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(Adrian, Mich.) The Cornerstone men competed well at the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships winning two events, setting two school and one freshman record, putting up five national qualifying marks along with nine personal bests.
In first year using a two-day format, Bryant Langdon started the CU scoring placing fourth in the hammer throw with a toss of 155' 3". Spencer Perry was fifth in the other field event of the day sending the javelin 150' 5". Nick Hayes took 12th with 120' - adding over 20' to his previous best.
On the track, Travis Mabe and Cody Risch endured the 10,000 meters with temperatures near eighty and high humidity. The race started slow and tactical, passing through 5k in 16:57. In the second half the lead group dwindled to just Mabe and Stephen Glinski of Aquinas. The pace dropped to 5:19 for the sixth mile reducing the 25 lap event to a 400 meter dash. Mabe and Glinski matched strides the entire way. Travis' 64 last 400 was one second slower than Glinski's as the Aquinas runner finished in 33:30.47 to Mabe's 33:31.89. Risch was seventh in 35:53.14.
Friday began with the 3,000 meter steeplechase, a race the Golden Eagles have owned in the WHAC since 2004. In just his third try at the event Louis Falland kept the streak alive, winning in 9:27.12, two seconds off his PR and under the NAIA provisional standard. Risch rebounded well from the 10k taking one second off his best placing fifth in 9:44.44.
Just 45 minutes later, Falland was back for the 1500 meters. On dead legs he managed to work his way into scoring position taking fifth in 4:05.49. Freshman Mike Darling was ninth in a new best, 4:17.31.
Jeshurun Washington picked up PR's in the 100, taking seventh in 11.14 and tenth in the 200 running 22.38. He also anchored the 4 x 100 meter relay to a season best 42.14 for fourth.
Across the parking lot in the discus circle, Jon Norris' second attempt flew to a freshman record 138' putting him eighth in the meet and second on the Cornerstone all-time list. Ross Raymond improved is PR to 116' 9" finishing 15th.
Eric Schroeder took sixth in the long jump with a new best of 21' 6.75" and Logan Norton was eighth at 21' .75". Norton also took fifth in the pole vault clearing 14' 11" and picked up a point for sixth in the triple jump going 42'.
The 400 meter hurdles was one of the most exciting races of the day with CU's Ryan Versen well matched against Indiana Tech's Brandon Reynard. Both men were ranked near the top of the NAIA list. Cornerstone senior, Adam Duerksen looked to improve his NAIA provisional mark while classmate, John Klumpp still needed to get on the nationals list. Versen in lane four and Reynard in five were dead even through five hurdles. Into the last turn Versen began gaining ground pulling onto the homestretch with a one-step lead. With the stagger now even, Reynard could see his competitor and pulled back even over the final two hurdles. Versen's push to the finish was just a bit better as he hit the line in 52.82, a new school and meet record and the third best time in the NAIA. Brandon's 53.07 was his best of the year. Duerksen was fourth, improving to 54.41 and Klumpp fifth. John immediately went to the timing area saying, "I have to know, I have to know!" impatiently waiting to see if he had run under 54.75. When 54.73 flashed onto the screen he let out a celebratory yell and joined Versen and Duerksen in celebration.
In the 5,000 meters, Mabe returned to see what he had left after the 10,000. Three weeks after fracturing his elbow, Jared Courtright had been given medical clearance to run just hours before race time. His fitness was uncertain as he had not run since the injury. The top seed, Aaron Belcher of Indiana Tech blasted off to a big, early lead, taking a shot at stealing the race. Justin Bateson of Siena Heights was the first to leave the lead pack to bridge the gap. When he did, Belcher faded as James Janisse of Aquinas and Mabe reeled him in and set off in pursuit of Bateson. Courtright trailed Travis by four seconds at the mile, but moved within two seconds of him by the second mile, splitting 9:57. Mabe held with Janisse as Bateson won in 15:25.12, James second in 14:30.95 and Travis third in 15:31.84. Courtright's kick got him within half a second of Belcher, good for fifth in a PR 15:34.93. Cody Risch completed the 10k, steeplechase, 5k triple in 12th running 15:55.95.
Going into the 4 x 400 meter relay, the outcome of the meet was no longer in question as Siena Heights continued its dominance with nearly a 100 point lead. But no matter the score, there is tremendous pride and competitiveness to go along with this relay. Indiana Tech came in as the top seed having run 3:14.11, Cornerstone's best on the year stood at 3:18.65. Eric Schroeder got things started with a 49.3 split and Duerksen kept the Golden Eagles within 10 meters of Siena and Tech with his 49.5 lap. Ryan Versen charged down the backstretch then exploded through the turn and homestretch cutting the gap to less than 5 meters and handing off to Zach Yeo after a jaw-dropping 47.3. Yeo resisted the urge to make up the rest of the margin immediately and measured his effort well of the entire lap. Siena Heights edged to a slight lead at the line running the second fastest time in the NAIA this season with a 3:12.29 to Tech's 3:12.90. Yeo's 48.0 anchor leg resulted in a school record 3:14.11, the fifth best in the NAIA. "This race never disappoints," said Cornerstone coach, Rod Wortley. "You never know what's going to happen, but you count on it being incredibly exciting.
Siena Heights defended their conference title with 234 points. Indiana Tech was second with 138, Aquinas third at 119, Davenport fourth scoring 73, Cornerstone fifth with 68 and Concordia sixth with 15.