In Life University Running Eagles’ men’s track and field first season since it went dormant, Bahamian Head Coach Dominic Demeritte bagged the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Men’s Track and Field Coach of the Year award. He was instrumental in the Running Eagles’ journey to the NAIA Men’s Track and Field outdoor title this past season.
The men went to Gulf Shores, Alabama, and finished with a total of 52 points to take home the title. They won four events. Southeastern University was second with 47 points and was followed by the University of British Columbia with 39 points.
This was the first time Life University won the NAIA outdoor title since 2000.
The Running Eagles produced the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the meet, Phemelo Matlhabe, and the national championship came on the heels of them winning the Mid-South Conference (MSC) Men’s Track and Field Championship.
In addition to being named the NAIA Coach of the Year, the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) selected Demeritte as their national men’s coach of the year. His team captured 13 All-American awards.
It is a huge accomplishment for Demeritte who was named the head coach of the men’s team in September 2020.
Matlhabe was named USTFCCCA Men’s Track Athlete of the Year.
Demeritte was the women’s team interim head coach in 2021 and he coached them to the program’s first MSC Women’s Track and Field Championship. He won the MSC Coach of the Year Award. This year, they successfully defended that title.
At this year’s NAIA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, the women finished fifth with 38 total points after entering the final day without a point. They won one gold medal and had other All-Americans. British Columbia won with 138 points.
The Bahamian Olympian coached five Bahamian males on his team – Venord Burrows, Nigel Hepburn, Corey Johnson, Nathan Moss and Hesley Charlton. On the women’s side he had Bahamians Aniqua Darville and Breanna Pratt.
Pratt ran the third leg of the women’s 4×400 meters (m) relay team that finished third at the nationals. They clocked 3:45.71. Indiana Tech won that relay with a time of 3:42.16, and British Columbia was second in 3:44.79.
The season for both teams have wrapped up. The men’s team will be looking to defend both their conference and national titles in 2023.