May 24, 2009

Courtesy Angelo State University

After more than a three-hour rain delay, the final day of the 2009 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field National Championships got exciting in a hurry as the team championship races came down to the wire.

St. Augustine's claimed the men's crown with 94 points and Lincoln held off host Angelo State for the women's team title with 85 points. St. Augustine's claimed its first national men's title since 2001, snapping a seven-year reign by Abilene Christian. Lincoln's women's victory was their sixth in the past seven seasons.

The morning started with the men's javelin as Puerto Rico-Mayaguez' Felipe Ortiz claimed the first national title of the day with a throw of 226'2" on his first attempt of the competition. Josh Heidegger from Northwest Nazarene was second at 223'2" and Shippensburg's Josh Hostetler third at 211'8".

Then the rains came at about 12:45 p.m. (Central) time and due to lightning in the area the competitors, coaches and fans were asked to clear the LeGrand Sports Complex. Competition resumed at 4:15 p.m. with the remainder of the field events which coincided with the running finals which started less than an hour later.

When action resumed, the first event of the afternoon was the women's javelin where the top thrower all season long, Abilene Christian's Linda Brivule claimed the national title with a throw of 162'11" on her first attempt of her flight. Benedict's Melinda Bastian placed second at 158'5" and Seattle Pacific's Jeeni Schantin was third at 153'11".

In the men's discus, Abilene Christian's Nick Jones captured the title with a throw of 182'11" on his final throw. Aleksas Abromavicius of Grand Valley State was second at 178'10" and Central Missouri's Drew Frizzell, the hammer champion on Thursday, was third at 168'. Abromavicius took the lead in his final throw but Jones answered to end the competition.

The women's steeplechase opened the running finals as Southern Indiana's Mary Ballinger claimed the national title with a time of 10:22.98. Western State's Lisa Thomas was second at 10:37.48 and Danna Kelly of Truman State was third at 10:53.02.

The men's steeplechase followed with Adams State's Reuben Chebon-Mwei earning the national crown with a time of 8:47.10. Daniel Maina of Abilene Christian was second (8:52.99) and Western State's Loren Ahonen third (9:01.92).

The fireworks on the women's side then began as Lincoln's foursome of Nandelle Cameron, Samoy Hackett, Sudian Davis and Janika Martell exploded for a victory in the 4x100-meter relay. The Lincoln foursome won the event in a time of 44:32, just 15 hundredths of second shy of the meet record. St. Augustine's placed second in a time of 45.19 and California State-Los Angeles third at 46.39.

Lincoln also claimed the title in the men's 4x100 relay. The foursome of Kawayne Fisher, Gavin Terrelong, Dwain Bryden and Kimour Bruce won the crown with a time of 39.29, just nine hundredths shy of the meet record. St. Augustine's placed second in a time of 39.32 and Fort Valley State was third at 40.07.

Seattle Pacific's Jessica Pixler would claim the title in the women's 1,500-meter run in a time of 4:26.75. Jessica Monson from Wisconsin-Parkside placed second in a time of 4:27.38 and Grand Valley State's Monica Kinney third at 4:31.41.

In the men's 1,500, Michael Crouch of Queens claimed the national title in a time of 3:49.83 just ahead of Adams State's Aaron Braun (3:49.93). California State-Chico's Michael Wickman was third at 3:50.69.

The Johnson C. Smith duo of Shermaine Williams and Rosemarie Carty went one-two in the women's 100-meter hurdles. Williams won the title in 12.95 while Carty finished in 13.40. Grand Valley State's Candice Wheat was third in 13.48.

In the men's 110-meter hurdles, Albany State's Ronnie McGirt claimed the title in a time of 13.69. Abilene Christian's Andrew McDowell was second in 13.86 and Jeremy Jackson from Pittsburg State third at 14.07.

Angelique Smith of St. Augustine's won the women's 400-meter dash in a time of 54.43, barely edging Abilene Christian's Kim Prather, who ran the event in a time of 54.44. Adams State's Michele Williams placed third in a time of 54.47.

In the men's 400, Josh Scott of St. Augustine's won the title in a time of 45.41. Lincoln's Dane Hyatt placed second at 45.77 and Johnson C. Smith's Leford Green was third at 46.26.

In the most anticipated event of the day in a field that included three Olympians, Lincoln's Samoy Hackett outstretched Barbara Pierre from St. Augustine's for the title in the women's 100-meter dash. Hackett won the event in a time of 11.18, matching Pierre's meet record set in the prelims. Pierre ended the finals in a time of 11.22. Lincoln's Janika Martell was third in a time of 11.36.

