ALLENDALE, Mich. -- The men’s and women’s track & field national titles were awarded on Saturday afternoon at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Championships, and the two champions had completely opposite closing days.
On the women’s side, Central Missouri, which entered the afternoon with a 27-point lead, scored just needed just eight points on day three to capture the program’s first title. For the men, two-time reigning outdoor national champion St. Augustine’s entered Saturday with a mere 10 points, 27 less than first-place Findlay. But the Falcons tallied a whopping 43 points on the final day of competition to win their third consecutive national crown.
Central Missouri’s only points of the day came from freshman Erika Kinsey, who finished second in the women’s triple jump with a mark of 13.02 meters. Antquinta Reed of Pittsburg State won the event with a leap of 13.06 meters.
Seven-time national champion Lincoln (Mo.) closed the gap significantly, scoring all 50 of its points on day three.
The Blue Tigers won three individual national titles and scored points in three other races to make things interesting.
In the women’s 4x100 meter relay, Lincoln’s team of Keja Christie, Yanique Ellington, Kimberly Bailey and Janae Johnson crossed first with a time of 44.62 seconds. Johnson went on to win the women’s 100 meters as well. Later on, Ladonna Richards edged New Mexico Highland’s Salcia Slack by a tenth of a second to win the 100 meter hurdles at 13.32 seconds.
Azusa Pacific claimed the javelin and 1,500 meter titles. Allison Updike took the former, shattering the old NCAA Division II Outdoor Championships record of 51.74 meters, which was set back in 2008. The junior’s throw soared 55.43 meters, while runner-up Estefania Lopez of Fort Hays State also broke the old record with a 52.03-meter throw. Senior Staci Foster took home the 1,500 title by over two seconds, winning with a time of 4:19.07.
The other individual champions were: Sara Wells of Wayne State (Neb.) in the shot put, Quanera Hayes of Livingstone in both the 400 and 200 meters, Simon Fraser’s Lindsey Butterworth in the 800 meters, Tia-Adana Belle, a sophomore at St. Augustine’s, in the 400 meter hurdles, and Emily Oren of Hillsdale in the 5,000 meters.
Texas A&M Kingsville took the final individual title of the day by winning with 4x400 meter relay with a time of 3:41.22.
While Central Missouri and Lincoln (Mo.) led the way, New Mexico Highlands accrued 42 points to finish third. One point behind, Grand Valley State, the host of this weekend’s festivities, earned fourth place. Pittsburg State rounded out the top five with 31 points.
To take the men’s title, the 14th its history, St. Augustine’s scored in six of the 10 running events on the closing day.
Nineteen of those points came in the men’s 400 meters, as Omar Johnson nabbed the national title at 45.78 seconds, Khari Herbert placed third and Burkheart Ellis Jr. finished sixth. Ellis Jr. went on to cross third in the 200 meters as well, earning six more points. An additional eight points came from a second-place finish in the men’s 4x100 meter relay, which saw Johnson C. Smith lock up the title with a time of 40.05 seconds.
Minnesota State’s Emmanuel Matadi won national titles in the 200 and 100 meters, posting times of 20.54 and 10.21 seconds, respectively.
Texas A&M Kingsville reigned in a pair of national titles in the field. In one of the most impressive feats of the day, Jeron Robinson was the only competitor to make it over 2.19 meters, successfully clearing each of the preceding heights in his first try. The other title came from Javan Gray, who won the javelin with a throw of 71.21 meters.
The final two field titles went to Justin Ellerbee of Cal Poly Pomona (pole vault, 5.35 meters) and Pittsburg State’s Garrett Appier (shot put, 18.51 meters).
All 13 of Findlay’s points on Saturday came in the shot put, as it boasted the second-place (Taylor Miller), fifth-place (Ben Hahler) and eighth-place (Mathieu Marcoccia) finishers.
On the track, Sean Wells of Grand Valley State captured the 110-meter hurdles crown with a time of 13.68 seconds. The other sprint event title -- 400-meter hurdles -- went to Maurice Jones of Hillsdale.
In the 800 meters, Drew Windle, a senior at Ashland, crossed in 1:48.89 seconds to win the event.
Adams State boasted a pair of individual champions, too. Oilver Atchison nabbed first in the 1,500 meters with a time of 3:45.92, while Tabor Stevens outlasted the field in the 5,000 meters, posting a time of 14:14.42.
The final event of the competition saw Tarleton State complete a miraculous comeback to win the 4x400 meter relay.
Findlay finished a mere three points behind St. Augustine’s, ending the week with 50 points. Ashland took third with 43 points, Texas A&M Kingsville was fourth with 41, and Pittsburg State and Adams State tied for fifth with 40 points apiece.