The Barton Community College men's track and field team captured another conference championship to go alongside a runner-up region finish this past weekend at the Region VI/KJCCC Indoor Championships held at Pittsburg State University's Robert W. Plaster Center.Coming up just five points shy of their twenty-eighth indoor region title to Butler Community College's 159 points, the Cougars did capture the Jayhawk West championship beating out the Grizzlies by two points 216 to 214 as the two teams dominated the men's competition. The defending indoor champion Cougars won just two events during the weekend but the deep and talented squad racked up twenty-four other placings including six second place finishes in earning Head Coach David Schenek the Men's Coach of the Year Award.
"I'm proud of the fight that our men brought to both days of competition," said Schenek. "They competed tough, however, we did not bring our A game but we did bring home the conference title, and that's a nice win!"
Devyn Brotherton was the high point man of the weekend as the sophomore from Cody, Wyoming, scored twenty-two points earning the male Most Points Scored award. Brotherton began his weekend with the grueling 5000m setting a personal best 15:30.69 in finishing less than three seconds behind the winner. Developing a massive blister on his foot from Friday's 5k didn't seem to phase Brotherton in his Saturday events taking third place in the 1 mile run at 4:25.76 before wrapping up his weekend less than two hours later with another runner-up finish at 8:54.52 in the 3000m, just two seconds behind Ellinwood native Pedro Montoya of Allen County Community College.
The Cougars' individual titles came at the opposite ends of the meet with Stevon Crooks earning the first during Friday's first throwing event and Boyd earning the last in what would be the last event of the weekend. Crooks led a dominant Barton shot put contingent as the Cougars went 1-6-7 in the event with the freshman from Jamaica taking the title with a personal best 16.16m throw ranking tenth in the nation. Romario Antoine took the fifth spot with a 15.85m throw just ahead of Ricky Nelson's personal best 14.69m heave.
In meets coming down to the wire, the 4X400m relay is usually the final event of the day but this past weekend with field events running behind, the drama set its sights on the triple jump. Butler all but clinched the title winning the relay in a nation's fourth best time to upset the fifth ranked Cougars as the Grizzlies' 3:13.52 unseated Barton's 3:14.44. However there still was a glimmer of hope headed into the triple jump as the Cougars, trailing by fifteen points, had three jumpers in finals while the Grizzlies had just two. With Leon Boyd taking the title with a leap of 15.41m, pressure mounted for Butler's Mohammed Abubakar who came through with a personal best 15.35m leaping into second place all but sealing the team title. Adama Mbye also came through with his personal best as the Cougar freshman placed third at 15.00m while Denroc Dixon took fifth at 14.67m. Butler's Elijah Smith grabbed the seventh spot at 14.37m earning two points but Abubakar's effort thwarted Barton's valiant effort for the comeback.
"We had a couple individual champions in Stevon Crooks and Leon Boyd," said Schenek. "But we need to step it up over the next two weeks."
On the track things started out sour Friday with the first event of the Distance Medley Relay. The tandem of Tyler Thornton, Paul Willis, Anthony Forrest, and Elder Colindres put themselves in perfect final lap position running alongside Allen County and Butler. In what appeared to be the start of the final lap but no final bell was rung, anchor leg Colindres blew past the field for a large turn through the corner. As the teams came around the backstretch with Colindres in full command, the race was halted due the race having already been completed before the final turn with the Cougars in third position at 10:26.36 earning six points instead of ten.
Barton altogether had a solid first day of competition leading the pack by eleven points. In addition to the fifteen points in the shot put and Brotherton's eight in the 5k, the Cougars also garnered another fourteen points in the long jump behind the personal best jumps from Dixon and Boyd. Dixon took second at 7.56m while Boyd was right behind at 7.52m as both exceeded their previous best by .3m. Dixon also grabbed another two points later in the day clearing 1.95m in the high jump to finish in seventh place.
In the track preliminary rounds, the Cougars placed seven out of nine possible spots for Saturday's finals. In the 60m Chedlin Sageese was the lone Cougar in the final clocking a personal best 6.76 for the second best preliminary round but fell to sixth place in the finals with a 6.91.
All three hurdlers set personal bests scoring fifteen points led by the 8.18 second place time of Jermaine Jones. Matching his preliminary round first place time, Jones was edged out by .03 in the finals to the personal best 8.15 time of Butler's Jhibri Greer. The Cougars' Louis Rivers also bettered his personal best in the finals clocking an 8.27 to finish fourth while Kevin Turner was slightly slower than his personal record set in the prelims to cross in 8.42 for 6th place.
Qualifying all three for finals in the 200m, the Cougars stepped up in the final round scoring sixteen points. Leading the charge was Alexander Richemond's personal best 21.60 to finish second behind Butler's Eli Hall-Thompson who shattered former Cougar Derrick Brew's 1998 meet record by .29 seconds crossing the line in 20.89 and also taking over the nation's top spot. McKinely West was .01 behind Richemond in third while Paul Kinney came in seventh at 22.06.
Jaquez Wilson led three Cougars in the 400m finishing fifth in 48.47 while Anthony Adderly's personal best 48.81 earned an 8th place finish. Micah Carey's personal best 48.88 finished just outside the top eight coming in behind Adderly. Failing to earn points in the 800m, Barton got a nice surprise in the 1000m as Tyler Thornton exceeded his personal best by over three seconds to grab fourth place in 2:36.06.
Joining Brotherton in the 1 mile and 300m run on Saturday, Colindres recorded two personal bests finishing fourth in the mile in 4:26.37 and 9:29.08 in the 3k finishing in eleventh place.
In addition to Saturday's triple jump, the Cougars also acquired seven points in the weight throw. Donald Daley earned the fourth spot with a 17.11m throw while Nelson exceed his personal best by .76m to capture seventh place with a 16.42 throw.
"This is one of the toughest regions in the country, and you can't afford to miss out on opportunities if you are going to win," said Schenek. "We still have nationals and have a great opportunity there, so we need to settle down, refocus and reenergize and be ready to finish out the season on a very high note."
Next up for the Cougars will be a trip to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, for the NJCAA Indoor National Championships held March 4-5.