WICHITA, Kan. - After a fourth-place finish in 2011 and being picked fourth in this season's pre-championship poll, the University of Northern Iowa men's track & field team climbed to a third-place team finish on Sunday at the 2012 State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Track & Field Championships held at Cessna Stadium.
The Panthers used championship performances in the 100m dash, discus, 4x100m relay and 4x400m relay - as well as 18 points in the pole vault - to finish third as a team with 158 points. Indiana State defended its team title with 187.5 points.
"That was a thrilling track meet to be a part of," said UNI head track & field coach Dan Steele. "Once again these Panther squads showed they are building toward a bright future. I was really proud of how well we competed."
UNI continued its domination of the short sprints at the conference level. Senior Jarred Herring ran 10.44 seconds in the 100m dash to win his third MVC title in the event. Herring becomes only the seventh athlete in league history to win the 100m dash at least three times, having taken the championship in 2009 and 2011 as well.
Derek Kramer recorded his second 100m personal best in as many days, running 10.61 seconds for third place and All-MVC honors. Junior Carlos Anderson finished eighth in 10.80 seconds. In all, the Panthers tallied 17 points in the event.
UNI defended its title in the 4x100m relay, as the team of Anderson, Kramer, Wilmot Wellington and Herring dominated the rest of the field by more than one-half second. The Panthers' winning time was 40.28 seconds.
Junior Jordan Williams easily defended his 2011 conference championship in the discus, winning with a throw of 182-11 (55.75m) on Sunday. Each of Williams' six attempts in the discus soared further than the best throw from the rest of the field. Tanner Hurt placed fourth with a toss of 161-03 (49.15m).
In the day's final event, UNI once again earned a Valley 4x400m relay title in dramatic fashion. UNI ran three freshmen, as Jordan Guske, Aaron Stockstell, Jesse Davenport and Sheldon Magee held off Wichita State by one-hundredth of a second, posting a season-best time of 3:11.24. The Panthers won this year's indoor 4x400m relay by four-thousandths of a second back in February.
The Panthers scored big in the pole vault, racking up 18 team points behind a 2-3-5 finish by Sam Kranz, Daniel Gooris and freshman Corey Szamlewski. Kranz matched his outdoor personal best by clearing 17-02.75 (5.25m), Gooris cleared 16-10.75 (5.15m), and Szamlewski set a new outdoor best at 16-06.75 (5.05m).
In the 800m run, Stockstell claimed runner-up honors in 1:51.70. Sophomore Ryan Newtoff placed third and earned All-MVC honors in the 400m hurdles for the second straight season, crossing the line in a personal-best 52.55. Brett Egan was third in the 5,000m run, giving the Panthers six points late in the meet.
Two of the freshmen from the 4x400 squad put up outstanding performances in the 400m dash finals earlier in the day. Sheldon Magee clocked a time of 48.02 for fourth place, and Jesse Davenport finished in 48.08 for fifth. Both times were personal bests and the top 400m performances by UNI runners this season.
UNI placed two in the 110m hurdles, with freshman Sebastian Barth taking fourth place in 14.27 seconds and Newtoff taking eighth in 14.66 seconds.
Senior Brady Fritz took sixth place in the 1,500m, coming in at 3:54.92.
UNI's women finished in sixth place with 65.5 points, an improvement over last year's total. Wichita State won the women's title with 192.5 points.
Olimpia Nowak, Michaela Brungardt, Emily Roberts and Sam Cameron earned All-MVC honors by edging Missouri State for a runner-up finish in the 4x400m relay. The UNI quartet finished in 3:42.70 to top Missouri State's time of 3:42.71.
Nowak ran 13.74 in the 100m hurdles for third place, and freshman Paige Knodle took eighth place in 14.38.
Nowak and Knodle also placed in the 400m hurdles, with Nowak in fifth at 1:00.82 and Knodle in sixth at 1:01.96. Sophomore Emily Roberts took eighth in 1:04.37.
The UNI women placed two in the 400m dash as well. Junior Sam Cameron matched her personal-best with a time of 54.92 for fourth place, and senior Michaela Brungardt ran 55.90 for sixth place. Cameron's time ranks her as the fourth-fastest in school history in the 400m.
Junior Scotti Schon placed seventh in the 1,500m, finishing in 4:38.58. Senior Jill Lageschulte ran 17:53.87 for an outdoor personal best and eighth place in the 5,000m.
NOTE: Senior Jarred Herring was named the recipient of the MVC Elite 18 Award - presented to the highest-achieving student-athlete in the Valley - for the outdoor track & field season. Herring's award makes it a season sweep by the Panther men, as junior Ryan Krogmann received the award for the indoor season.