While NCAA DI athletes were booking trips to the big dance over the weekend at the East and West preliminary rounds, their Division II counterparts competed at their national championships in Kingsville, Texas, with a dramatic team race on the men’s side and distance dominance across the board punctuating the 2019 edition.
Here are the top highlights from the 2019 NCAA DII Outdoor Track and Field Championships:
Ashland’s Myles Pringle Wins Sixth Straight 400m NCAA Title, Carries Team To Another 1-Point National Title Win
The legendary DII career of Ashland senior Myles Pringle enjoyed a triumphant victory lap in 2019, as the 400m star carried his Eagles’ squad to their first indoor and outdoor national titles, both by just one point.
Earned and Deserved 🏆 pic.twitter.com/oSqGVPx6Uo— Ashland University Eagles (@goashlandeagles) May 26, 2019
Pringle was incredibly busy on Saturday in Kingsville, as he placed seventh in the high jump, won his sixth straight 400m title, took fourth in the 200m and then somehow dragged his body to a 44.72 anchor leg in the 4x400m, the fastest of the race. The Eagles needed every ounce of juice they could squeeze out of their star, as they trailed Angelo State by six points entering the final event.
The pressure was high as Ashland had to finish in the top two in the 4x400m and then hope Angelo placed outside of the top five. With less than two seconds separating the two schools during the regular season, Ashland had every reason to be gnawing at their fingernails. But a season’s best 3:06.12 combined with a lackluster 3:12.13 from Angelo State provided Pringle’s Eagles with exactly the scenario they needed to win. With that a fairytale ending to a DII legend’s career was complete.
WE'RE THE 2019 MEN'S OUTDOOR TRACK & FIELD NATIONAL CHAMPIONS! 🏆 pic.twitter.com/qdDEykeDY4— Ashland University Eagles (@goashlandeagles) May 26, 2019
Pringle wasn’t the only athlete from Ashland to play hero, however. Sophomore Trevor Bassitt won the 400m hurdles and finished second in the 110m hurdles, outperforming his pre-championship ranking in both to tally 18 points. Bassitt also ran the second leg on the 4x400m relay, therefore attributing 20 points to the Eagles' championship.
T-BASS is a NATIONAL CHAMPION! He earned the title with a career best 51.39! 🥇 pic.twitter.com/b6sEZG3fw2— Ashland University Eagles (@goashlandeagles) May 26, 2019
Double-Double For Alaska-Anchorage’s Caroline Kurgat In 10k/5k, GVSU’s Panning Sweeps As Well
Two other DII legends ended their NCAA careers in style with huge weekends in the distance events, as Alaska-Anchorage senior Caroline Kurgat swept the 10,000m and 5,000m for the second consecutive year while Grand Valley State’s senior Zach Panning won both on the men’s side as well.
For Kurgat, who smashed the DII 10k record earlier in the season with a scintillating 32:08, the twin titles gave her seven for her career and four in 2019 alone. She was never challenged in either distance this weekend, winning the 10k by 46 seconds in 36:34 and the 5k by a comfortable eight second margin in 17:10.
NATIONAL CHAMPION!!— UAA XC/TF (@UAAXCTF) May 26, 2019
Caroline Kurgat wins the 5,000 (17:10.10) for her SEVENTH career national title!!
Kurgat becomes only the third woman in D2 to win the 5K & 10K in back-to-back years. pic.twitter.com/vQ1IoCp2zR
Panning was even more dominant on the men’s side, as he broke away early in both races to win by 47 seconds in the 10k and 14 seconds in the 5k, the latter marking his second straight title for the distance.
Zach Panning!!!!! 🐐🐐🐐 pic.twitter.com/5kIJIzyobu— GVSU Track and Field (@GVSU_XC_TF) May 26, 2019
The 10k-- won in 30:12-- had to feel extra special for the senior, as with it he avenged his defeat to CSU-Pueblo’s Marcelo Laguera from last December’s cross country championships. Laguera was second in 30:59.
Lincoln (Mo.) Women Score 64 Points In The Sprints, Win 14th DII Outdoor Title
On the back of a huge weekend for their sprinters, the Lincoln (Mo.) women won their second straight DII outdoor crown and their record 14th overall. More impressive is that the Blue Tigers have won all their titles this century, claiming top honors at the outdoor meet at an 82% (14 of 17) clip since winning their first in 2003.
Went to Sleep Champions.— Lincoln Athletics (@GoBlueTigers) May 26, 2019
Woke Up Champions.
Back to Back.
This Is Lincoln.
This Is For Jefferson City. pic.twitter.com/EwtlOx2MUo
The majority of Lincoln’s heavy-lifting was done by three sprint superstars-- Rene Medley, Kissi-Ann Brown and Renea Ambersley-- with the trio combining for 41 points in their individual events alone. Medley won the 100m (11.20) and 200m (23.30w) while Brown (53.62) and Ambersley (54.60) went 1-2 in the 400m. Brown notched a sixth place finish in the 400m hurdles for good measure.
The three women played big roles in their champion relay teams as well, with Medley and Ambersley running in both.
The victory surely felt particularly sweet for the program as their hometown of Jefferson City, Missouri, was ravaged by a 160mph tornado on Wednesday evening.
14th Overall National Championship.— Lincoln Athletics (@GoBlueTigers) May 26, 2019
Back to Back National Championships.
This Is Lincoln.
This Is For Jefferson City. pic.twitter.com/SqDKDfOjOG
800m Stars Thomas Staines, Skylyn Webb Continue Their Dominance
It was more dominance for a pair of half-milers from the state of Colorado, as Thomas Staines (CSU-Pueblo) and Skylyn Webb (UC-Colorado Springs) each repeated as outdoor 800m champs on Saturday.
The 1:45 man Staines, just a junior, won his fourth consecutive DII title between indoor and outdoor in 1:50.03. The Brit was the only man to dip under 56 seconds in the final lap with a 55.98 closer.
The senior Webb, whose 2:02.47 PB is second-best in DII history, won by going straight to the front and never relinquishing her lead to collect her third straight title dating back to last spring in 2:06.96.
Congratulations to back-to-back NCAA DII Outdoor Women's 800m National Champion Skylyn Webb who takes 1st with a time of 2:06.96! Webb sweeps the women's 800m for the 2018-19 season, as she also was crowned national champion during the indoor season! #ClawsOut #GoMountainLions pic.twitter.com/DgBHnPrrZL— UCCS Athletics (@GoMountainLions) May 26, 2019