Edwards' 400m Title, All-Americans Cap NCAAs

TRK - Team @ Nationals (by Ashley Adams)

Team at Nationals. Photo by Ashley Adams.

When all was said and done inside the Birmingham Crossplex on March 14, Academy of Art University track & field came away with seven NCAA Division II All-American trophies in the finale of indoor nationals. Jordan Edwards (Multimedia Communications) earned an individual championship in the 400m dash, then went top three in both the 200m and with his teammates in the 4×400m to highlight the day.

MTRK - Jordan Edwards (by Torrey Olson)

Jordan Edwards. Photo by Torrey Olson.

“The National Championships are the pinnacle of what we do and the greatest test we face, but also the best teacher,” said interim head coach Torrey Olson. “I’m proud of both teams and how they carried themselves throughout the weekend.”

Edwards showed true determination to start, blazing to a 46.71 in his heat of the 400m. He ousted Omar Johnson of St. Augustine’s by a considerable margin and proved without a doubt to be the fastest man in the event. It is his second individual title with his first coming in last year’s outdoor 400m.

Edwards had just enough time to hoist his trophy atop the No. 1 spot on the podium before he had to head back out for the 200m finals. The Denver, Colorado native once again won his heat and ended up finishing third overall for another All-American honor. His time of 21.18 was a new program record and was four-tenths of a second off second place.

“The meet was a mixture of learning experiences for the future and breakthroughs from previous learning experiences,” said Olson. “In particular, Jordan Edwards came in with some unfinished business and put on incredible performances.”

Edwards joined Roman Skovronski (Web Design + New Media), James Steptoe (Music Production & Sound Design for Visual Media), and Shaquille Howard (Multimedia Communications) in the men’s 4×400m that closed the two-day meet. The Urban Knights won their heat with a 3:12.76 which serves as another new program-best and put them second overall out of 12 teams in the event. The collective performance was less than a second off champion St. Augustine’s and surely worthy of All-American honors.

“Jordan ran through quite a bit of pain in the relay and Shaq ran with the tremendous pride,” Olson said. “I’m proud of the men’s team for staying focused in a tough heat. You could see they were running for each other. This is a great team and I’m excited to think about what they’re capable of in outdoor.”

At 24.00 collective points, this is the ART U men’s highest finish ever in a National Championship.

“I think the kids came out and overachieved. They weren’t ranked in top 10 coming in, but did [a] phenomenal job to finish eighth,” said assistant coach Brandon Campbell. “They were recovering faster than I’ve ever seen and everyone was on the same page today. There was a lot of emotion and they battled through.”

On the women’s side, Keanna Moody (Multimedia Communications) brings back an All-American honor as well after finishing seventh in the 400m dash. It is her first indoor individual All-American award after she was honored in the indoor 4×400m last season.