Championships Final Day Recap
GENEVA, Ohio – (complete results) Shorter University (Ga.) captured its first men’s national title while Oklahoma Baptist was crowned the women’s champion for the second consecutive year on the final day of competition at the NAIA Indoor Track & Field National Championships in the GaREAT Sports Complex on Saturday.
After only one individual champion, the Hawks scored 14 big points in the final three events of the competition to finish a thrilling day of competition with 44 points, three points ahead of runner-up Wayland Baptist’s (Texas), 41 points. On the women’s side Oklahoma Baptist successfully defended its national championship with a dominating effort from 10 athletes. The Lady Bison recorded 75 points, 17 points ahead of runner-up, Simon Fraser’s (British Columbia), 58 points.
Shorter sophomore Oscar Ogwaro took home the 5,000-meter run title with a time of 14:45.87 edging out Geoffrey Njonjo of Oklahoma Christian (14:46.16).
With one event to go, the Hawks had 40 points and clung to a two-point advantage over Hastings (Neb.), for the team lead. The favorite to challenge for the 4x400 meter relay, Wayland Baptist (Texas), lurked five points back.
The Hawks' 4x400 meter relay team had not qualified for the national meet until the final regular season competition, two weeks before the NAIA National Championships -- and entered the final not really knowing what to expect.
As Wayland Baptist crossed the line in third to pocket six points that would have given them the outright lead over Shorter, until the Hawks' squad of Randall Dameron, Nick Dodson, Terence Scruggs and Nigel Talton finished directly behind Wayland in a time of 3:15.76 to score four points and send Shorter's contingent into a frenzy.
Hastings placed third with 38 points and Oklahoma Christian (34) and Asuza Pacific (34) rounded out the top five team finishers.
“It’s a tribute to our athletes and the coaching staff,” Shorter head coach Scott Byrd said. “Everyone worked around the clock with a goal to put yourself in contention to win it all. “There are so many good teams in the field. We looked at the perennial powers like Azusa Pacific, Wayland Baptist, and Oklahoma Baptist to name just a few, and looked to emulate what they do.”
A projected favorite in the 200 meter dash and OBU’s 4x400 meter relay anchor, Gayon Evans came up lame after the 60 meter dash. The setback didn’t prevent a Lady Bison squad of 17 athletes from repeating as the squad stepped up. In the 600 meter run, Nikita Tracey, Yesenia Avila, and Sarah Patterson went two-three-four to give OBU 18 points in the event. Whereas Verone Chambers won the 400 meter dash with fellow teammate Stacy Warrior finishing in second.
“We have a strong team, everyone stepped up today.” The women’s Outstanding Performer Verone Chambers stated. “It’s always a goal of every athlete to be Outstanding Performer, but when you have such a great teammate go down, I knew it was going to be very difficult for everyone, so I just worked very hard to help the team. I am just so happy.”
“I am so proud of the team, they worked so hard today.” OBU’s head coach Ford Mastin said. “If you would have told me we would win without Gayon (Evans) scoring a single point, I never would have believed you. Whenever you have so many girls contribute to the team’s success it’s a great accomplishment.”
The 3000 meter race walk men’s championship was captured by Concordia’s (Neb.) Chris Tegtmeir with a championship record time of 12:15.95 with the women's championship being defended by Jessica Ching of Lindenwood (Mo.) with a time of 14:12.05.
In the 60 meter hurdles Crystal Bardge of Embry-Riddle (Fla.) blazed down the track to capture the women’s title with a national championship record time of 8.34. On the men’s side, Edward Stewart of Central Methodist (Mo.) posted a facility record time of 7.96 to capture the title.
In the sprints, freshman Anika Jno Baptiste of Florida Memorial earned the women's 60-meter dash title as she posted a winning time of 7.49 seconds. Jeffrey Henderson a fellow freshman from Florida Memorial took the men’s championship in 6.73 seconds.
Verone Chambers of Oklahoma Baptist took the women’s 200 meter championship in a time of 24.03 while Brijesh Lawrence of Doane (Neb.) won the men’s 200 meter dash in 21.20 seconds. Colin Koth of Sioux Falls (S.D.) captured the men’s 400 meter dash with a time of 47.33. Verone Chambers kept her pace winning the women’s 400 meter championship with a time of 54.83.
Brianna Kane of Simon Fraser (British Columbia) earned the women’s 600 meter title with a time of 1:32.8 while Langston’s Mario McCottrell won the men’s championship with a time of 1:18.79. In the 800 meter finals Oklahoma Christian’s Silas Kisorio repeated as champion on the men’s side with a time of 1:52.10 while Helen Crofts of Simon Fraser (British Columbia) repeated in the women’s 800 crown with a facility record time of 2:04.94.
