(Marion, Ind.) The
final day of the 2012 NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships got underway
at 6 a.m. with the marathon. A cooling breeze kept temperatures in the mid 60's
for the opening miles, but as the sun rose, the heat followed.
Cornerstone's Travis Mabe and Jared Courtright raced
shoulder to shoulder through the first half of the race, keeping the pace just
under six minutes per mile. In the second half, the conditions became a factor
as ten competitors abandoned the race. Travis and Jared slowed to over six
minute pace but continued around 20th place. In the final miles,
Mabe moved slightly ahead reaching the finish in 2:41.07.60 in fifteenth, more
than four minutes faster and thirteen places better than 2011. Courtright
completed his first 26.2 mile race in 2:43.07.80 in nineteenth place.
Saturday afternoon, Louis Falland
began the 3,000 meter
steeplechase finals. As he did in Thursday's semi-finals, Falland waited at the
back of the pack as the race unfolded. With 1,000 meters to go, Louis moved up
to eleventh, then tenth one lap later. In the final 400 meters he passed ninth,
still 50 meters out of eighth. Then with 250 meters to go, Southern Oregon's
Dennis McCaffrey, turned and looked over his shoulder to see if anyone was close.
Falland saw the look and immediately accelerated. McCaffrey struggled over the
final water barrier with 150 meters left as Louis kept pushing. With 100 meters of track remaining, Falland
was still 20 meters back and had one more barrier to jump. Digging hard made
the hurdle, put his head down and charged for home. McCaffrey, clinging to his
shrinking lead, was starting to wobble as Falland approached. Dennis drifted
toward lane two in an effort to force Falland farther outside. Twenty meters
from the finish, Falland drew even and McCaffrey leaned to his right. As their
shoulders made contact the combination of Falland's momentum an dMcCaffery's
fatigue send the Oregon senior tumbling to the track. An official standing ten
feet away put up his yellow flag as Falland reached the finish in what appeared
to be eighth place, the last All-America spot.
The official met with the running referee on the infield
then the referee went to the press box. After ten tense minutes the result was
official: Falland eighth in 9:26.52.
Cornerstone's remaining entrant in the meet was Ryan Versen
in the 400 meter hurdle finals. Seeded seventh after the semi-finals, Versen
set his blocks in lane three. At the start he got out well, with a good view of
his competition in the outside lanes. On the homestretch, the top four had a
slight gap while Ryan fought for the next spot. He reached the line in 52.28,
1/100 ahead of WHAC rival, Brandon Reynard Indiana Tech. Versen's fifth place
finish earned him his first All-America plaque and four more points for the
Shorter took the team title with 93 points. Cornerstone tied
for 19th with 14 points out of 63 scoring teams.