A few were lucky enough to see the championships in the person. If you were like me, you had to witness the championships by crowding around a computer screen and praying that your internet connection held up. Either way, you got to witness some great performances. I am going to review what I felt were some exciting races. Feel free to discuss the championships and further speculate what this means for the outdoor season.
Adams State’s men took the team title garnering 65 points in just distance events and scoring 89 overall. St. Augustine’s sprinters and jumpers were second with 72 points followed by Abilene Christian with 52 points. Adams State scored first with the DMR with a 9:53.33. Aaron Braun came from third place with a 4:06.17 to lead his team to the title. Missouri Southern was not far behind in a 9:54.97 and they were followed by Metro State (9:55.67) that had Anthony Luna run the 400 meter leg. Adams State continued to roll taking 1st-5th in the mile, led by Aaron Braun who ran a 4:07.44 to narrowly hold off teammate, Ryan McNiff 4:07.47.
St. Augustine’s Josh Scott decided to add some points of his own setting a meet record in the 200 meter (20.91) and in the 400 meter (46.05). The other flat sprint final was won by Lincoln’s Kimour Bruce in a devil of time of 6.66. Adams State could not win all the distance events, Minnesota State Mankato’s Denise Mokayo won the 800 meters in 1:51.55 over Queen’s Nelson Mwangi (1:51.72) and Adams State’s Andrew Graham (1:51.74).
Adams State decided to score like a cross country meet (1,2, 4, 5, 6, 7) led by senior Brian Medigovich (14:28.46). Aaron Braun was second in 14:31.37. Abilene Christian’s Amos Sang took out the race and led until the last mile. He finished third in 14:31.43. Ashland’s Kurt Roberts won the shot put in the meet record 64-11.5. The 4x400 meters was won by St. Augustine’s in 3:11.80.
Lincoln took home the women’s title with 56 points. Ashland and Grand Valley State both scored 47 points followed by Adams State with 38 points. The women’s DMR was just as or more exciting than the men’s race. Shippensburg had pulled into the lead handing off to Neely Spence and it seemed that the much anticipated match-up between Seattle Pacific’s Jessica Pixler and Spence would not be. Pixler came from fourth place to track down Spence to take the title. Pixler ran a split of 4:41.36. The next day, Pixler returned to win her fourth indoor mile title with a time of 4:46.42.
In sprint action, Lincoln’s Semoy Hackett set meet records in the 60 meters (7.24) and in the 200 meters (23.32). Adams State’s Indira Spence set a meet record in the 60 hurdles with a time of 8:05. In an event that is becoming more like a sprint, Nebraska-Omaha’s Anja Puc won the 800 meters in a time of 2:07.14 followed by Grand Valley’s Chanelle Caldwell (2:08.87).
Many expected the women’s 5k to be a duel between Neely Spence and Queen’s Tanya Zeferjahn but the race went out fairly slow and stayed that way.
“I was pretty surprised to see us come through the first mile so slowly--it was at least 5:40. After that I expected the race to break up quickly but it never really did, and as a result there was a ton of elbowing and jostling around even right up until a lap to go” said Queen’s Megan Nedlo.
This slow pace was due to a number of factors. “The pace was really slow, but we all let that happen, especially me. When I took the lead, I was afraid to go much faster because of the bad experience I had with the altitude at US Indoor Nationals 2 weeks earlier” said Zeferjahn. The pace did not pick until the last few laps. “I was expecting a slow race, but I thought the kick would have come sooner. I should have gone sooner. I don't know what I was waiting for” commented Zeferjahn.
Neely Spence outkicked Zeferjahn for the win in 17:19.98. Zeferjahn finished in 17:21.42. Mansfield’s Brenae Edwards was third in 17:25.48. Lincoln took the 4x400 meter title in 3:40.98.
What does this all mean for the outdoor season? Will Adams State be able to pull off the Triple Crown (XC, Indoor and Outdoor title)? Will we see a race between Spence, Pixler and Zeferjahn? We can only watch and see.