PITTSBURG, Kan. - For the second straight year, the Butler men's track and field team took top honors at the Region VI Indoor Championships, which was held Friday and Saturday at the Robert W. Plaster Center at Pittsburg State University.
With seven first-place victories and four runner-up finishes, the fifth-ranked Grizzlies won the region title with 172 points, outscoring runner-up Cloud County by 14 points. Barton finished third in the standings with 129 points. Cloud came into the meet ranked third nationally, while Barton was fourth.
"Beating two of the top four programs in the nation enroute to winning a region title is no easy task," said Butler head coach Ryan Turner. "Our men competed extremely hard. They were tired and beaten up, but never gave up."
Butler won the Jayhawk West title with 215 points, while Cloud (179) and Barton (160) were second and third. Coffeyville won the East title, beating runner-up Cowley 202-164.
In addition to winning the meet, Butler set a pair of meet records on Saturday. Sophomore sprinter Quintaveon Poole broke the Region VI record in the 400-meter dash with a time of 46.44 seconds, while the 4x400-meter relay team (Akeem Sirleaf, James Hambrick, Andre Ewers and Poole) ran a 3:11.70 in the final race of the meet.
Ewers also took top honors in both the 60-meter and 200-meter finals. The sophomore set a school record during Friday's 60m preliminaries with a time of 6.65 seconds, then ran a 6.66 in Saturday's finals. Ewers crossed the finish line in the 200 in 21.21 seconds.
In field events, Landon Cuskelly (high jump) and Tyson Penn (triple jump) won their respective events. Cuskelly and Penn finished 1-2 in the high jump event on Friday, as both cleared the bar at 6' 10-1/2", but Cuskelly received first-place honors on the tiebreaker. Mason Buckmaster also placed seventh, clearing 6' 4-3/4".
Penn leaped 48' 2-1/2" in his final preliminary in Saturday's triple jump, which edged out teammate and runner-up finisher Elijah Smith (47' 9-3/4"). Ade Adefolalu also placed fourth in the event with a jump of 46' 11-1/2".
Butler dominated the sprints portion of the meet, with three placers in both the 60 and 200-meter events. The Grizzlies went 1-2 in the 60m dash, as Ewers (6.66) and Travis Collins (6.69) took top honors. Akeem Sirleaf also placed seventh, crossing the line at 6.92 seconds.
In the 200-meter dash, Butler had three runners place in the top four. Along with Ewers' victory, Sirleaf and Poole finished third and fourth, respectively, with a time of 21.31 seconds. Sirleaf added a fifth-place finish in the 400-meter dash along with Poole's meet-setting run.
Boniface Kiptoo placed in three different events, including a runner-up finish in the 1,000-meter run (2:33.25), while Joel Santiago was eighth (2:39.67). Kiptoo also finished fifth in both the 800-meter (1:56.15) and 1-mile events (4:24.46). Reid also added a seventh-place finish in the 1-mile (4:27.87).
In the 5,000-meter run, Eliud Koech placed third with a time of 15:43.44, while Emmanuel Biwott was fourth at 15:54.25. Koech (9:02.36, fourth) and Biwott (9:06.76, seventh) also placed in Friday's 3,000-meter run.
On Friday, Butler placed third in the distance medley relay (Joel Santiago, Poole, Reid and Boniface Kiptoo) with a time of 10:19.25, while Colin Reichenberger finished fourth in the pole vault (13' 9-1/4"). Elijah Smith took fifth in the long jump (22' 6-1/2").
Reichenberger also placed fifth in the heptathlon with 4,068 points, which included a runner-up finish in the pole vault at 13' 7-1/4". The sophomore also finished third in the shot put (34' 10-1/4").
Butler will next compete in the NJCAA Indoor Championships, which also will be held at Pittsburg State University. The two-day meet will run on March 3-4.
"This region meet was a hard fought meet," said Turner. "We need to get rested, recovered and be ready to do it all over again in two weeks. I think our kids are poised for a top-five finish, and if things go our way, possibly even in the top three."