortuna. Overall, Dillard brought home a total of six NAIA All-Americans.
“The ladies were phenomenal across the board,” said Coach Williams. “It was a magical season winning conference and then going to nationals and finishing 20th overall out of 63 teams in the nation. It feels good to know we are the 20th ranked team in the NAIA. Kaitlyn did a great job finished as an All-American in three events and Sasha did outstanding in her hurdles. The 4×4 was just magical! We had to crush the school record, and to almost finish 1st was amazing.”