Montreat sends record group to NAIA Nationals; Wilson earns All-American Honors

Tom Flynn
Special to Black Mountain News

The Montreat Cavaliers sent six athletes to the 2019 NAIA Indoor Track & Field Nationals last weekend at the Sanford Jackrabbit Athletic Complex in Brookings, South Dakota.

The athletes included Lydia Wilson (5,000), Antonio Gomez (1,000), Micah Matheson (pole vault), Ahmad Perryman (400), Caleb Silver (1,000), and Israel Diaz (high jump). Gomez, Matheson, Silver, and Diaz were all making their debut at the event.

The record contingent of athletes representing the Cavs at the Indoor Nationals came on the heels of Montreat winning the Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) conference title in mid-February at the JDL Fast Track in Winston Salem, N.C.

After posting a 17:56.11 to advance through the qualifying round and gained the final in the 5,000, Wilson turned in an even better time in the finals with a 17:45.91 to finish fifth overall and earn All-American honors.  

For the runner, it was a new PR indoors at the distance and her second All-American nod indoors at the 5,000 meters. It was her fourth overall All-American honor, which includes earning the recognition in the spring in the marathon, and last fall in cross country, as the runner continues to prove to be one of the top runners in the history of the program.

Perryman, who was making a return trip to the Nationals, posted a 48.96 in the preliminaries in the 400. At the 1,000, Silver led the Cavaliers’ runners with a 2:31.18, and missed advancing to the finals by just one spot. Gomez posted a 2:36.81 for the Cavs in the event.

Freshman Israel Diaz made a solid premiere at the Nationals in the high jump with 1.94m leap, while sophomore Micah Matheson cleared 4.5 meters in the pole vault for Montreat. 

“It was a great experience in South Dakota for indoor nationals. With the exception of Lydia, the rest of the group are freshmen and sophomores so they are gaining tremendous experience competing at one of the highest levels. I am very proud of how they have represented Montreat,” said head coach, Jason Lewkowicz.

Lewkowicz was joined on the trip by assistants Jason Scott and Mariah Cruise, as representatives of a staff that includes Britten Olinger and former Olympian, Abbey Cooper (nee D’Agostino).

For the Cavaliers, there is only a short pause before the outdoor season opens as they get underway on March 15 at the Lenoir-Rhyne Invitational. The Cavs will host the Montreat College Invitational on March 29 – 30 in Black Mountain at Pulliam Stadium and will again host the AAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships on April 26 and 27 at home.