RECAP: Tiffin Men, Adams State Women Capture NCAA DII ITF Championship Titles
By Curtis Akey, USTFCCCA
March 11, 2017
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – There was potential for some new teams to take home hardware this weekend at the 2017 NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field Championships, but it was not to be.
Jeremy Croy and his Tiffin’s men’s program won its 2nd-consecutive title, while Adams State and Rock Light‘s women’s team won its 3rd indoor title, and its 2nd in four years on Saturday at the Birmingham CrossPlex. Each team had its work cut out for them throughout the meet, but both were able to wrap up their championships before final relay events on both sides.
Tiffin wrapped things up after Coy Blair won the shot put title, followed by James Ngandu’s 3rd-place finish in the 3000 meters. With just the 4×400 relay remaining, Tiffin had 63 points to Ashland’s 52. Saint Augustine’s finished 3rd with a score of 46, followed by Adams State (41) and Academy of Art (27).
The Adams State Grizzlies’ women’s program didn’t end up winning by more than 10, but heading into the final relay, they had 47 points, which led Chadron State by nine. Grand Valley State finished 2nd overall after a strong outing in the 4×400 relay with 39 points, followed by Chadron State (38), Pittsburgh State (35.83) and West Texas A&M (35).
After two days of pure excitement, the final day of the NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field Championships did not disappoint. There were plenty of repeat champions, as well as new faces that made their way to the top of the podiums. Additionally, three new NCAA Division II records were set.
Three athletes in Academy of Art’s Mobolade Ajomale, Merrimack’s Carly Muscaro and Western State’s Alicjia Konieczek won two event titles on the afternoon. Ajomale posted an early victory in the 60 meters with a time of 6.60 to successfully defend his title in the event, followed by a win in the 200 meters with a finish of 21.05. Muscaro won her 2nd-straight 400 meter championship with an NCAA Division II record time of 51.78 before winning the 200 meters in a time of 23.57. Konieczek picked up the women’s mile title (4:37.42) early in the day before claiming 1st in the women’s 3000 meters (9:23.19).
Blair added to his trophy case, as well, after winning the weight throw a day earlier. On Saturday, the senior posted a mark of 18.91m (62-0½) in the shot put after placing 12th in the event a year ago.
Despite winning it all, Adams State’s women’s team only captured one individual event title (not counting its distance medley relay win). Dianna Johnson ran the 60 meters in 7.34 on Saturday, giving the Grizzlies a much needed 10 points on its way to the championship.
Sioux Falls ended up sweeping the pole vault events as Scott Greenman’s cleared 5.35m (17-6½) to win the title a day after Courtney Crandall won it for the women.
Cedarville’s Carsyn Koch (800 meters), Southwest Baptist’s Natalie O’Keefe (high jump) and Adams State’s Sydney Gidabuday (3000 meters) all repeated as champions in their respective events. Koch set an NCAA Division II indoor record in the 800 meters with a time of 2:05.65. Gidabuday also set a new NCAA Division II indoor record, wrapping up his race with a time of 7:56.88. O’Keefe fended off competitors with a clearance of 1.76m (5-9¼).
Adams State also got an event t
Southern Indiana’s Bastian Grau pulled off arguably the biggest upset of the day, as he took home the title in the mile with a time of 4:05.70. Grau ranked 9th on the Descending Order List heading into the meet, and he dethroned back-to-back champion Oliver Aitchison, who finished in 2nd with a time of 4:06.16.
St. Augustine’s men’s program won a couple of event titles on the day. Shaquille Dill placed 1st in the 800 meters with a time of 1:49.96, while the 4×400 relay team nearly broke a 22-year-old NCAA Division II record – also held by the Falcons – with a time of 3:08.76.
Ashland’s men’s team finished 2nd for the 3rd time, falling just short of its 1st national title. However, the Eagles got a stellar performance from Myles Pringle in the 400 meters, as his time of 46.39 ranks as the 7th-fastest time in NCAA Division II history.
West Texas A&M’s Rellie Kaputin continued her torrid junior season. The native of Papau New Guinea won the triple jump with a new NCAA Division II season-best mark of 13.09m (42-11½). That leap also ranks 10th all-time in the NCAA Division II record books.
Marshawn Scott won the 1st NCAA Division II event title in Limestone history with a 60 hurdle time of 7.92. Minnesota State’s Altoniece Williams (8.37) defeated Pittsburg State’s Courtney Nelson (8.38) in the 60 hurdles by just one one-hundredth of a second.
In the penultimate event on the evening, Johnson C. Smith’s women’s 4×400 relay squad placed 1st with a time of 3:42.05 for the program’s 8th event title, all-time, at the NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field Championships.