Harding athletes take top honors in the GAC 

RUSSELLVILLE — The Great American Conference announced the men’s and women’s track and field top performers of the week for the third week of the 2024 season. Harding’s Josphat Meli and Anton Kopytko claimed the Men’s Track & Field honors while the Lady Bisons’ Cella Nguema and Oklahoma Baptist’s Jade Byrd earned the Women’s Track & Field awards.

#theGAC MEN’S TRACK ATHLETE OF THE WEEK – Josphat Meli, Fr., Harding, Eldoret, Kenya

Meli established the GAC’s top time in the 5000-meter run when he clocked in a time of 14:03.49 at the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays. He finished third overall and second amongst Division II competitors. He earned an NCAA Provisional time with the eighth-fastest time in the country.

#theGAC MEN’S FIELD ATHLETE OF THE WEEK – Anton Kopytko, So., Harding, Dnipro, Ukraine

Kopytko improved upon his school and conference record in the long jump when he produced a mark of 7.80 meters at the Bobcat Invitational. He finished sixth overall, third amongst attached collegiate competitors. His jump ranks first in Division II, 0.11 meters ahead of second place.

#theGAC WOMEN’S TRACK ATHLETE OF THE WEEK – Cella Nguema, So., Harding, Condéon, France

Nguema broke her own school record in the 100-meter hurdles when she registered a time of 14.01 seconds at the Bobcat Invitational. She finished 16th overall and second amongst Division II competitors to produce the fastest time in the GAC and the eighth-best time in Division II.

#theGAC WOMEN’S FIELD ATHLETE OF THE WEEK – Jade Byrd, Jr., Oklahoma Baptist, Stratford, Oklahoma

Byrd claimed two top-four finishes at the Emporia State Relays. She placed third in the hammer throw with a mark of 50.83 meters. She took fourth in the discus with a throw of 48.04 meters. She earned an NCAA Provisional mark in the discus and she ranks third in the country in the event. She ranks 28th in the hammer.


Sean Dixon, Jr. (Oklahoma Baptist), Gabriel Greenwich, Fr. (Ouachita Baptist), Russell Hensley, Fr. (Ouachita Baptist), Peter Kipkemboi, Jr. (East Central), Maximus Washington, So. (Southern Nazarene), Isaiah Willis, Jr. (Oklahoma Baptist)

Hannah Appleton, Jr. (Northwestern Oklahoma State), Izzi Breaux, Jr. (Ouachita Baptist), Damaris Chewon, Jr. (East Central), Mekenzie Connell, Fr. (Oklahoma Baptist), Rachel Dunn, Fr. (Ouachita Baptist), Makensi Greenwood, So. (Southeastern Oklahoma State), Diamond Hilton, Jr. (Northwestern Oklahoma State), Macayla Needham, Sr. (Southeastern Oklahoma State), Abriel Thrash, So. (Southern Nazarene), Karyna Vehner, Fr. (Harding).