Crain

WHITEWATER, Wis. -- No. 3 North Central (Ill.) proved its mettle at Wisconsin-Whitewater's Squig Converse Invitational on Friday. The Cardinals finished at the top of the nine-team field, which included the top-four ranked squads in the nation.

North Central finished with 142 points, which was 32 ahead of No. 1 Wisconsin-Oshkosh, which placed second with 110. Fourth-ranked Wisconsin-Whitewater placed third with 104 points and No. 2 Wisconsin-La Crosse finished fourth with 96.5.

UW-Whitewater's Marcus Smith broke a school and Kachel Fieldhouse record in the 60 meter hurdles. He also broke the UW-W record in the triple jump, while tying the Kachel Fieldhouse mark. Smith set the previous school triple jump record a week ago in the Jack Jennett Invitational at Northern Iowa. 

The Cardinals won five of the 17 contested events, including a nation-leading performance from John Crain in the 5,000 meter run. Crain clocked an indoor personal-best time of 14:24.22 to finish nearly 10 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher. His time ranks first among all Division III competitors this season.

Peter Geraghty won the pole vault for the third consecutive meet, matching his season best with a clearance of 17 3/4. He led a 1-2-3 finish in the event for North Central, as Josh Winder cleared 16-6 3/4 to place second and Frank Wleklinski finished third at 15-7. Dionte Hackler picked up first place in the 400 meter dash in 49.84 seconds, narrowly edging out teammate Mustapha Olaoye (49.86) at the finish line.

The Cardinals won two of the three relay events during the meet, as Dayton Henriksen, Randal Ellison, Robert Lott and Abraham Oshipitan won the 4x200 meter relay in 1:30.05 and Ellison later teamed with Pat Foley, Richard Ruske and Yonatan Mascote to win the distance medley relay (10:32.06).

Matt Muth and Aron Sebhat finished second (4:20.98) and third (4:21.02), respectively, in the mile run, while the 4x400 meter relay team of Henriksen, Hackler, Olaoye and Marlen Hamilton placed second in a season-best time of 3:19.05 and Zach Heerspink came in third in the high jump (6-5).

*Wisconsin-Whitewater Athletics contributed to this article.