Sterling, Kan. - The Friends University men's track and field team made history on Friday, May 4th, as they took home the KCAC championship for the first time in school history and stopped Southwestern's 29 year consecutive title streak in the process. They finished with 216 points, 44 points more than Southwestern's 172 points. This is also the first time in KCAC history that a team has taken home the triple crown, winning the conference titles in cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track.
The two day meet started off strong for the Falcons on Thursday as they jumped out to a 97-62 lead over Southwestern behind strong performances in the steeplechase, 10k, long jump, javelin, and high jump. Day two started off with a bang in the field events as the Falcons quickly gapped Southwestern by an even greater margin and then shut the door on them quickly on the track with a dominating 1500 performance to close the door on any hopes they might have had.
The Falcon field events led the way as they accounted for 109 points to Southwestern's 34 points. The Falcon distance runners accounted for 82 points to Southwestern's 74 distance points. This is the first time in the history of the KCAC that the Southwestern distance runners were outscored by a distance opponent.
"I couldn't be more pleased with how our team stepped up in each and every event," Coach Brad Peterson
said. "Everything we asked them to do, they did it and then some. Our throwers and jumpers were unbelievable and our distance runners really showed great mental toughness in some tough, hot conditions. We had guys compete with soreness and injury and not complain. Dan Neidlinger concluded his career with the gutsiest performance of his life as he ran on an injured leg that would have kept most anyone else out of competing. This championship is due to a great coaching staff led by Coach Billy Beard in the throws, Cole Davis in the sprints, hurdles and jumps, and Naomi Hightower in the pole vault. Also, we have the best athletic trainer there is in Robin Johnson who spent every second of both days helping out in every way possible."
Individual highlights included the following:
Senior Javier Ceja
scored 28 points in his three events as he won the 10k and won the 5k and was second in the 1500 to teammate Michael Gurley
Senior Nathan Nonhof
scored 24 points total in his three events as he placed 1st
in the pole vault, 2nd
in the long jump, and 3rd
in the triple jump. His long jump of 23-9 was an "A" national standard to add to his "B" standard in the triple jump. He won the pole vault in dramatic fashion as he injured his hamstring going into his final jump. Athletic Trainer Robin Johnson saved the day by wrapping his leg and Nonhof proceeded to clear the winning height.
Junior Michael Gurley
scored 20 points by winning both the steeplechase and the 1500. Both of these victories were considered huge upsets according to heat sheets. His 9:38.11 steeplechase time lowered his own school record by 8 seconds. His 4:01.80 time in the 1500 is a new personal best.
Senior Frank Miles
scored 19 points total in his three events as he won the triple jump, placed 4th
in the long jump, and 5th
in the high jump. His triple jump of 47-3 is an "A" national standard.
Senior Kirt Nichols
scored 17 points total in his three events as he won the discus, placed 4th
in the shot put, and 7th
in the hammer. The discus victory was his 2nd
in a row in the KCAC and he currently sits 6th
in all of NAIA with his discus throw of 166-5.
Senior Quentin Benning
scored 26 points total in his four events as he placed 2nd
in the shot put, second in the javelin, 3rd
in the hammer, and 5th
in the discus. He threw a new school record of 53-05.75 in the shot put and this is the 12th
best throw in all of NAIA.
Sophomore Lewis Taylor
scored 14 points in his events as he placed 2nd
in the 400 hurdles and 3rd
in the 110 hurdles. His time of 54.74 in the 400 hurdles is a new school record and a "B" national standard. His time of 15.40 in the 110 hurdles is a new personal best.
Sophomore Cameron Sprague
scored 10 points in his three events as he placed 4th
in the 10k, 6th
in the 1500, and 7th
in the 5k.
For complete results click here.