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Track Phenom Taneira Bowman Wins Two National Titles at the NJCAA Division III Men’s and Women’s Outdoor National Championships
(Delaware and Chester Counties, PA • May 21, 2019)—Student-athlete Taneira Bowman has made Delaware County Community College history winning two national titles, two additional medals and the coveted status of All-American. Bowman won first place in the triple jump, first place in the long jump, and placed second in the 100 meters and third in the 200 meters at the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division III Men’s and Women’s Outdoor National Championships held in Utica, New York, May 9 through May 11.
“Our mission was to accomplish something bigger. To get the school recognized, as well as me,” said Bowman, who was the only student representing the College at the meet, and who enabled the College to place sixth overall out of the 25 women’s teams that participated in the championships.
Her win marks the first time the College’s track and field program has gained All-American honors and the second time the College’s athletic program has garnered national honors. Last year, student-golfer Tom Weir became the first student-athlete to earn All-American honors, when he placed fifth in the nation at the NJCAA Division III Men’s Golf Championship.
Bowman, who lives in the city of Chester, attributed her successful showing, to the help of Chester natives Suni Blackwell, the College’s former director of Wellness, Athletics and Recreation, and Alfred Thompkins, the College’s track and field coach, who also coached Bowman at Chester High School, where he worked for 18 years before coming to Delaware County Community College. “Without Mr. Suni’s help and my coach’s help, I would not have been able to accomplish what I accomplished,” Bowman said.
Blackwell said he kept telling Bowman that she was going to be an All-American student-athlete. “I kept speaking it into existence,” he said. “She’s a natural.”
At Chester High School, Bowman was an All-Delco student-athlete in track and field. Thompkins knew after seeing Bowman run in high school that she had the potential to be an outstanding student-athlete at the College level. But Bowman, who has a six-year-old son, Zy’ ion, did not immediately enter college after graduating high school in 2012.
Eventually, Blackwell convinced Bowman to visit Delaware County Community College and restart her educational journey. “I told her all you have to do is show up and do your part,” Blackwell said. He also introduced her to the College’s Keystone Education Yields Success (KEYS) program, a state-funded initiative that helps students with children by providing them with books, training supplies, childcare, carfare and other supportive services. KEYS helped Bowman stay focused on her goal of achieving in sports and academics.
Coach Thompkins took on the formidable challenge of getting Bowman back into competitive shape after her six-year hiatus from track and field. “Basically, I had to start from scratch,” Coach Thompkins said, adding that he worked on strength and agility training, as well as Bowman’s mental attitude to help her believe in her ability. “She’s a go-getter. She’s a strong minded individual,” Coach Thompkins said.
In the future, Bowman plans to earn an associate degree, transfer to a 4-year college or university and participate in a Division I track and field program. Her long-term goal is to become a counselor for children living in foster care. “I want to be that person who cares,” she said.
Due to her outstanding performance in Utica and at previous track meets, including the Penn Relays, 4-year colleges have already begun taking notice of her talent. But perhaps her biggest and most important supporter has been her son, Zy’ ion, who when his mom called to tell him that she had won first place in two events was ecstatic and said, “You won first place. Wow!”