CLAREMONT, Calif. – McMurry University won the NCAA III Men’s Outdoor Track and Field championship on Saturday, outdistancing runner-up UW-LaCrosse by 29 points in the final standings (66-47). The War Hawks also took home the crown in 2008, both titles coming under head coach Barbara Crousen.
McMurry’s women’s squad finished tied for 26th place with nine points.
In the men’s competition, McM started the day with just two team points, 26 points out of the lead. But the War Hawks entered the final day with the knowledge that it had many points still on the table, scoring something in every event in
which they were represented on Saturday.
“Our team really came through in clutch fashion,” said Crousen. “We pulled together as a unit and found a way to squeeze out the points we needed. We were very ‘business-like’.
“This team is a pleasure to work with. They are coachable; they care about each other; and they support what’s best for the team as a whole. I love that about them and am so pleased that their hard work resulted in a national championship.”
McMurry crowned three individual and one team national champion en route to the title, two alone from senior Kevin Cunningham. Cunningham defended his championship in the 400 meter hurdles (51.13), coming from behind at the finish. He also won the open 400 meters (46.98) for the 12th All-America award of his career, the second-most in McM school history.
Sophomore shot putter Paul Davis won his first NCAA title in a tough competition. Davis posted what would be his winning effort – a heave of 60′ 10 ½” – on his very first attempt of the day. Leading the majority of the competition, Davis had some anxious moments when second place finisher Andy Novak of UW-LaCrosse unleashed a throw just four inches shy of Davis’ mark.
It was Davis’ fourth All-America honor as a War Hawk.
In the 4×100 relay, McMurry’s group of Josh Zu-Bolton, Trevon Odom, Gavan Bass and Kenneth Turner closed out the field in a time of 40.62 to claim the championship and put McMurry ahead in the team standings to stay.
In all, the War Hawks earned five other All-America honors besides its collection of national titles. Freshman Junior Saint Preux placed second in the 100 hurdles in a clocking of 14.26 seconds.
In the 100 finals, Turner – who had battled a sore hamstring throughout the championships, placed fifth in the men’s 100 meters. Turner then added the eight All-America award of his career – and third of the day – with an eighth place in the 200 (21.45).
Teammate Odom was third in the 200, running a time of 21.24 seconds.
In the triple jump, McMurry entered with three competitors and came away with an All-American fourth-place finish from Everette Miller. Miller had a best mark of 48′ 11 ¾ “. Teammates Chris Ogle and Dillon Wilkins placed 15th and 17th, respectively.
The victory for the men’s team was also historic for the War Hawks in that the NCAA championships represented the University’s final athletic competition as an NCAA Division III institution. McMurry moves to NCAA Division II beginning in the Fall of 2012.