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Dickinson State Wins Third Straight Championship

May 27, 2006
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May 27, 2006

FRESNO, Calif. -  Dickinson State University (N.D.) moved into an elite class without a plethora of elite performances. 

 

The Blue Hawks won just one event Saturday and yet pulled away from the field to win the 55th Annual NAIA Men's Outdoor Track & Field Championship.  The Blue Hawks tallied 102 points to top the 103-team field.  Lindenwood University (Mo.) was second with 89 points while Azusa Pacific University (Calif.) finished third with 77.

 

The title is the third straight for the Blue Hawks, who become only the fifth school in NAIA history to win three consecutive outdoor championships.

 

"I'm sure the uniqueness of what we've done will sink in sometime soon, but we're just excited in the moment," said Dickinson State coach Pete Stanton, who was named the NAIA Outdoor National Coach of the Year.  "The key to all three of our championships was having a wonderful Friday that put us in position to win on Saturday.  We didn't press today, we just performed."

 

Dickinson State's only event victory of the day came in the 400 meters where senior Aaron Cleare fought off a strong head wind down the stretch to register a 47.15, and in the process become only the second person in association history to win 4 400-meter titles.

 

The Blue Hawks picked up somewhat surprisingly significant points with second-place finishes in the steeplechase, discus, 200 meters, and 4x100-meter relay.  In the discus, Ross Walker, who won the shot on Friday, rallied from ninth place with a throw of 167' 7" to finish second to defending champion Floyd Turner of Iowa Wesleyan, who won with a 182' 5".  In the 200, Adrian Griffith, who entered the meet with the fifth best time in the NAIA this year, nonetheless finished second  with a 21.45, trailing only Lindenwood's Michael Rodger, a winner at 21.23.  It was a near similar effort by John Kungu in the steeplechase, who came in with the sixth best time this season, and yet finished second with a 7-second personal record of 9:14.75.

 

"There was a span in which we won the 400 and got seconds in the 200 and discus in just a matter of a few minutes, and that's when I realized that we had taken care of business," said Stanton.

 

Lindenwood, which was the last school to win the NAIA title before Dickinson State embarked on its three-year run, made a mad dash for the title, at one point pulling to within ten points of Dickinson late in the meet.  The Lions won the 4x100-meter relay with a stadium record 40.84.  Sophomore James Jenkins assisted the Lindenwood pursuit with a victory in the triple jump, going 52' 4".

 

Oklahoma Baptist picked up four event wins on the day to finish fourth with 63 points.  The Bison won the 4x400-meter relay (3:11.06).  Individually, Landon Willets took the 1500 meters (3:57.51), Daniel Ellis won the marathon (2:24:07.61) and Leonarde Smith held off a late charge of foes to win the 400-meter hurdles (52.07).

 

Virginia Intermont's David Cheromei was named the Herbert B. Marett Most Outstanding Male Performer of the Meet after he captured an impressive double, easily winning the steeplechase with an 8:43.28  before coming back 4 hours later to win the 5000 meters with a 14:26.82.

 

Click here for complete event results.