Livingstone College student-athlete Quanera Hayes is the Division II National Champion in the 400 meters. Hayes, a sophomore from Hope Mills, ran the 400 meters in 51.53 to capture the national title in Pueblo, Colo. late last month at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field National Championships.
Hayes’ record-breaking time eclipsed by three seconds the 54.38 she ran in a preliminary, qualifying heat. Her national championship – the first for any female Livingstone College student-athlete – was won at the Neta and Eddie DeRose Thunderbowl, considered one of the top football and track facilities in Division II. Her time was the fastest time ever recorded by a female in the 400 meters at the sports venue. It also qualifies her for the USA Outdoor National Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, June 18-23. If Hayes performs well enough at the USA Outdoor National Championships, she could qualify for the World Championships to be held in Russia later this year.
With her first-place win in the 400 meters and a fourth-place finish in the 200 meters, with a time of 23.30, Hayes is now a six-time NCAA Division II All-American and undoubtedly one of the most-heralded student-athletes in Livingstone College history.
“When she crossed the line first, I had all kinds of emotions going through my body, and I was shaking,” said Livingstone College Track and Field Coach Justin Davis, who was assisted by volunteer Sprints Coach Timothy Dunlap. “The emotions poured over me. We, as coaches, can train athletes, but they’re the ones who are actually out there running and putting their bodies on the line. I can tell Quanera what to do, but she’s the one who has to go out there and do it. It takes heart.”
This has been a banner year for Hayes, a soft-spoken sophomore education major. During the CIAA Championships at Virginia State University in late April, she became the CIAA Champion in the 400 meters with a time of 53.44. Hayes joins former Livingstone student-athlete Jordan Vaden, who became a national champion in the 200 meters in 2004 under the direction of then head coach Cliff Huff.
“This is a great accomplishment for her and for Livingstone,” Davis said. “It opens a lot of doors for Livingstone, puts us back on the map in the track and field world and lets people see what Livingstone’s track and field program is all about.”