Courtesy: Dale Stelz Photo
Sycamore Men Win Outdoor Championship For Second Straight Year; Women Fourth
Courtesy:ISU Athletics



WICHITA, Kan. - The Indiana State men's track & field team used a dominating performance Sunday to capture their second straight team championship as the 2012 State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Track & Field Outdoor Championships came to a close Sunday in Cessna Stadium on the campus of Wichita State University.


Indiana State won their second straight men's title with 185.5 points with pre-championship favorite Wichita State second (175 points) and Northern Iowa third (158). Southern Illinois, the 2012 Indoor champion, was fifth (127.5) while Illinois State finished sixth (89), Drake seventh (69), and Bradley eighth (eight).


"In every event but the 4x100 relay we did better than our seeding," John McNichols, Indiana State men's track & field coach, said. "I don't think we have had this many champions and this many all-conference performers in my time here at Indiana State. It was just an outstanding effort by a team that is quite unique in that they like to win and will fight you all the way. It is also a great credit to our coaches who had everybody ready to go with many posting their season best efforts."


The Sycamore women finished fourth for the third straight year but it was their strongest showing since a third place finish in 2009. Wichita State won their second straight women's title with 192.5 points. Illinois State finished second (150), Southern Illinois third (135.5) and Indiana State fourth (113). Missouri State, the 2012 Indoor Champion, was fifth with 98 points followed by Northern Iowa (65.5), Drake (43.5), and Bradley (19).


"That was a good fourth place finish," Angela Martin, Indiana State women's track & field coach, said. "The women competed hard and broke the form chart in almost every event as we almost doubled our score from a year ago. The team worked hard and is set up well for next year."


McNichols was named the MVC Outdoor Men's Coach of the Year for the ninth time. Sycamore hurdler Greggmar Swift was named the Most Outstanding Male Track Athlete as he joins Jordan Fife (2006) as the only two Indiana State men to receive that honor at the outdoor championships.


The Sycamore men capitalized on three individual event wins (Greggmar Swift in the 110 hurdles, Justin Baxtron in the 200 meters, and Craig Padgett in the 5,000 meters) and five second place finishes to secure their second straight conference championship.


Padgett won his second championship of the 2012 competition Sunday as he dominated the final two laps of the 5,000 meter run to win with a personal best 14:37.19 which ranks 11th fastest on the Sycamore All-Time list. Padgett also dominated late in Friday's 10,000 meter run to capture his first championship of the competition.


Albaro Escalera followed his second place finish in the 10,000 meter run on Friday with a fourth place finish  in the 5,000 meter run with a personal best time of 14:44.13. Southern Illinois' Neal Anderson was second (14:39.60) and Northern Iowa's Brett Egan third (14:39.88).


Baxtron earned Indiana State's fourth individual championship as he won the finals of the 200 meters less than an hour after finishing a close second in the finals of the 100 meters. Baxtron ran a personal best 21.42 to win the 200 meters over Wichita State's Dylan Hartnett (21.47) and Sycamore teammate Andrew Stull (21.64).


Baxtron now shares the ninth fastest 100 meter time in Indiana State history with a 10.49 finish that was just five-hundredths of a second behind race winner Jarred Herring of Northern Iowa (10.44). The Panthers Derek Kramer was third (10.61).


Swift earned ISU's third individual championship by running the third fastest time in school history to win the 110 meter high hurdles in 13.49. Wichita State's Lawson Montgomery was second (13.67) with the Shockers Todd McKown third (13.71). Sycamore Duane Brown finished seventh in 14.62.


Max Tuttle ran a personal best 52.49 to take second in the 400 meter hurdles with two other Sycamores also scoring points as Ray Skamay finished sixth (53.50) and Arqeil Shaw seventh (54.48). Drake's Jon DeGrave won the event (51.80) with Northern Iowa's Ryan Newtoff third (52.55).


Kevin Piraino ran a personal best 47.73 to finish second in the finals of the 400 meters. Wichita State's Dylan Hartnett won the race (47.49) with Shocker teammate Alex Reed third (47.99).


Drew Gambill placed fifth in the 800 meter final with a time of 1:53.60 and also finished fifth in the 1500 meters in 3:54.17. Jeremiah Vaughan was seventh in the 1500 meters in 3:55.94. Illinois State's Matthew Smoody won the 800 meters (1:51.63) while Southern Illinois' Zach Dahleen won the 1500 meters (3:49.46).


The three men's field events contested Sunday had a big impact on the finals results with the Sycamores scoring points in all three.


