Steeple People Dominate Day 2 Of The 2017 NCAA DII Outdoor Championships

Highlighted by new facility records at the IMG Academy, day two of the 2017 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships saw seven event finals that culminated in top-three placings for 24 athletes. Check out the full list below!

3K Steeplechase


Men:
1) Daniel Michalski, JR | Cedarville | 8:44.49
2) Omar Es Salmouny, JR | Lindenwood | 8:46.60
3) Valentin Robert, SR | Cal Baptist | 8:49.85

After entering the race ranked fourth, Michalski shaved almost eight seconds off his PR to win a thrilling race that decimated not only his school record of 8:52.01, but also the IMG Academy's facility record (8:53.29). The junior, who took eighth in the steeplechase at last year's DII outdoor championship, executed a clean, patient strategy that allowed him to tag along toward the front until the final water barrier. That's when Michalski kicked away from Salmouny and Robert, who couldn't respond in time to Michalski's late move. But the Cedarville junior wasn't the only one who recorded a significant PR--Salmouny's time improved his previous best by 10 seconds.

Women:
1) Alicja Konieczek, SO | Western State | 9:55.39
2) Breanna Colbenson, SR | Minnesota-Duluth | 10:02.12
3) Colett Rampf, JR | Saint Leo | 10:04.60

Colbenson ran boldly out in front for the first six laps, taking each barrier in stride. But Konieczek, now a three-time national champion, had her in her crosshairs the entire time--she was sitting on the Minnesota-Duluth senior and waiting for her move. With 700 meters to go, Konieczek swerved around Colbenson and put a seven-second gap between them by the time she reached the finish line in 9:55.39--just a second off of the meet record of 9:54.02. With that victory, the sophomore capped an incredible season that also included NCAA Division II indoor titles in the 3,000m and the mile.


Discus Throw


Men:
​1) Duke Taylor, SR | Malone | 58.78m/192'10"
2) Josh Syrotchen, SR | Harding | 58.02m/190'4"
3) Austin Hogan, SO | Indianapolis | 55.14m/180'11"

Only two of Taylor's throws counted, and he didn't land a single one in finals, but he only needed one to win. After fouling his first, he chucked a bomb that detonated nearly three feet further than the next-closest throw for a gigantic PR (his previous best was 56.62m/185'9") and his first NCAA Division II title. Both Taylor's and Syrotchen's tosses exceeded the facility record of 57.71m/189'4", but a left-to-right crosswind hampered some of the firepower in the ring today; Syrotchen didn't come close to his impressive PR of 60.56m/198'8". After dominating the hammer throw yesterday to lead the team standings after day one, Ashland also managed to scoop nine points in the discus with help from All-Americans Daniel Roberts and Jason Zahn, who took fourth and fifth, respectively. Places third through fifth all landed their best throws within a foot of each other.

Women:
​1) Norma Cunigan, SO | West Texas A&M | 53.92m/176'11"
2) Mariah Garcia, SR | Central Oklahoma | 53.63m/175'11"
3) Mary Hecksel, FR | Grand Valley State | 52.27m/171'6"

With a powerful series of five throws that each exceeded 52 meters, Cunigan topped an incredibly deep field to win her first-ever national title and reset her school record. The sophomore's best mark, 53.92m/176'11", exceeded the next-closest throw by a foot. Garcia, who won the championship last year, responded well with her first throw, but couldn't improve on it with her subsequent attempts. Perhaps more astounding, though, was Hecksel's bronze-medal grab. The freshman entered the meet ranked 21st in the nation, but rose to the occasion and cranked out a lifetime-best throw that obliterated her former PR by a whopping 15 feet.

Heptathlon


1) Emilyn Dearman, SR | Pittsburg State | 5625
2) Kami Norton, JR | Angelo State | 5469
3) Brooke Whitburn, SR | Chico State | 5272

This event closely mirrored the results from this season's national indoor championship, which saw Dearman win and Norton take second. Dearman got off to a hot start by winning the 100m hurdles in 13.51 seconds, and despite also being entered in multiple open events (100m hurdles, 400m hurdles, 4x400m relay), she kept her foot on the gas pedal. In addition to the hurdles, she bested the field in the shot put (12.33m/40'5.5") and the 200m (25.37 seconds). Norton won the long jump (6.06m/19'10.75") and the 800m (2:16.31), and finished runner-up in the hurdles (14.10 seconds) to improve her PR in the event by 60 points.

Decathlon


1) Florian Obst, FR | TAMU-Commerce | 7576
2) Tanner McNutt, JR | Pittsburg State | 7406
3) Blake Seitz, SR | Central Missouri | 7362

Obst, a freshman from Germany, set a new TAMU-Commerce record in the decathlon en route to winning his first NCAA Division II title. Entering day two, Obst led the field, but only by two points. Thanks to strong finishes in the 110m hurdles (second in 15.06 seconds), pole vault (first in a PR of 4.90m/16'.75"), shot put (first, 15m/49'2.5"), and discus (third, 41.40m/135'10"), he pulled away from runner-up McNutt to
beat his score by 570 points. 

Women's High Jump


​1) Marissa McCay, SR | Humboldt State | 1.77m/5'9.75"
2) Ellie Earle-Rouse, FR | Humboldt State | 1.74m/5'8.5"
3) Emilee Iverson, JR | Pittsburg State | 1.74m/5'8.5"

The Lumberjacks earned 18 points by claiming the top two spots today in the women's high jump. McCay's victory marks her first-ever national title. She also competed in the heptathlon, where she grabbed another point for Humboldt State. McCay and Earle-Rouse share the same PR, 1.78m/5'10", but we didn't get to see a showdown at that height today. Academy of Art's Hannah Hensley, who was tied for No. 1 in Division II entering the competition along with McCay and Earle-Rouse, ended up 16th with a height of 1.67m/5'5.75. She competed in the heptathlon alongside Dearman, who also shared top billing in this event, but no-heighted.


Men's Triple Jump


​1) Cervantes Jackson, SO | Albany State | 16.30m/53'5.75"
2) Michael Sandle, JR | Minnesota State | 16.25m/53'3.75"
3) Jumonne Exeter, SO | St. Augustine's | 16.19m/53'1.5"

Just four inches separated first from third in this competition, and that's even more impressive when considering those jumps all exceeded 53 feet. Jackson, who took fifth at last year's outdoor championship and was ranked seventh heading into the meet with a season's-best mark of 15.64m/51'3.75", established a new PR with his winning jump. Sandle's leap set a new Minnesota State record. Donte McDaniel, whose season's-best jump of 16.24m/52'2.5" seeded him second in the championship, ended up with a DNS. 

Check out the full entry list and stay tuned through the weekend for coverage and results.

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