Two National Titles And Another Trip To The Podium For AU

Brian Baum (5) at 2014 nationals.
Photo by: Kyle Terwillegar/USTFCCCA
Brian Baum (5) at 2014 nationals. Photo by: Kyle Terwillegar/USTFCCCA

This isn't going out with a bang. This is going out with a sonic boom.

Saturday (May 24), on the final day of the 2014 NCAA Division II outdoor track and field championships, the AU track and field program won two national championships, posted a runner-up finish and added a pair of third place finishes.

The AU men's team, after finishing as the national runner-up outdoors a year ago, was third this year, which means it is a "podium team," again. The AU women were not far behind - they finished fifth in the final team standings.

Entering this meet at Grand Valley State, the AU men were ranked third and the women were ranked fifth.

To no one's surprise, St. Augustine's won the men's national title with 112 points. Adams State was second with 67 points and the Eagles were next with 53 points.

Lincoln won the women's national crown with 64 points. Johnson C. Smith was second with 59 points and Grand Valley State was third with 53 points. Adams State barely held off the Eagles for fourth place. The Colorado school had 39 points and AU had 38 points.

Junior Drew Windle won the national championship in the 800. He came across the finish line in 1:48.32. Western State's Robin Butler was second in 1:48.50.

Windle has won four national championships in the 800, two indoors and two outdoors. He has five national championships in his career.

AU's other national champion on Saturday was Jamie Sindelar in the women's shot put. This is the first national title of her career. Sindelar came into the event as the favorite and she lived up to the advance billing. Last week, AU head coach Jud Logan talked about how Sindelar seemed to be immune to pressure. She proved that on Saturday. She won with a mark of 54-0. Sara Wells of Wayne State (Neb) was second with a throw of 49-9.75.

The Eagles got more points in the event thanks to Jessica Bridenthal. She was sixth with a throw of 48-7.25.

Ashland's second place finish came in the men's 1500. Brian Baum completed the race in 3:46.91. The only time better than that came from Chase Rathke of Tarleton State. He won the national championship in 3:45.60.

In the men's 110 hurdles, junior Elijha Owens finished third in 13.98. Ty'reak Murray of St. Augustine's won in 13.89 and Minnesota State's Myles Hunter nipped Owens for second place with a time of 13.96.

As he has been all season, Owens was a major point producer for AU at this meet. He scored in three races on Saturday. He was seventh in the 400 hurdles. His time there was 52.00. The junior, who is the 2014 GLIAC outdoor track athlete of the year, was on the men's 1600 meter relay that was fourth in 3:09.00. He was joined in that race by Cory Lamar, Windle and Jacob Cook. St. Augstine's won the race in 3:06.84.

In the women's high jump, Jennifer Foster was third (5-9.25). The Western State duo of Barbara Szabo and Susan Jackson were the only athletes to better that. Szabo was first at 6-3.25 and Jackson was second at 6-3.25.

The men's 400 relay fell just short of an All-America citation. The Eagles were ninth in 41.32. The top eight relays earn All-America status. The AU quartet consisted of Owens, Lamar, Brandon Freeman and Jacob Cook.

For this three-day event, the Eagles had three national champions and two of those will be back next season. AU had two runner-up finishes and both of those were posted by underclassmen. Owens will also return next season.