Maryland thrower Angel Nkwonta’s quest for glory ended in anticlimactic fashion at the 2021 NCAA championships.
Nkwonta walked into the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Friday morning with one goal in mind: first team All-American. It was an attainable bar for one of the more accomplished throwers in the nation.
But what would have been a crowning achievement for an extraordinary season ended rather tamely as Nkwonta failed to make a mark at championships.
Of the 16 finalists, Nkwonta was the only one who failed to register a proper attempt during the championships. An uncharacteristic performance for her, Nkwonta fouled on all three of her attempts — with her day ending in disqualification.
[Track and field star Angel Nkwonta has found her footing in College Park]
While the senior fell short of her aspirations, she was still named second team All-American to culminate in what was an otherwise historic indoor season, one in which she broke the Terps’ program record for both the weight toss and shot put events.
“I’m proud of Angel capping off a breakout indoor campaign with her first trip to the NCAA Championships,” throwing coach Travis Coleman said.
Though Nkwonta didn’t reach her ultimate goal, she earned other accolades. The Pullman, Washington, native was acknowledged as Women’s Field Athlete of the Year for the Mid-Atlantic by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. Coleman was also acknowledged as Mid-Atlantic region assistant coach of the year by the same body.
However, the journey is far from over for both Nkwonta and Coleman.
[Angel Nkwonta and Bria Mack star for Maryland track and field at Big Ten Championships]
While Maryland has yet to announce the schedule for its outdoor track and field season, the two are excited to run it back.
“We’re eager to get back to work and prepare for an even stronger outdoor season,” Coleman said.
And given Nkwonta’s strong season, there’s a good chance she will be back at the same stage in a few weeks — albeit in the open air.
Regardless of setting, though, that extra bit of experience, drawn from a disappointing conclusion from the indoor season, just might be what she needs to cement herself among the nation’s elite.
“The experiences she gained will be invaluable in future championship settings,” Coleman said.