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(East Lansing, Mich.) The Outdoor Track and Field season finally got underway for CU at the Spartan Invitational hosted by Michigan State University. In spite of rain on Friday and a biting, stiff wind Saturday, the Golden Eagles had three top five finishes and set five personal bests.
Louis Falland won the fast heat of the 1500 meters. After taking the lead past in the second half of the race, Falland unleashed a 58 second last 400 to open a fifteen meter gap at the finish over Nick Soter of Michigan State. Jared Holmberg placed fourth in his heat of the 1500 with a new best time of 4:11.40.
Senior, Jared Courtright lowered his best in the 5,000 meters to 15:22.25 placing twelfth.
Ross Raymond broke his school record in the shot put with a mark of 46-7.25, adding nearly a foot to his best from last year and finished eighth.
In the discus, Dan Door extended his best to 140-7 to place tenth.
The pole vault competition was moved inside Jenison Fieldhouse where Logan Norton tied for sixth, clearing 14-9.
(Geneva, Ohio) Cornerstone senior, Louis Falland bettered his runner up finish in the mile at the 2013 NAIA Indoor Track & Field Championships getting the win with bold front running and a powerful finishing kick.
Starting with Thursday's semi-finals in the distance medley relay and Friday's mile semis, all indications pointed to a great showdown between Falland and Matthew Clowes of Concordia, Oregon. Clowes had run two seconds faster for the mile during the season and ran a quick but controlled 1600 meter anchor leg on the distance medley relay and breezed through his semi-final heat in the mile. In those same events, Falland ran in the opposite heat blasting a 4:03 1600 meter anchor leg to put his team in the finals. Like Clowes, his mile semi-final race showed he was in complete control of the field.
The night before the mile final, Falland and CU men's distance coach, Nate Van Holten decided on an aggressive strategy. Typically championship finals in the mile are slow and tactical as no one wants to do the work of leading the field to set up a fast finish for the others. "We wanted to get out and shrink the field right away," said Falland, "ideally that would leave just one man to beat."
A 61 second first 400 meters accomplished the first part of the strategy as the field strung out with Clowes shadowing Falland. Nothing changed for the next 800 meters, then the junior from Concordia moved to the front with 400 meters to go. "I was definitely surprised that everything went so smoothly," Falland said. "When Matthew went to the lead that was exactly what I wanted. I knew at that point I would win unless he had something up his sleeve."
The pace intensified as the Clowes tried to pull away and Falland went right with him. With 100 meters to go Louis drew even and each man moved into top gear on the homestretch. Fifty meters from the line Louis inched slightly ahead, then half a step in front. Clowes kept pressing then suddenly stumbled, his legs failing to respond properly. Falland charged ahead capping a 59 second last 400 meters. As he crossed the finish line in 4:06.45, Clowes, arms pinwheeling, lost what was left of his balance and tumbled to the track. His momentum carried him forward, but four more competitors slipped past. He rolled across the line in sixth.
A walk-on from Nuriootpa, Australia, Falland had little to offer by way of talent or experience when he joined the CU Track & Field team. "I'd done several team sports and I thought I could be good at it," he said, "Then I got here and found out I wasn't as good as the worst guy on the team." In spite of his accomplishments, Falland deflects much of the credit. "I've worked really hard, but more than that, Q [coach Van Holten] knows what he's doing and I've trusted his training. My dad's a runner and he inspires me. It's strange looking back 4 years ago and how bad I was. If I can do it, anyone with the right coach the right training and the right support can do it." Falland's family watched his race via the live streaming available for the meet. "My dad set it up through the TV at home and the whole family was there," Falland said. "It meant a lot to know they were cheering for me and got to see the race."
(Geneva, Ohio) The final day of the 2014 NAIA Indoor Track & Field Championships saw the Cornerstone men's team score in the first to and second to last events of the day to finish twelfth in the team standings.
The mile run begins the day's events and Louis Falland gave the large crowd at the Spire Institute track an exciting race to watch. After an aggressive 61 second 400 meters to start the race, Falland ran the last 400 meters in 59 seconds winning a tremendous dual with Mattew Clowes of Concordia, Oregon in 4:06.95.
