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undefined | May 23, 2014

DIII: North Central (Ill.) leads fields

DELAWARE, Ohio -- Just two athletes took part in the second day of the NCAA Division III Outdoor Championships for the North Central (Ill.) on Friday, but it was enough secure further All-America accolades as sophomore Adam Weidner came through with a sixth-place finish in the shot put in his first national-championship appearance at Ohio Wesleyan's Selby Stadium.

Weidner entered the day seeded 10th in the 20-man field, but was unfazed by the pressure of the moment and quickly set about moving up the ladder. Competing in the first of two preliminary flights, he stood sixth after the first two rounds of throws with a best mark of 52 feet, 9 1/2 inches. On his third and final attempt, he came through with a mark of 54'8 1/4", just one inch shy of his personal best, to move into third place in the flight.

"I had to work on keeping my chest up," Weidner said of his adjustments between throws in qualifying. "I had my chest down on my throws and that took away some distance, and it all came together on the last throw."

Upon the completion of the preliminary rounds, Weidner remained in fourth place in the standings and stood in position to compete in the finals. His final throw in qualifying, however, was protested by another team. Ultimately, the attempt was ruled legal and Weidner moved on for three additional throws in the finals.

Weidner's attempts in the finals each yielded solid results, but none of them were an improvement on his mark from the prelims. He wound up sixth in the final standings, making him the eighth outdoor shot put All-American in the history of the North Central men's program and the first since Justin Rapp '02 won the national title in 2002.

"I think it's a little natural to be nervous, but once I got that first throw out there I felt just fine," he said. "After that, I just had to stick to my form and it worked."

The performance capped off a month which saw Weidner improve his personal best by more than three feet and win a College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin individual championship in the event.

"The biggest key has been just staying relaxed," he said of his recent improvement. "I tend to get too worked up about it and think about it too much. I just went back to what I know and focused on fundamentals."

Femi Oyewole represented North Central in the high jump, also qualifying for his first national meet. He cleared the first three heights (6'2 3/4", 6'4 3/4", 6'6 3/4") each on his first attempt before bowing out with three unsuccessful tries at 6'8". He wound up 15th in the 20-man field.

Competition concludes on Saturday, as the Cardinals take part in the final two events of the meet. John Crain and Troy Kelleher will race in the 5,000-meter run at 5:05 p.m. ET, as Crain looks to defend his 2013 national title, with the 4X400 relay finals to follow at 5:35.

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