WICHITA — The McPherson College men's track and field team successfully defended its KCAC outdoor crown, holding off a late charge by the University of Saint Mary for the title Friday night at Adair-Austin Stadium.
The title is the third in the last five years for McPherson (2014, 2017, 2018).
The Bulldogs held a 39-point lead with three events remaining to be scored - the hammer throw, the 5,000-meter run and the 4 x 400 relay. The Spires cut the deficit to just five points after the 5K by sweeping the top six positions on the podium.
With 11 schools entered, the 4 x 400 ended up as a two-heat timed final with McPherson and Saint Mary going off in separate heats. The Spires ran first, taking third in their heat, but finishing 10 seconds better than their seed time to put the pressure on the Bulldogs. Running against the clock, the quartet of Amari Heisser, Bryson Crayton, Xavier Taylor and Casey Zimmerman posted a time of 3:23.53 to finish second in their heat and second overall, while the Spires were mired in sixth place. That result doubled the McPherson lead to 10 points.
The late-arriving hammer results saw the Bulldogs receive a third-place finish from Tanner Trigg with a personal-best throw of 46.49 meters (152-6). Saint Mary took fourth and fifth in the competition, but it only resulted in a net gain of three points and served as confirmation of McPherson's successful title defense. The Spires were left with 174.5 points to the Bulldogs' winning total of 181.5.
The team's depth and balance showed as the Bulldogs received points from all disciplines - sprints, middle distance, long distance, hurdles, relays, throws and both horizontal and vertical jumps.
McPherson got an early start on the track on Friday, kicking off the day's proceedings with a win in the 4 x 100 relay. The quartet of Matthew Bouwkamp, Taylor, Heisser and Hunter Sury posted an NAIA B-cut time of 41.68 seconds.
Sury, Taylor and Bouwkamp all made the finals in both the 100 and 200 with Sury coming away with a runner-up and NAIA B-cut finish in the 100 (10.71) and a third-place PR in the 200 (21.68). Taylor took fifth in both races (10.98; 21.91-PR), while Bouwkamp added a pair of seventh-place finishes (11.02; 22.15).
• Hurdles •
Heisser and Crayton added a pair of Top 4 finishes in the sprint hurdle races. Heisser won the 400 hurdles with a new PR of 55.24 seconds, while Crayton took third (57.05). In the 110 highs, Heisser took second (15.32), two spots ahead of Crayton (15.82-PR).
• Distance •
Zimmerman grabbed a point in the 800, finishing eighth in a PR time of 1:58.19.
While just missing out of the points in Friday's 10K, Fuller did record a fifth-place finish in Thursday's 3,000 steeplechase (10:09.46). Jesse Freeman took third in the event for the Bulldogs with a new PR of 9:57.48.
Zimmerman and Freeman also ran the final to legs on McPherson's 4 x 800 relay. The pair - along with Kevin Boeckman and Albert Wegener - took seventh in an 8:23.86 clocking.
• Jumps •
After missing out in the finals of the 100 and 200, Myles Sample emerged with a trio of Top 8 finishes in the jumps - all with personal-best marks. He tied for fourth in the high jump after clearing 1.83 meters (6-0), then took fifth in the triple jump (13.52m; 44-4.25) and seventh in the long jump (6.56m; 21-6.25).
Hector Bosquez added a couple of PRs himself, placing third in the triple jump (13.80m; 45-3.5) and sixth in the long jump (6.56m; 21-6.25), while Jordan Windholz took fourth in the triple jump (13.71m; 44-11.75).
In the high jump, Robert Shaw matched the winning height of 1.93 meters (6-4), but ended up third due to having more misses in his progression. Cain Fowles matched Sample's clearance of 1.83 meters (6-0) but, likewise, ended up sixth due to more misses.
Alex Polakow and Jack Stalcup tied for third in the pole vault after each cleared 3.70 meters (12-1.5) on their third and final attempts without any previous misses.
• Throws •
Brandt Wolters captured his second KCAC javelin crown in three years after uncorking a throw of 63.34 meters (207-10), breaking his own school record by nearly three feet. The mark also moved him to No. 2 on the current NAIA performance list. Derek Naegele took second with a PR throw of 57.51 meters (188-8). He now ranks 15th nationally. Fowles made it three Bulldogs in the top-8 with a fifth-place throw of 52.22 meters (171-4).
Dylan Templeman posted a runner-up finish in the discus (46.14m; 151-4) and a fifth-place finish in the shot put (14.46m; 47-5.25), while Trigg added a fifth-place finish in the discus (42.40m; 138-5) to his third-place effort in the hammer.
Following the championships, McPherson head coach Robert Spies was recognized by his peers who named him the KCAC Men's Outdoor Track and Field Coach of the Year for the second year in a row.
Sam Standifer was recognized as McPherson's KCAC Champions of Character representative for the 2018 outdoor track and field season.
• TEAM SCORES •
1. McPherson, 181.5; 2. Saint Mary, 174.5; 3. Friends, 105.5; 4. Southwestern, 76.5; 5. York, 61; 6. Tabor, 60; 7. Bethany, 54; 8. Sterling, 38; 9. Ottawa, 28; 10. Kansas Wesleyan, 23; 11. Bethel, 17.