While Falland waited on the infield along the homestretch to receive his national championship plaque, Deon Fox stepped into the blocks for the 60 meter hurdle finals. Seeded last in the semi-finals, Fox's incredible race in the semis moved him to the seventh seed in the finals. The venue was nearly silent as the announcer requested quiet for the start. As the starter called the eight men to the set position, there was a noticeable movement just before the gun. Immediately the recall starter fired a second then a third shot and the usual murmur rose from the crowed. Top seed, Nickola Shingles of Central Methodist was shown a red card by the official and disqualified for a false start.
GENEVA, OH (3/7) Cornerstone's Cody Risch opened the second day of the 2014 NAIA Indoor Track & Field Championships winning the 3,000 meter race walk in meet record time. CU's had two other men competing and both advanced to Saturday's finals, but in very different ways.
Sophomore, Deon Fox endured a difficult season. After qualifying for both NAIA and USATF Junior Nationals last year in the decathlon, a compound fracture in his wrist early this season limited his ability to train for most of his events. He could still work on the hurdles and that was a bright spot as the indoor season came to a close. After breaking the school record and coming close to the NAIA qualifying standard, Fox ran 1/100 of a second under the provisional qualifying time in the 60 meter hurdles at the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference meet.
His time of 8.39 made him the 22nd seed in the field of 22 for Friday's semi-finals. Running in the first of three heats, Fox drew lane six in the middle of the Spire Center's ten lane straightaway. After a good start, Deon knew he was running well. "I got to the first hurdle in the lead," he said, "and I thought, 'I'm not going to give this spot up.'" Kenneth Combs, the third seed from Oklahoma Baptist passed Fox, but no one else did. Combs, the heat winner in 7.98 automatically advanced to the finals. Deon's 8.22, a personal best and school record by .17 would need to be one of the five fastest times behind the winners of the next two heats. Eleven other men in the race were seeded at 8.21 or better, giving Fox little hope of advancing.
As often happens in the sprint hurdles, the second heat was a violent and noisy eight seconds with hurdles smashing and crashing all over the track. Nikola Shingles of Central Methodist won with the fastest time of the day, 7.97, but only Logan Moore of Siena Heights bettered Fox with an 8.00 clocking. The third heat was the deepest as the top three ran between 8.04 and 8.16, but Trevor Stanley of Indiana Tech took fourth in 8.23 making Deon the seventh seed for the finals.
Knowing he'd run well, but not figuring he'd make finals, Fox left the track and went up to the balcony to watch his teammates in the long jump. To say he was pleased when word finally reached him, would be an understatement.
"On the bus ride in on Tuesday there was some discussion of the uniqueness of provisional entries in the NAIA," said CU coach Rod Wortley. "Deon said something about maybe not deserving to be here since he didn't hit the automatic standard, but that's one of the great things about track &field – just about anything can happen."
From the unexpected to what might have been the most predictable outcome of the day, the men's mile semifinals set up what should be an exciting match up for Saturday's final. In the first of two heats, top seed Matthew Clowes of Concordia, Oregon kept the pace a pedestrian 1:10 through 400 meters. Always in control the top seed moved things along and cruised to an easy win in 4:20.99. CU's Louis Falland, the number two seed, let the second heat play out in front of him for the first half mile before reigning in the field at 1200 meters. A solid 61 second last 400 meters put him in the clear and he coasted to the finish in 4:16.22 content to advance on place while Pauric McLaughlin of Lewis-Clark State pushed ahead to win in 4:16.19.
In addition to Falland in the mile and Fox in the hurdles, CU's Ross Raymond will compete in the shot put on the final day of competition.
(Geneva, Ohio) One year ago, Cornerstone senior, Cody Risch waged a three-way battle over the final lap of the 3,000 meter race walk reaching the finish line first in an apparent meet record. Moments later, he was informed that he had been disqualified. On the second day of the 2014 NAIA Indoor Track & Field Championships, the same three men met again.
Throughout the 2014 season, Risch, Alejandro Chavez and Nick Christie of Missouri Baptist took turns leading the NAIA performance list in the race walk. Defending champion, Chavez came to nationals having walked six second faster than the other two. From the start the trio separated themselves from the rest of the field of ten with Risch shadowing the pair from Mo Bap. "Their pace was super fast," said Risch. "They went through the first kilometer at 11:40 pace. I can't keep that pace so I let them go. For a while I thought they had me."