HUTCHINSON, Kan. - Despite multiple weather delays that resulted in completion of events at nearly 11 p.m. Saturday at Gowans Stadium, the Butler men's track and field team finally completed the 2015 outdoor season with a ninth-place finish at the NJCAA National Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
Butler had a total of 17 athletes competing at the national meet, with 15 bringing home medals under first-year head coach Ryan Turner. The Grizzly men scored 34 points, which tied Cloud County for ninth place. Both Butler and Cloud were the top Jayhawk West men's teams in the final standings, while Colby (31 points, 11th place) and Barton (28, 14th) finished behind the Grizzlies. The Butler women scored 11 points and finished tied for 18th.
Highlighting Saturday's events for the Grizzlies was a second-place finish by the men's 4x100-meter relay team, despite a heavy rainfall at the start of the race. The team of Lamarion Arnold, Jalen Gillie, Edward Simmons and Eli Hall-Thompson ran a season-best 40.12 seconds, just behind winner South Plains (39.99).
Shortly following the 4x100 race, lightning delays halted events for nearly an hour. After the delay, events resumed with a rolling schedule, but more lightning suspended action again for nearly six hours with six events remaining and did not resume until 9:25 p.m.
After the lengthy delay, Arnold picked up the second of his team-high three medals with a sixth-place finish in the men's 200-meter dash with a time of 21.53 seconds.
Butler freshman Albert Meier followed with a third-place finish in the men's 5,000-meter run, earning his second medal in the meet with a time of 14:32.94. Meier, who had the top seeded time coming into the event, stayed near the top of the pack for the entire race and was edged out at the finish line by South Plains' Antibahs Kibiwott Kosgey for second place.
Ending Saturday's events was the Butler men's 4x400-meter relay team (Donavan Ayers, Emmanuel Mwewa, DeAndre Wade and Arnold), who took fourth despite a bad handoff on the final lap. Wade overran Arnold before passing the baton, but managed to complete the handoff. Despite the delayed exchange, the relay team still had a season-best time of 3:12.91.
Freshman Mohammed Abubakar made the finals of the men's long jump, but just missed on his second medal as he finished ninth in the event. Abubakar, who placed fifth in Friday's triple jump (47'-9 1/4"), had his longest jump of 22'-10 1/2".
On Friday, sophomore Terra Flores had the top individual performance of the day as she placed third in the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase, running a personal-best 11:43.38. Due to Saturday's weather delay, Flores elected not to run in the 5,000-meter run.
In the women's pole vault, freshman Rachael Buzanowski set a personal-best and new school record with a vault of 11'-5 3/4", which earned her a fourth-place medal.
The men's 4x800-meter relay team of Kennedy Chumba, Albert Meier, Luke Johnston and Shevon Blair took fifth with a time of 7:46.66, while freshman Kavan Mark took fifth in the men's javelin, with his longest throw going 180'-6".