The Barton Community College men’s track and field team captured their twenty-seventh Region VI Indoor Championship this past Sunday at Ahearn Field House in Manhattan. The Cougars received a thirty-eight point individual performance but had to win the last race of the day in the always exciting 4X400m Relay to earn the title with 120 points in distancing second place Coffeyville Community College’s 114 points.
“This entire group of individuals, from the coaching staff, down to the student-athletes, men and women, have united as a family,” said Head Coach David Schenek. “When we do that, we have a great shot of doing special things.”
Sampson Laari, who earned both the Athlete of the Meet and Most Points Scored honors, led the way scoring thirty eight points in winning three events and placing second in another. The sophomore from Ghana began the meet with a runner up finish in the 5000m in 15:21.92. From there Laari dominated the middle distances, earning individual titles in the 800m in 1:57.36 and finishing his day with an impressive win in the 1000m at 2:31.57, the eighth best time in school history. In an exciting Mile race Laari, was paced to a 4:23.7 victory by freshmen teammate Devyn Brotherton who would finish in 4th place with a time of 4:26.41.
The most exciting event of the day proved to be the last as Barton and Coffeyville were tied for the team lead with 110 team points. The Cougars 4x400m team of Deron Gordon, Deandre Henderson, Quick Stukes, and Kennedy Mayweather had the No. 1 seed time of 3:15.66 with Coffeyville holding the second best seed time of 3:18.28. In the first leg, Gordon ran neck and neck with Coffeyville’s Marcelle Preston. Henderson would give the Cougars a slight lead on the second leg, but it was Stukes who gapped the Ravens by five seconds on the third leg. With Coffeyville dropping back to an eventual fifth placing in the race, Mayweather took the final handoff with a comfortable lead cruising around the track to give Barton both the 4x400m and the team title by outdistancing second place Cloud County Community College by two seconds as the Cougars clocked the nation’s sixth best time of 3:15.66.
Henderson led the Cougar sprinters with a second place finish in the 400m in a time of 48.44 and a 5th place finish in the 60m in 6.88 seconds. Mayweather ran a new personal best in the 400m to finish 5th in 49.38, while Alex Richemond captured a runner-up finish in the 200m at 22.23. Richemond would also go on to leap a 3rd place distance of 7.01m (23′-00.00) in the Long Jump. Barton dominated the 600m with the duo of Gordon and Stukes as Gordon took home a runner-up time of 1:20.81 while Stukes ran 1:21.39 to finish 4th.
Brotherton, who had helped paced Laari in the Mile race, picked up a fourth place finish as Barton lone entry in the 3000m, breaking the line in a personal best 8:54.55. Anthony Forrest picked up team points in the 800m, finishing 8th with a time of 1:59.52, as Barton really showed their middle distance depth in the relays. The 4x800m team of Tony Perez, Brady Holler, Elder Colindres, and Forrest ran to a 7th place finish in a time of 8:10.06, while the Distance Medley Relay team of Kole Stiner, Colindres, Micah Carey, and Tyler Thornton finished in 5th with a time of 10:18.29.
In the throws the Cougar big men Antoine Romario and Alireza Rafiei garnered 6th and 8th place in the Shot Put with throws of 14.78m (48-06.00) and 14.70m (48-02.75) respectively. After finishing 9th in the Shot Put, Donald Daley picked up a 4th place finish in the Weight Throw with a 16.02m (52-06.75) throw.
The Cougars look to carry the momentum return to the NJCAA Indoor Championships to be held March 6-7 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Although Barton has a young squad, the coaching staff has high expectations for the program.
“Now we move forward towards nationals and continue to strive towards establishing our place amongst the elite ranks again,” said Coach Schenek addressing his team following the championship.