Jones, Otuonye Win on Day One of NACAC U23 Championships


MANHATTAN, Kan.
Akela Jones and Ifeanyichukwu Otuonye each recorded wins in their respective events, while Sonia Gaskin qualified for the 400 meter dash final on the opening day of the NACAC U23 Championships at the Estadio Nacional Jorge "Magico" Gonzalez in El Salvador on Friday. 

Otuonye opened the competition by winning the men’s long jump with a personal best leap of 7.88m/25-10.25 on his final attempt in the competition. The mark topped his previous personal best of 7.87m/25-10, which he set at the 2015 NCAA West Preliminary, by one centimeter. 

“Ifeanyi finished his year with a personal best and a big win,” head coach Cliff Rovelto said. “He has performed at a very consistent level this past year.”

Gaskin posted a strong outing on the opening night of the meet, sealing her place in the 400 meter dash finals with a time of 54.47 in the first heat of the event to finish in third place, earning an automatic qualifying spot. The finals will be contested on Saturday at 5:35 p.m. CT. 

“Sonia used a really solid effort in the 400 meter dash to qualify for the finals,” Rovelto added about the middle distance runner.

K-State’s final athlete of the night, Jones, also posted a strong effort on the opening day, winning the women’s high jump by 10 centimeters with a final mark of 1.91m/6-03.25. The jump set a new meet record, topping the old record of 1.87m/6-01.50 set by the USA’s Kaylene Wagner in 2004. Jones returns to action on Saturday at 5:20 p.m. CT with 100 meter hurdles prelims. 

“Akela set the meet record and now has another 1.90m-plus meet on the season in high jump,” Rovelto said. “She has really taken her high jump to the next level this year.”

More information on Saturday’s action, including a complete schedule, start lists and live results, can be found by visiting the competition homepage located here

For the latest on K-State track and field, follow @kstatesports and @KStateTFXC on Twitter using the hashtag #KStateTF or on the team’s Facebook page. 

NACAC U23 Championships
Estadio Nacional Jorge "Magico" Gonzalez
San Salvador, El Salvador

Women’s 400 Meter Dash Prelims
3. Sonia Gaskin – 54.47Q

Women’s High Jump
1. Akela Jones – 1.91m/6-03.25 (Meet Record)

Men’s Long Jump
1. Ifeanyichukwu Otuonye – 7.88m/25-10.25