ALLENDALE, Mich. -- Although the majority of the finals will be decided on Saturday, Findlay and Central Missouri widened their respective leads on day two of the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
On the men’s side, Findlay nabbed 16 points on Friday, bringing its total to 37 points, 16 more than second-place Southern Indiana. For the women, Central Missouri, the 2015 NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field Championships, scored 22 points, upping its two-day count to 51 and giving it a 27-point lead over second-place Grand Valley State, which is hosting this weekend’s festivities.
The day began with the second half of the decathlon. Justin Balczak of Azusa Pacific tallied 7,425 points to collect the national title. Tiffin’s Theo Mancheron posted 7,347 points to garner runner-up honors, while Emporia State’s Payson Maydew took third with 7,222 points.
Next, New Mexico Highland’s Salcia Slack took home a 216-point victory in the heptathlon. Megan VanWinkle (5,475 points) of Azusa Pacific and Madison Smith (5,290 points) of Central Missouri took second and third place, respectively.
In the women’s discus throw, Alissa Rausch, a senior from Winona State, won the national championship with a throw of 55.22 meters on her fourth attempt. Wayne State (Neb.) had the second- and third-place finishers, as sophomore Michaela Dendinger landed a throw of 54.34 meters and senior Sara Wells posted a throw of 53.51 meters.
Youth was served in the women’s high jump, with Central Missouri freshman Erika Kinsey winning the national crown.
Kinsey was the only competitor to clear 1.86 meters, doing so on her first attempt. Ashland’s Jennifer Foster took runner-up honors, clearing 1.76 meters on her final try. Five other competitors cleared 1.73 meters, but, Lauren Schnelli, a junior at Chico State, won the tiebreaker for third place by successfully completing the jump on her first attempt at the height.
Men’s triple jump was the next final of the afternoon. St. Augustine’s David Shaw captured the title with a leap of 15.82 meters. Findlay’s Demorrio Leggett was a close second, recording a jump of 15.70 meters. His teammate, junior Michael Bruce, took third with a mark of 15.55 meters.
The men’s discus throw rounded out the early session of finals, and it was won in convincing fashion.
Central Missouri’s Caniggia Raynor notched a 59.76-meter hurl on his final attempt, topping Ashland’s Jason Zahn by a whopping 2.17 meters. Bo Farrow of Pittsburg State edged out Missouri Southern’s Nicklas Polizzi with a throw of 55.93 meters.
Both men and women 3,000-meter steeplechase races wrapped up the day’s finals.
The women ran first, and the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference boasted three of the top five finishers. Hillsdale’s Emily Oren (9:54.43) came within 0.42 seconds of breaking the meet record, which was set by Alicia Nelson of Adams State last year. Molly Oren (10:16.93) of Hillsdale finished in third, right behind Western Washington’s Katelyn Steen (10:13.93). Fifth place went to Wayne State’s Chelsea Johnson (10:25.23), rounding out the GLIAC finishers in the event.
Tabor Stevens of Adams State won the men’s title with a time of 8:44.40. Four seconds behind him, Chico State’s Alex McGuirk crossed second, posting a time of 8:48.29.
After seven events on the men’s side, Findlay leads the way, followed by Southern Indiana and Ashland (19 points). Central Missouri (17 points) is the only other men’s team with more than 15 points through two days.
Through eight events on the women’s side, Central Missouri sets the pace. Grand Valley State remains in the hunt, as does New Mexico Highlands (21 points), Pittsburg State (17 points), Ashland (17 points) and Hillsdale (16 points).
A total of 27 events will take place on Saturday, all of which are finals. Competition will begin with the women’s javelin throw at 11:00 a.m. The championships are scheduled to conclude with the men’s 4x400 meter relay at 6:00 p.m.