By Rudy Roediger, Media Coordinator
GENEVA, Ohio - (Team Scores) (Individual Results) Azusa Pacific (Calif.) captured its first women's national title since 2004, while Wayland Baptist (Texas) was crowned the men's champion at the NAIA Indoor Track & Field National Championships at the Spire Institute on Saturday. Wayland Baptist accomplished the most dominating team performance since its last title in 1989.
A dominating performance in the women's distance races helped propel the Cougars to a tight women's team championship by less than a point. APU squeezed out a 108-to-107.5 team result. Wayland Baptist used a balanced team effort to secure a 38-point margin over the 2011 champion, Shorter (Ga.) for the men's title. The point difference is the most in championship history in 23 years.
Azusa placed four in the top seven of the women's 5000-meter run to put pressure on Oklahoma Baptist for the team championship. In that race, Lauren Jimison earned 10 points for her first-place finish, while Kristie Sikma, Sarah Higgens, and Melissa Telon combined for another 10 points as they finished fourth, sixth, and seventh, respectively.
Oklahoma Baptist had its chances to repeat for the third-straight year heading into the grueling distance medley relay. The Bison needed to finish no worse than sixth in the DMR to keep their chances alive. However, they slipped to second in the team standings, despite winning the final event of the day with a meet record 3:39.83 in the 4x400-meter relay.
Azusa Pacific's Victoria Martinez ran 6,200 meters to win the Most Valuable Performer. The 5-foot-5 senior from Apple Valley, Calif., won the 3,000-meter run, one mile run, and anchored the women's distance medley champion to secure the individual title. The MVP, based on total points scored in a national championship meet, went back to California for the first time since Natasha Miller of Biola won it in back-to-back years ('09, '10).
"A lot of the energy and momentum came from the girls yesterday," said Martinez. "They did fantastic; they gave me the confidence that I could do something too. After that it just started rolling to a perfect day."
Oklahoma Baptist's Jura Levy secured the women's Most Outstanding Performer by winning the 60-meter dash championship with a mark of 7.32. That time was close to the record set by Kimberly Smith of Wayland Baptist's 2010 best of 7.20. Oklahoma Baptist's Verone Chambers finished third while fellow OBU Stacy Warrior finished sixth.
"All around we did a great performance," Levy said. "We lose by point twos, so we are disappointed but we are still champions."
In the 60-meter hurdles, Breanna Leslie of Azusa blazed down the track to capture the women's title just shy of the national championship record. Her 8.47 time missed on Crystal Bardge of Embry-Riddle's mark by .07. That record was set last year at the Spire Institute.
Jerry-Lee Davis helped Wayland Baptist to their first men's team championship since 1989. The senior from Bridgetown, Barbados, won the 400-meter dash edging out Shorter's Randall Dameron and Siena Heights (Mich.) Doug Dawson. The three sprinters finished within .11. Davis secured the championship with a dash of 47.14.
Freshman Dewayne Booker edged out Morningside's (Iowa) Monte Larsen in the 600-meter run. For the Wayland Baptist first year man, his 1:19.15 clocking came in just out of the reach of Larsen who ran 1:19.34.
Jarrod Morris joined his Pioneer teammates as national champions by winning another close race. Morris used a photo finish to squeak out the 800-meter run by a .02 edge over Central Methodist's (Mo.) Lucas Manring. Morris continued the stellar team performance for WBU with a 1:50.14 mark.
Not to be outdone by his Wayland Baptist teammates, Edward Taragon won the 5,000-meter run with a time of 14:30.37 edging past Evans Kirwa of Embry-Riddle (Fla.) by .05 seconds.
Durawn Howard, Lorenzo Dolphus, Gregory Turner, and Jerry-Lee Davis wrapped up Wayland's dominating team effort nearly capturing the 4x400 relay championship record. The quartet blew the field away with a time of 3:09.6 just missing St. Gregory's (Okla.) 2007 record. That year Thornton, McCaskill, Jones, and Hughes set the mark at 3:09.4.
Wayland junior Edward Taragon took home the 5,000-meter run title with a time of 14:30.37 edging out Evans Kirwa of Embry-Riddle (14:31.22) and Oscar Ogwaro of Shorter (14:31.76).
In the field events finals on Saturday, Milika Tuivanuavou of Fresno Pacific (Calif.) captured the women's shot put with a toss of 48 feet, two and a half inches, while Christopher Adams of Northwood (Texas) won the men's shot put with a throw of 18.71 meters.
Eastern Oregon's Robbie Haynie won the men's pole vault when he cleared the bar at 16 feet, 10 and three quarter inches. For Haynie, it marked his second-straight pole vault championship and he also added to his stellar 2012 championship where he won the men's heptathlon in record breaking fashion and finished third in the high jump. Haynie scored 26 of Eastern Oregon's 34.3571 points to lead the team to a seventh-place finish. Overall, the Nampa, Idaho, native won the men's heptathlon with a championship record 5,473 points. Haynie's point total is currently the ninth best of any collegian. He earned that record by breaking the heptathlon pole vault record with a 17 feet, seven inch mark and set the heptathlon high jump record with a seven feet, and one quarter inch leap.
Erinn Shaughnessy and Evan Shimanek of Oklahoma Baptist took the top two spots in the women's pole vault with identical vaults of 12 feet, three and a half inches.
Ethan Dejongh of Fresno Pacific (Calif.) followed in the footsteps of fellow Sunbird Eugene Vollmer to win the program's second-straight men's triple jump crown with a leap of 51 feet in just his second of six jumps. Vollmer finished second as Fresno took the top two spots and had Josiah Ford finish just out of the scoring.
After taking the women's shot put, Fresno Pacific's (Calif.) Milika Tuivanuavou finished second in the women's triple jump just under two inches off Shorter (Ga.) Tamala Daley's 39 feet, nine and three quarter inch jump.
In addition, Rohan Thompson won his first Men's Coach of the Year honor for Wayland Baptist while the Women's Coach of the Year was awarded to Azusa Pacific's Mike Barnett as his team won its first indoor championship since winning back-to-back titles in 2003 and 2004.
Thompson's squad scored the most points (108) by a team since 1995 when Lubbock Christian scored 108, and their 36 point-margin of victory was the most since Wayland last won the title in 1989. That year, WBU scored 102 points to Azusa Pacific's 59.3.
Most Valuable Performer - Male: Robbie Haynie, Eastern Oregon
Most Outstanding Performer - Male: Gabe Wickham, Hastings (Neb.)
Most Valuable Performer - Female: Victoria Martinez, Azusa Pacific (Calif.)
Most Outstanding Performer - Female: Jura Levy, Oklahoma Baptist
National Event Records Broken During the Championship
Men's Heptathlon: Robbie Haynie, Eastern Oregon, 5,473 points
Men's Heptathlon Pole Vault: Robbie Haynie, Eastern Oregon, 17' 7"
Men's Heptathlon High Jump: Robbie Haynie, Eastern Oregon, 7' 1/4"
Men's Weight Throw: Gabe Wickham, Hastings, 69' 11"
Women's 200-meter Dash: Jura Levy, Oklahoma Baptist, 23.03
Women's 4x400-meter Relay: Oklahoma Baptist (Stacy Warrior, Nikita Tracey, Jura Levy, Verone Chambers), 3:39.83