In the men's 100, Lincoln's Kawayne Fisher won the title with a time of 10.15. Ramon Gittens placed second in a time of 10.18 and Lincoln's Kimour Bruce was third at 10.27.

In a return to the field events, Abilene Christian's Ramon Sparks extended the Wildcat's midday lead with a victory in the triple jump. Sparks' second jump in the finals of 52'4.75" was good enough to out-jump Joe Kindred of St. Augustine's, the NCAA D-II National Field Athlete of the Year. Kindred ended the event with a mark of 51'7". Pittsburg State's Kiara Jones placed third at 50'4.5".

In the women's 800-meter run, Northwest Nazarene's Ashley Puga picked up the national title in a time of 2:07.24. Liz Palkie of Minnesota-Duluth was second in a time of 2:08.02 and Pittsburg State's Venessa Lee was third at 2:10.88.

For the men, Metro State's Antony Luna claimed the title of the 800 in a time of 1:49.26. Andrew Graham of Adams State was second in a time of 1:49.76 and California State-Chico's Wickman, who also placed third in the 1,500, was third at 1:49.82.

UC-San Diego's Linda Rainwater battled a tough field in the women's high jump and claimed the title due to tiebreaker with Central Missouri's Jenna Schimidt. Both jumpers hit 5'9.75" with Rainwater making it in her first attempt. Missouri Science & Technology's Tamara McCaskill was third at 5'8.5".

Western State's Ashley Stephens uncorked a throw of 164'1" on her first throw of the finals in the women's discus throw to outlast a pair of Angelo State throwers. ASU's Adree Lakey, who won the shot put Friday and placed third in the hammer throw Thursday, was second with a throw of 161'10" and teammate Culley Jo Dawson was third at 160'9".

In the women's 400-meter hurdles, UC-San Diego's Christine Merrill edged Angelo State's Aisha Adams at the wire to claim the national title. Merrill finished the race in a school-record 58.59 while Adams, the national champion in the heptathlon and runner-up in the long jump, finish in a time of 58.77. Hillsdale's Jazmin Williams was third at 59.30.

For the men, Josh Streeter from Adams State claimed the national crown in a time of 51.66. Alvin Miles from St. Augustine's placed second at 51.89 and Northwest Nazarene's Dallas Beaty was third at 52.05.

Lincoln's Hackett and company vaulted the Blue Tigers back into the lead as LU had four runners in the women's 200-meter dash. Hackett completed the sprint sweep with a winning time of 22.95 in the event. Pierre of St. Augustine's, who also finished second behind Hackett in the 100, placed second at 23.48 while Hackett's teammate Nandelle Cameron was third at 23.55. The Blue Tigers held a one-point lead over Angelo State, 75-74, as each team had just the 4x400-meter relay remaining.

In the men's 200, Fort Valley State's Ricardo Lockette won the title in a time of 20.63, outdistancing Johnson C. Smith's Green (20.654), who was the third place finisher in the 400 earlier in the day. Scott of St. Augustine's, the champion in the 100, was third at 20.660.

In the final field event of the weekend, Kasey Burlingham of California State-Stanislaus claimed the national title in the men's pole vault with a mark of 17'8.5". Grand Valley State's Bryant Wilson was second at 17'4.5" and Stephen Toler of Abilene Christian third at 17'0.75".

Shippensburg Neely Spence wrapped up the distance events for the women with a victory in the 5,000-meter run in a time of 16:35.36. Vivien Wadeck of California State-Los Angeles was second at 16:49.51 and Adams State's Lavenna Mullenback third at 16:52.62.

In the men's 5,000, Harding's Daniel Kirwa added a second national title to his resume, claiming the crown in a time of 14:17.45. Western State's Tyler Pennel was second in a time of 14:20.99 and Brian Medigovich of Adams State third at 14:22.43.

It then came down to the 4x400 relay for the women's title as Lincoln outran Angelo State by less than two seconds to capture the team crown. The Blue Tigers won the event in a time of 3:39.45 while ASU finished second at 3:41.38. District of Columbia was third at 3:42.81.

For the men, St. Augustine's and Abilene Christian entered the final event tied at 84 points apiece. St. Aug's 4x400 relay squad claimed the team title for the Falcons with a winning time of 3:06.90. Lincoln placed second in the event in a time of 3:08.22 and Fort Valley State third at 3:08.41.