2017 Track and Field
Five champions crowned at HCAC Outdoor Championships
May 1, 2017
ANDERSON, Ind. - The 2017 edition of the HCAC Track and Field Conference Championship hosted by Anderson University saw its share of weather-related delays and postponements but the Bluffton University Beavers kept their focus and composure to bring a quintet of champions back to campus.
Without doubt, the performance of the meet for the men’s team was the win-from-the-slow-heat 4 x 100 meter relay. Despite struggling to connect on handoffs throughout the season and entering the meet with the next to slowest seed time, the foursome of senior Cam Walker (Palmetto, Ga./Newnan), freshman Stanley Williams (Sterling Heights, Mich./Chippewa Valley), sophomore Quincy Salcido (Van Wert) and junior Kyle Knezovich (Utica) cleanly brought the baton home in 42.89 seconds. It wasn’t until the fast heat had run and official results were posted that the Beavers knew they had bested the field by .12 second to the cheers and shouts of the team. The relay personnel provided plenty of other highlights throughout the weekend.
During Friday’s pole vault competition, Knezovich had his back to the wall and was behind on misses when he capitalized on an opportunity to clear 15’ 3” on first attempt to add an outdoor title to the one he won at the indoor championship. Salcido played it cool in Friday’s preliminary round of the 400, advancing to the final with the second fastest time, but he turned up the heat on Saturday to bring home the win in a new school record 48.88. Senior Jack Fisher (Norwalk/St. Paul) ran a tactical strategy in the 1500 meters, laying back in the leading pack through the first 800 meters, moving to second in the third lap before taking control of the field in the final 300 meters to take the win in the equivalent of a sub-60 second closing lap.
Williams made his presence known as well, bringing home three individual podium finishes to complement his efforts in the winning relay. In hotly contested competitions, Williams placed 2nd in both the 100 meters and long jump and equaled the 1992 school record for a 3rd place 21.92 second finish in the 200 meters. Knezovich hung on for 3rd place in the 110 meter hurdles after hard contact with a hurdle in the closing steps and joined Williams, Fisher and Salcido in a 4th place finish in the 4 x 400 meter relay at the conclusion of Saturday’s track events.
The women’s team was not to be denied its share of superlatives. Junior D’Nae Reese (Columbus/Upper Arlington) put on a one-woman tour de force in the field events. She started her podium drive Friday, placing an impressive 2nd in the shot put in just her first time contesting the event this outdoor season. Severe weather interrupted and postponed the discus competition to Saturday where Reese claimed the top step again this year with a dominating 137’ 8” (41.96 meters) new school-record performance. She finished her day in the waning light of the hammer competition where she claimed a solid 3rd.
Sophomore Keturah Warlick (East Point, Mich./Clintondale) put her speed on display, claiming a pair of podium finishes, with a 2md place in the 200 meters and 3rd in the 100. Warlick’s 25.85 over 200 meters establishes a new school record over the 2006 hand-timed 25.8 which converts to 26.04 when the NCAA –approved conversion to electronic timing is applied. Also claiming podium positions were the vaulting duo of junior Willow Thompson (Arlington) and sophomore Sarah Oliver (Lexington) who claimed 2nd and 3rd, respectively.
Also scoring points for their teams were sophomore Jennie Matteson (Guysville/Alexander) and freshman Alexis Cash (Gaines, MI/Lake Fenton) who placed 4th and 5th, respectively, in the 5,000 meter race, Matteson in a PR time. Salcido brought home a PR 22.11 second 5th place in the 200. Senior DiVaunta Spearman (Sandusky/Willard) claimed the 6th place in hammer, while Fisher took 6th in the 800 meters with just a little more than an hour’s recovery from his win in the 1500. The women’s 4 x 100 meter relay, comprised of Warlick, freshmen Brittany Breier (Archbold/Stryker) and Ciana Hostetler (Sugarcreek/Garaway), and Oliver, claimed 8th.
A number of athletes ended the season with their top performances. Freshman Haylee Zigan (Newark/Licking Valley) posted a pair of bests at both 800 and 1500 meters; Hostetler and Breier in the 200; freshman Connor Gulick (St. Louisville/Utica) over the 400 meter hurdles; senior Shawn Campo (Galion) in the 1500; and junior Erick Benge (Monrovia, Ind./Monrovia) in shot put.
“The relay result was something I don’t think anyone was expecting,” said sprint coach Jared Krout. “I don’t want to say I didn’t think it was possible, but it was going to take the right set of circumstances. Our guys came out and executed their exchanges in the first heat and put the pressure on the rest of the competition. A couple teams slipped up in heat two and we came out on top. We talk about the outdoor conference championship all year and the athletes just came out and competed at their highest level. Many of them started to see what they were capable of during indoor this year and that built confidence for the outdoor season. They know they belong among the best in the conference and I think that shift in attitude helped drive some amazing performances.”
Conference team champions have yet to be crowned as the weekend’s lightning and rain postponed two events due to safety concerns. The men’s and women’s javelin competitions and 10,000 meter races will be contested Wednesday, May 3 on the campus of Franklin College. The men’s javelin will start at 3:30 p.m. with the women to follow; the women’s 10,000 meter race will commence at 6 p.m.; the men’s at 7 p.m.