By Jim Sullivan
---- — The Triton track and field program is coming off an impressive weekend, and yet no current Vikings were involved.
Two Triton alumni -- 2011’s Adam Jones and Taleour Murphy -- were named All-Americans, Jones for taking fifth place in the high jump for UMass Dartmouth at the NCAA Division 3 Championships and Murphy for breaking a UMass Lowell record with a time of 3:44.04 in the 4x400 meter relay at the NCAA Division 2 Championships.
“As a Triton grad, it’s amazing,” said Murphy. “Just that we all came out of the same track program and that we’re all now All-Americans.”
Jones jumped 6 feet, 9 3/4 inches March 9, a personal-best that allowed him to take his first NCAA championship in stride.
“It’s still really hasn’t sunk in yet,” Jones said of being named an All-American. “I kind of hoped to do a little bit better, but I definitely can’t complain with a fifth-place finish in the first time I ever went. I was just happy to be there in general. I really didn’t have that many expectations going into it. I felt good that day, and I definitely felt like I was focused enough to do it. I was hoping to jump little bit higher. I almost had 6-11, but you can’t have every jump.”
Also having a good weekend was 2010 Triton grad Deanna Latham, who competed as a Second Team All-America at the NCAA Division 1 Championships for the University of Wisconsin. One of only 16 DI runners from across the country, Latham completed the pentathlon with a score of 4,066.
“I was really, really happy,” Latham said of her weekend. “I got a (personal record) overall by like 40 points, which is pretty good. And then I got the school’s record in the (60-meter) hurdles (8.35).”
Murphy, who is studying history and education at UMass Lowell, was the only underclassman in her relay.
“It’s amazing, it’s unbelievable,” Murphy said about being named All-American. “I’m still on this high right now. The relay has been trying. We have gone about six times so I guess the seventh time is the charm. It’s an amazing title that you earn, only eight teams got that for Division 2 in the entire country. It’s quite an honor to get, especially since you worked so hard for that goal.”
Making these accomplishments even better is the fact that all three of these athletes are high school friends.
“I’m just so happy for the other people from our program I’ve worked with,” said Murphy. “It just shows you how great of a program we came out of. Adam and I are only sophomores and we’re already All-Americans and Deanna, well, she’s done it all.”
“I’ve always said there’s just something in the water,” Latham said of the Triton area. “Because my class at Triton was just an extremely talented group. The class above us and below us as well. Those were like three really, really good years for us.”
Perhaps one thing that Latham can point to in these former Vikes success is the influence of their former coach, Joe Colbert.
“He was one of my all-time favorite coaches,” Latham said of Colbert. “He cared so much. He has so much heart. He was always trying to make sure that everyone was happy and comfortable with what they were doing, and he always pushes you to do better. I think that he prepared me for that next level in college.”