BIRMINGHAM, Alabama—Saint Martin’s Mikel Smith (above/photo by Loren Orr, GNAC) added the indoor high jump title to the championship he won in the 2016 outdoor season Friday as day 2 of the NCAA Division II championships concluded at the Birmingham Crossplex.
Smith opened up the competition with two straight first attempt clearances at 6-10.75 (2.10m) and 7-1 (2.16m) before passing at 7-2.25 (2.19m).
Meanwhile, the two other jumpers remaining in the competition, Isaiah Kyle of Wingate, and Hunter Weeks of Grand Valley State battled it out at 7-2.25 (2.19m), with Kyle taking the lead with a clutch third attempt make at that height, while Weeks missed all three attempts.
Knowing he needed to top his personal best and GNAC conference record of 7-3 (2.21m) that he set at the conference championship meet three weeks ago to even win the national title, Smith did so in dramatic fashion, clearing 7-3.25 (2.22m) on his third and final attempt.
After winning, he took three shots at 7-6.5 (2.30m), one centimeter above the meet record of 7-6, jus to see what that height looked like.
SMU head coach Jim Brewer said that Mikel had a plan of taking six jumps to win the championship.
Brewer said “Mikel was a little nervous going into the meet but once it got started he told himself ‘I got this’. As always he represented himself and Saint Martin’s very well. This was truly a great day for Saint Martin’s”
In the men’s heptathlon, Central Washington’s Kodiak Landis finished third with a final two-day score of 5382 points, as he started the day with a 8.77 performance in the 60 hurdles, then followed it up with a 15-3 (4.65m) clearance in the pole vault, and ran 2:48.36 in the 1000.
Shakiel Chattoo of Azusa Pacific won the heptathlon with a final score of 5472, with teammate Corey Reid second at 5382, 40 points ahead of Landis.
Landis’ teammate McKenna Emmert finished in a tie for fourth in the women’s pole vault, clearing a personal best of 12-10.25 (3.92m). Western Washington’s Anna Paraadee also cleared the same height, but finished seventh based on misses at lower heights.
The Seattle Pacific women’s distance medley relay team of Sarah Macdonald, Lani Taylor, Chynna Phan, and Mary Charleson finished eighth to give the Falcons the final spot on the podium and a First Team All-America honors, running 11:36.02, as Adams State won in a meet record 11:15.28.
In the men’s triple jump, Central Washington’s Luke Plummer finished 13th with a best of 48-9.5 (14.87m), as Michael Sandle of Minnesota State won with a best of 52-10.25 (16.11m).
Central’s Mariyah Vongsaveng finished second in her semifinal of the 60 hurdles in a time of 8.57, but did not advance to Saturday’s final.
The only Washington athletes remaining are Saint Martin’s Shannon Porter, as the Vancouver native competes in the 3000, along with her sister Georgia, who runs for Western State in Colorado.
In College Station, Texas, Colbert native John Dressel (left/photo by Paul Merca) of the University of Colorado finished fourth in the men’s 5000 at the NCAA Division I championships Friday, hosted by Texas A&M at the Gilliam Indoor Facility.
Dressel ran 13:47.84, as Oregon’s Edward Cheserek won his 16th career NCAA title, taking the victory in 13:41.20.
Washington’s Colby Gilbert, who was one of the favorites, and was in the lead group for the first 4000 meters, finished a disappointing 15th, in a time of 14:20.58.
Olympia native Brooke Feldmeier of Oregon ran an impressive 800 meter leg of 2:04 to keep the Ducks in contention in the women’s distance medley relay, before finishing third in an exciting finish, as Colorado came from behind to nose out Stanford and Oregon. The Buffaloes nosed out the Cardinal 11:00.34 to 11:00.36, with Oregon third at 11:00.68.
Washington’s Chase Smith, appearing in his first NCAA championship meet, finished in a tie for 11th in the pole vault with a best of 17-6.5 (5.35m), as Chris Nilsen of South Dakota won with a clearance of 18-8.25 (5.70m).
In semi-final action, Federal Way native Hannah Cunliffe of the University of Oregon was the top qualifier in the women’s 60 meter dash running 7.13 to win her heat over teammate Deajah Stevens, who ran 7.17.
Cunliffe had the second fastest time of the day in the women’s 200, running 22.74 to win her heat.
Washington’s Amy-Eloise Neale ran the second fastest time in the semis of the mile, as she ran 4:35.38 to take second and easily advance to Saturday’s finals.
Tacoma native Marcus Chambers was nosed out of Saturday’s mens’ 200 meter final by 2/1000ths of a second as he ran 20.83 (20.827) to finish third in heat 4. Maxwell Willis of Baylor earned the eight and final spot to Saturday’s two-section final, running 20.83 (20.825) to take second in heat 2.
Saturday, Cunliffe and Neale return to action in their respective events. In addition, Washington’s Liz Quick competes in the finals of the women’s pole vault, and the Huskies’ Gilbert will run in the 3000, where he enters the meet as the national leader.
NOTE: The NCAA, GNAC and the sports information offices of the University of Washington, Central Washington University, Saint Martin’s and Seattle Pacific contributed to this report.