PITTSBURG, Kan. - Three first-place finishes highlighted Friday's opening day for the Butler men's track and field team at the Region VI Indoor Championships.
The top finishes helped Butler to second place in the team standings, as the fifth-ranked Grizzlies scored 36 points. Jayhawk West rival Barton finished with 47 points to take the top spot after Day 1, while Butler maintained a one-point edge over Coffeyville and a 2.5 point lead on Johnson County.
Grizzly freshman Landon Cuskelly shattered his personal best in the men's high jump, clearing 2.20 meters to win the event. The clearance also moved Cuskelly into first place among NJCAA men. Entering Friday with a personal-best mark of 2.10 meters, Cuskelly cleared 2.15 on his third attempt, then responded by going over the bar at 2.20 on his first attempt.
Sophomore Mohammed Abubakar reset the nation's best mark in the long jump, as he had a top leap of 7.70 meters to win the event. Abubakar is one of the top favorites in Saturday's triple jump, where he ranks fourth in the NJCAA and second among KJCCC competition.
In the 5,000-meter run, sophomore Nolan Hesse pulled away on the final lap and cruised to the finish line with a time of 15:27.77. Butler grabbed a total of 14 points in the event, as freshman Jacob Hesse placed sixth (16:06.47) and freshman Emmanuel Biwott was eighth (16:26.13).
The Grizzlies also had a pair of eighth-place finishes in field events. Freshman Colin Reichenberger cleared 3.70 meters in the pole vault, while freshman Dan Garrison had a top throw of 13.91 meters in the shot put.
Butler put itself in great position for Saturday's finals in both the 60-meter and 200-meter dash. Sophomore Eli Hall-Thompson had the top preliminary times in both events, dashing to a 6.72-second finish in the 60 and a 21.25-second time in the 200. Joining Hall-Thompson in the 60 finals will be freshman Xavier Atkins (6.77, 3rd) and Quintaveon Poole (6.78, 5th). Poole and sophomore Lamarion Arnold both finished tied for third in the 200 preliminaries with a time of 21.38.
Reichenberger and freshman Keaton McGuire also competed in the heptathlon, completing four of the seven events on Friday. McGuire sits in ninth place with 2,275 points, while Reichenberger is 10th at 2,247. McGuire's best finish came in the 60-meter dash (7.40, 6th), while Reichenberger's best event was the high jump (1.77m, 6th).
Saturday's schedule for the men begins with the heptathlon at 9:00 a.m., along with the start of running events. Field events start at 10 a.m.