MOBILE, Alabama – McNeese’s Grace McKenzie and Donavon Banks made a big splash in their return to outdoor competition on Friday at the South Alabama Invitational, both setting school records in their respective events – McKenzie in the long jump and Banks in the javelin.
McKenzie soared to the school record and won the long jump event with a mark of 20-feet, 4.5-inches, breaking the old record of 24-4.25 that was set by Shaterica Washington back in the 1994 season.
Banks threw s whopping 246-feet, 2.75-inches in the javelin event to take first place. His mark beat the old record of 245-5 that was set in 2012 by his current throws coach and McNeese Hall of Famer Ben Chretien.
“Breaking the record is something I’ve set as a goal since 2015 when I was recruited,” said Banks. “That’s something he (Chretien) told me that he wants all of his throwers to break his record. I wouldn’t be the javelin thrower I am without him. I’m honored to be the guy that broke his record.”
McKenzie adds to her legendary status in her McNeese career with another school record. She already holds the school outdoor record in the 400-meter hurdles and the heptathlon, now she adds the long jump to her list of achievements.
“I’m so happy with my jump,” said McKenzie. “More importantly I’m happy with the series of jumps I had. Since I compete in the heptathlon, it’s important that I can get my jumps in early and secure points.
“I think what happened today was definitely a good starting point for us as a team but we have a lot of work to do and a lot more to show for what we’ve been doing behind the scenes.”
McKenzie also took first place in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.95 and finished fourth in the 200-meters with a 25.05 clocking.
Dreunna Washington added to impressive finishes for the Cowgirls as she placed first in the 200-meters (24.55) and third in the 100-meters (11.97).
The Cowgirls had three top seven finishes in the hammer throw. Alanna Arvie placed second at 190-7, Jemira Thomlinson was fifth at 172-9 and Kira Benkmann finished seventh at 171-11.
Thomlinson also placed fourth in the discus with a mark of 152-5 while Arvie posted a seventh place finish at 141-4. Arvie also placed sixth in the shot put with a best throw of 48-2.
Victoria Cantor had a second place finish in the javelin event at 129-5. In addition, Maja Gebauer placed fifth in the pole vault at 11-6.25 while Alexis Deville finished in sixth place at 10-11.75 and Aubrey Weyerstrauss seventh at 10-6.
On the men’s side, Hunter Logino followed Banks in the javelin event with a third place finish with a throw of 195-10.