In 1000 meter action, Jessica Smith of Simon Fraser (British Columbia) won the title in a time of 2:51.33 while Sam Vazquez of Embry-Riddle (Fla.) captured the men’s championship with a time of 1:52.10. The 3000 meter men’s championship was captured by Shorter (Ga.), freshman Paul Chelimo in a time of 8:28.31 with the women’s title going to Eastern Oregon’s Karlee Coffey with a time of 9:55.36.
Grand View (Iowa) junior Obsie Birru emerged as the victor in the women’s 5000 meter final in a time of 16:51.67 while Shorter’s (Ga.) Oscar Ogwaro won the men’s 500 in a facility record time of 14:23.98.
In the men’s one mile final, Silas Kisorio of Oklahoma Baptist repeated as champion with a time of 4:11.75. Azusa Pacific’s (Calif.), Victoria Martinez recorded a time of 4:53.01 for the women’s crown.
In the field events finals on Saturday, Celia M’Boua of Lindenwood (Mo.) captured the women’s triple jump crown with a leap of 42’ 5 ¼” while Fresno Pacific’s (Calif.) won the men’s title with a facility record 51’ 3” jump. Eastern Oregon’s Robbie Haynie won the men’s pole vault with 16’ 8 ¾” while Brigitte Gross of Sioux Falls (S.D.) won the women’s title with a 13’ 2 ½” vault. Nick Robinson of Concordia (Calif.) made a 61’ 7 ¾” toss to win the men’s shot put while Concordia’s (Ore.) Kayla Xavier took the women’s title with a throw of 49’ ¾”. With just two jumps out of his allowed six, Fresno Pacific’s (Calif.) Eugene Vollmer won the men’s triple jump crown in 51’ 3” while Lindenwood (Mo.) Celia M’Boua converted her third jump of 42’ 5 ¼” to capture the women’s title. In the women’s high jump Natasha Miller of Biola (Calif.) defended her title with a jump of 5’ 7 ¾” while Ben Zuch of Midland (Neb.) won the men’s with a jump of 7’ ½”.
In the relays, Shorter (Ga.) took the distance relay national title just edging out Oklahoma Christian by .29 seconds with a time of 9:58.15. The women’s DMR title went to Simon Fraser (British Columbia) with a time of 11:44.83 just surpassing Azusa Pacific’s (Calif.) team with 11:45.40. In the final women’s event of the day, Oklahoma Baptist won the 4x400 meter relay in a time of 3:44.16 while two Oklahoma teams battled out in the men’s 4x400 breaking the facility record. At the line Oklahoma City crossed the line with a time of 3:10.07 to win the championship just fractions ahead of Oklahoma Baptist who crossed with a time of 3:10.66.
The Most Valuable Performer Award, given to one male and one female athlete based on total points scored in national meet competition. For her contributions, Verone Chambers of Oklahoma Baptist was named the women’s Most Valuable Performer. Chambers accounted for 30 1/2 of OBU’s 75 points to lead her team to back-to-back championships. For the meet, the junior from Claredon, Jamaica won the 200 and 400 meter dashes and was a member of the Lady Bison 4x400 meter relay championship. She also finished second in the 60 meter hurdles. Silas Kisario of Oklahoma Christian was named the men’s Most Valuable Performer. The Eldoret, Kenya native recorded 24 of Eagles 34 points to lead the team to a fourth place finsh. For the meet, Kisario won the 800 meter and one mile runs and anchored OCU’s second place medley relay team.
“It was disappointing not to score the triple today.” Silas Kisario commented. “We had a great team in the DMR, but Shorter edged us out at the line. I am now looking forward to outdoor and hope we can perform better there.”
The Outstanding Performer awards went to a pair of multi event champions. Biola’s (Calif.), Natasha Miller was named the women’s Outstanding Performer after two years as the Most Valuable Performer. Miller scored 30 ½ of Biola’s 40 points to lead the team to their second consecutive fourth place finish. For the meet, Miller won the pentathlon with a record setting score of 4,032 points, and had a first place finish in the high jump, a second in the 60 meter hurdles, third in the long jump, and ran the second leg in Biola’s fifth place women’s distance medley relay. The senior from Abbotsford, British Columbia, competed in nine events through the three day competition.
“I believe God gives us all a gift, and my gift has been track. Biola’s Natasha Miller said. “We each must use our gift to the best of our abilities, so I keep working hard to improve each and every day.”
Eastern Oregon’s Robbie Haynie was named the Men’s Outstanding Performer. Haynie scored 20 of Eastern Oregon’s 22 points to lead the team to an 11th place finish. For the meet the Mesa, Ariz. native won the men’s pole vault with a 16’ 8 ¾” vault and the men’s heptathlon with a score of 5,473. During the heptathlon, Haynie recorded a heptathlon record vault of 16’ 10 ¾”.
In addition, Scott Byrd won his first Men’s Coach of the Year honor for Shorter University (Ga.) while the Women’s Coach of the Year was awarded to Oklahoma Baptist’s Ford Mastin for the second consecutive year.