CANTON, N.Y. -- The Wisconsin-La Crosse men's track & field team is in first place after day one of competition Thursday at the 2015 NCAA Division III Championships. St. Lawrence is hosting the event at the Merrick-Pinkard Track & Field Complex. The Eagles have 17.0 team points while North Central (Ill.) is in second with 13.0. Wisconsin-Platteville, Wisconsin-Whitewater and Southern Maine are tied for third with 10.0 points. A total of 28 teams scored points Thursday.
UW-L is striving for its 13th NCAA Division III outdoor title in school history and first since 2013. The Eagles' 12 national crowns are the most in NCAA III history. UW-L placed second last season.
The Eagles' Grant Havard won his second consecutive NCAA III title in the discus throw (186-8) Thursday. He is the fourth student-athlete in school history to win the discus title, joining Mike Turgeon (2002, '04) as a two-time winner in the event. Tom Newberry (1985) and Terry Strouf ('88) also claimined national titles. Havard earned his fourth All-America honor in the discus throw Thursday after winning the title in 2014 and finishing third in 2013 and seventh in 2012. He will compete in the hammer throw Friday, May 22 and shot put Saturday, May 23.
UW-L's Dominique Neloms and Bryan Klister also earned NCAA III All-America honors Thursday as Neloms placed fourth (23-11 1/2) in the long jump and Klister finished seventh (16-2 1/2) in the pole vault. It is Neloms' second consecutive All-America honor in the long jump after finishing third in 2014. He also has a pair of indoor national crowns (2014, 2015) in the long jump. Neloms will see action in the high jump Saturday, May 23.
Klister picked up his fourth career recognition in the pole vaut, including his first outdoor. UW-L's Jeffery Hill plced 15th (15-6 1/2) and Gary Trkula 16th (15-6 1/2) in the pole vault Thursday.
In preliminary track action Thursday, Garrett Kerska advanced to the finals of the 1,500-meter run (3:54.60) while Matthew Eidenschink qualified in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (9:19.15) and Alex Jelich advanced in the 400-meter hurdles (52.66).
Chris Eberle, Alex Koenen, Matt Adams and Joe Koenecke advanced in the 4x100-meter relay (41.24) preliminaries while the 4x400-meter relay (3:13.60) of Sam Smith, Joe Smith, Nick Tehan, and Cyrus Mason also advanced to the finals on Saturday. All finals will be Saturday, May 23.
The Eagles' Ross Denman failed to advance in the 200-meter dash (21.48) while Zak Wallenfang failed to make the 400-meter hurdles final (53.65).