PUEBLO, Colo. – For the first time in Adams State history on Saturday night the Grizzly men celebrated a team title.
Never before in the school history had the any Adams State track & field team topped the field at a national championship meet, but the Grizzly men changed that on Saturday as the a trio of point scorers in the men’s 5,000 meter run secured at least a share of the team title. Those points boosed the ASU lead to 10 points against second place Lincoln (Mo.), and as the Blue Tigers crossed the line third in the final event of the meet, the 4×400 meter relay, the massive Grizzly cheering section let out a roar as the team title was secured.
The final tally had ASU on top of the field with 77 points, followed by Lincoln with 73. Third place was shared by St. Augustine’s and Western State with 54 points apiece, and Abilene Christian rounded out the top five with 50.
|DII MEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP|
|Day 3 Highlights|
|Day 2 Highlights|
|Day 1 Highlights|
With the win, the Grizzlies became the first men’s team to take home the DII team title besides Abielene Christian or St. Augustine’s since 1982.
In all, ASU’s men took home 13 all-American accolades and claimed two individual national titles, both on Saturday from senior Drew Graham in the 1500 meter run, and freshman Boris Berian in the 800 meter run. For Graham, it was his third individual title is as many track & field seasons, as he defended his title in the event from last spring and also won the indoor mile this March. Berian, the indoor champ this winter at 800 meters, is now a 2-time national champion.
Championship Saturday started off in the shot put ring where sophomore Wesley Lavong became a 2-time all-American with a fifth place finish, throwing a season best 17.37 meters (57 feet), and improved upon his sixth place effort from last year’s outdoor championships.
The men’s 4×100 team then posted a seventh best time of 41.13 seconds as action got underway on the track for the Grizzly men. The foursome of freshman Derek Brown, senior Rushane Scott, senior Justin Cropper and freshman Justin Smit had qualified for the final with the eight best time in the prelims.
Graham then led a 1-2-7 ASU finish at 1500 meters. Junior Keegan Calmes started the break from the pack with just under 400 meters to go, but was outkicked by Graham who won with a time of 4 minutes, 13.98 seconds. Calmes crossed second in 4:14.50 and freshman Matt Daniels came across in seventh with a time of 4:15.60. Calmes had finished fifth last spring outdoors.
Scott came back to the track for the 100 meter dash finals, where he busted out a huge personal best with a wind-aided time of 10.1146 seconds for second place. The top three finishers in the event were all clocked at 10.12 seconds, and the times had to be calculated out to the thousandth of a second to determine the champion.
A furious men’s 800 final didn’t break until 200 meters remained. Berian came on strong from the inside down the final stretch for his second national title, while Graham, who had completed his 1500 meter title defense just one hour earlier moved up to third down the homestretch before fading to fifth. Berian’s winning time was clocked at 1:54.45 with Graham crossing in 1:56.38.
The Grizzly men then finished their meet with four runners in the 5,000 meter run. Senior Matt Bond entered the meet as the national leader at the distance and took to the lead with 800 meters to go and led the breakaway. A pack of four followed that also included freshman Kevin Batt, as well as eventual champ Micah Chelimo of Alaska Anchorage and the 2012 DII champ at 10,000 meters, Western State’s Tyler Pennell. Chelimo and Pennell would pull away on the final stretch for first and second, before Batt crossed third in 15:17.26 and Bond came away with a fifth place finish in 15:21.40. Bond had finished as runner-up in the 10,000 meters Thursday.
Redshirt-freshman Tabor Stevens, fresh off a third place effort in the 3,000 meter steeplechase Friday, added a final point with an eight place finish in 15:26.44, while junior David Sanchez narrowly missed out on all-American honors with a ninth place race in a time of 15:32.04.
Wind wreaked havoc on runners throughout the 3-day meet, and saw the slowest ever winning times clocked at both 10,000 and 5,000 meters for the men.
The team title ensured ASU at least one DII team title in every year since 2000, and wrapped up the program’s third consecutive U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association Program of the Year title in as many years of the award’s existence.