CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- The University of Northern Iowa track & field teams combined to defend conference titles in three events and added two additional championships on the final day of the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Indoor Track & Field Championships held in the UNI-Dome on Sunday.
UNI finished fourth in the men's team race with 106 points. Southern Illinois took the men's championship with 142.5 points. The Panther women finished sixth with 72 points to improve on last year's total of 59.75. Missouri State claimed the women's title with 132 points.
Panthers Carlos Anderson (60m dash) and Justin Romero (shot put) each won their second-consecutive Valley title, and the UNI women repeated as league champions in the 4x400m relay with the team of Michaela Brungardt, Paige Knodle, Darian Thompson and Sam Cameron. When converted for track size, that quartet's time of 3:40.77 stands as a UNI all-time record.
The Panther men also took the MVC title in the final event of the day, winning the 4x400m relay in a time of 3:16.33. UNI ran three freshmen in the event, as Jordan Guske, Aaron Stockstell, Marshall Hill and Sheldon Magee edged Illinois State by four-thousandths of a second for the title. Magee came out on top in a three-way battle with the league's 800m champion, Matthew Smoody of Illinois State, and the league's 400m champion, Dylan Hartnett of Wichita State, over the final 100 meters.
Daniel Gooris capped a tremendous performance in the heptathlon, taking his second career title in the multi-event. Gooris racked up 5,679 points for a new lifetime-best score that ranks him second in UNI history and currently places him at No. 15 in the nation. He powered through Sunday with personal bests in the 60m hurdles (8.51 seconds) and 1000m (2:43.30) and a clearance of 16-08.75 in the pole vault.
Anderson played the lead role in another dominant showing for UNI in the men's 60m dash. He took first in 6.82 seconds, Jarred Herring was second in 6.83 seconds, and Derek Kramer was third in 6.95 seconds to fill the podium with Panthers. Freshman Cam Brown notched a seventh-place finish to give the Panthers 26 team points from the 60m dash.
For the second straight season, Romero came up big in the shot put when it mattered most. On his second-to-last attempt, Romero unleashed a lifetime-best toss of 59-02.75 (18.05m) to add his second MVC title.
UNI senior Jenna Wexter upped her own school record in the pole vault, as she cleared 13-01.00 (3.99m) for the first time and earned All-MVC honors with a third-place finish.
"I couldn't be happier with our kids over the past two days," said UNI head coach Dan Steele. "This was an incredible track meet. We weren't ready to take down the veteran teams in the team races yet, but this meet showed us that we hit a home run with last year's recruiting classes.
"Watching Jenna jump 13 feet, Olimpia break two school records, Carlos, Jarred and Derek sweep the 60m dash, Justin win the shot put, and both 4x4s win in dramatic fashion reminded me of why I love college coaching. I love these UNI kids."
Over the two-day meet, UNI's women set five school records (Nowak - pentathlon, 60m hurdles; Wexter - pole vault, Brungardt - 400m, and the 4x400m relay).
Jordan Williams backed up Romero's effort in the shot put with a lifetime best of his own. Williams placed fourth with a throw of 57-00.75 (17.39m), surpassing his previous best by more than one foot. Freshman Justin Baker also notched a personal-best, throwing 54-03.25 (16.54m) for ninth place.
Sophomore Thomas Larson and senior Travis Leuer tied for fifth place in the high jump, with each clearing 6-07.50 (2.02m).
Along with running legs the Valley-champion 4x400m relay, freshmen Jordan Guske and Marshall Hill each placed individually in the sprint events. Guske was seventh in the 400m, and Hill took eighth place in the 200m dash.
Junior Brett Egan ran an indoor personal-best of 14:44.74 in the 5,000m to claim seventh place.
Freshman Sebastian Barth ran 8.15 seconds to finish sixth in the 60m hurdles at his first Valley Championships.
Ben Lindaman and Tyler Clark took 10th and 11th, respectively, in the heptathlon. Lindaman scored 4,860 points and Clark had a personal-best 4,770 points.
Michaela Brungardt recorded a lifetime best in the 400m dash to take third place on Sunday. Brungardt finished in 54.84, which is a new school record when adjusted to account for the use of oversized tracks. Teammate Sam Cameron was fourth in 55.31.
Olimpia Nowak finished second in the 60m hurdles at 8.46 seconds, and freshman Rachel Peth improved her UNI freshman record to 8.67 seconds on her way to third place and All-MVC honors. Nowak also competed in the high jump, taking sixth place with a clearance of 5-06.00 (1.68m).
Freshman Alex Wilson earned a sixth-place finish in the 800m with a time of 2:16.40. Molly Cashman placed eighth in 2:20.65.
Scotti Schon ran 5:03.48 to notch a seventh-place finish in the mile. Senior Jill Lageschulte clocked a huge PR in the 5,000m, taking 10th place in 17:48.04.
Junior Kelsey Sukovaty was seventh in the shot put with a mark of 48-04.50 (14.74m).