Brandon Pounds threw a career best distance of 169-feet-3-inches (51.58 meters) to finish second in the discus with Chris Fields taking sixth with a throw of 154-feet-2-inches (47.00 meters). Northern Iowa's Jordan Williams won the event with a throw of 182-feet-11-inches.


Ernest Rollins, in his final conference competition as a Sycamore, surpassed the 50-foot barrier for the first time in his outdoor triple jump career, going 51-feet-8½-inches (15.76 meters) to finish second. Sycamore Maurice Lyke recovered from the flu to place sixth with a personal best leap of 46-feet-11¼-inches (14.61 meters). Southern Illinois' Doulas Palacious won the event with a leap of 51-feet-9-inches.


Both of ISU's competitors in the pole vault scored points with Tucker Field and Wes Schenck each clearing a personal best height of 16-feet-2¾-inches (4.95 meters). Field was placed sixth and Schenck eighth as each are now tied for 10th best on ISU's all-time men's pole vault list. Southern Illinois' Cody Doerflein won the event by clearing 17-feet-6½-inches.


Both Indiana State relays took third place in their respective events. The 4x100 meter relay team of Devin Price, Piraino, Baxtron, and Stull finished third in 49.99 while the 4x400 meter relay team of Piraino, Tuttle, Skamay, and Shaw ran a season best 3:13.86 in finishing third. Northern Iowa won the 4x100 relay (40.28) and the 4x400 (3:11.24).


The only champion on the women's side came in the day's final event as Stacia Weatherford, Macey Black, Kaci Smith, and Leeann Michl completed dominated the competition and won with a time of 3:40.78.


"We finished off an outstanding meet for the Sycamore women with a big win in the 4x400 relay," Martin said. "These girls ran the race for pride and for themselves. Out placing in the event would not change where the team finished but these four girls were determined to finish as winners and that they did. That spirit was exemplified by the rest of the team throughout the competition."


Weatherford also had two second place finishes on the day as she ran the second fastest 400 meter hurdle time in school history of 57.92 and a school record 13.68 in finishing second in the 100 meter hurdles. The Sycamore junior broke Erica Moore's 2008 record in the 100 meters of 13.88 and came within a heartbeat of breaking Moore's 400 hurdle record of 56.21 that she set in 2010.


Sycamore Brittany Housel was seventh in the 400 hurdles with a time of 1:03.20. Drake's Marissa Smith ran 13.57 to edge out Weatherford in the 100 hurdles while Wichita State's Natalie Morerod ran 57.48 to hold off Weatherford in the 400 hurdles.


Michl ran to a second place finish in the 800 meter finals with a time of 2:07.07 with Kaci Smith posting a personal best time of 2:13.46 in finishing sixth. Wichita State's Danielle Chapman won the event in 2:06.69.


Black was seventh in the finals of the 400 meters with a personal best time of 56.12. Kristy Twitchell finished sixth in the 1500 meters in 3:37.55 with Kacie Klem eighth in 4:38.85 with Jessica Zangmeister sixth in the 5,000 meters with a time of 17:49.33. Illinois State's Sade Sealy won the 400 meters (53.16), Drake's Kirsten Lake the 1500 meters (4:23.75), and Wichita State's Aliphine Tuliamuk the 5,000 meters (16:48.57).


Indiana State also scored a number of points in the two contested field events on the day.


Felisha Johnson posted the fourth best discus throw in Indiana State history of 170-feet-3-inches (51.90 meters) in finishing third in the event with teammate Mary Theisen fifth at 166-feet-1-inch (50.63 meters). Southern Illinois' Jeneva McCall won the event (183-feet-8-inches) while Illinois State's Brittany Smith was second (76-feet-4-inches).


Shalesa Smith soared past 40-feet for the first time in her Sycamore triple jumping career, becoming one of just three Indiana State athletes to surpass that mark. Smith had a leap of 40-feet-6¼-inches (12.35 meters) to place fifth in the triple jump. Only school record holder Lauren Martin (44-feet-4¾-inches in 2009) and second place Yolanda Wright (42-feet-2¾-inches in 2004) have cleared the 40-foot mark in competition before Smith's effort at the MVC Championships. SIU's Malaikah Love won the triple jump (43-feet-2¼-inches).


The Sycamore women also had a good effort by the women in the 4x100 meter relay as Jaquelle Spencer, Black, Carmelia Stewart, and Ja'Liza Prophet ran a season best 46.63 to finish fifth overall. Missouri State won the relay in 44.90.


The 2012 Championship concludes the season for most of the Sycamores but some will advance to the NCAA East Preliminary Round which will be held in two weeks in Jacksonville, Fla.

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