Kyle Steinhauser has never been one to take a shortcut.
He's listed as a senior on the AU track and field roster, but he's really more than that. Steinhauser took graduate classes this year because he already had earned his undegraduate degree. In the fall, he trained, took graduate classes and worked on the side as a statistician and clock operator for the sports information department.
Every year he's been in the track and field program, he's taken a step forward. He's never been flashy and he rations his words, but he's as solid as a cinder block. Friday (May 23) at Grand Valley State at the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, all of those long hours paid off in a big way.
Steinhauser won the first national championship of his career, taking first place in the discus. His winning throw measured 189-5. Findlay's Justin Welch was second with a mark of 187-1. This is AU's first national championship of the outdoor meet. After two days of this event the Eagles have collected eight All-America honors.
Heading into Saturday, the final day of the championships, the men are sitting in third place with 22 points. The AU men are ranked third in the country. Chico State leads the field with 31 points and Adams State is second with 25 points. Findlay is fourth with 18 points.
Now, a word of caution. Saturday is a day full of finals and in the sprints, St. Augustine's, the nation's top-ranked team, is lurking. That track and field power usually makes a push on the final day. The Eagles and every other team will have to brace themselves for that.
The AU women are ranked fifth in the nation and they are sixth in the standings with 19 points. The host school, Grand Valley State, is in first place with 34 points. New Mexico Highlands is in second place with 21 points and Pittsburg State is third with 21 points.
In addition to Steinhauser, the Eagles got a second All-America award in the discus. That went to Chris Powell, who was seventh at 176-7. AU throwers have received seven All-America citations so far this weekend.
In the heptathlon, senior Macy Caldwell finished third with 5118 points. She began the day in second place. The national championship went to Salcia Slack of New Mexico Highlands with 5714 points.
In the preliminaries of the 110 hurdles, Elijha Owens recorded the day's best time - 13.95. Junior Drew Windle advanced to the finals of the 800 with a time of 1:51.36. That was the eighth best time of the day. Windle is the defending national champion in the race. He won his second consecutive indoor crown in the 800 in March.
The men's 1600 relay advanced to Saturday's finals with a time of 3:11.51. The AU foursome included Cory Lamar, Brandon Freeman, Windle and Jacob Cook. Johnson C. Smith had the best time on Friday. That school's quartet finished in 3:09.22.