MARION, Ind. (Feb. 15, 2013) – Oklahoma Christian won its seventh national title in the distance medley relay and three Eagles finished in the top eight in the 5,000 meters on the opening night of the National Christian College Athletic Association Indoor Championships on Friday.
Those strong showings, as well as top-seven finishes by long jumper Tracy Marshall and thrower Larry Brown, had the Eagles atop the team leaderboard with 29 points, two ahead of McMurry (Texas). Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) was third with 25, while Azusa Pacific (Calif.) was fourth with 23.
OC’s distance medley relay team of Roberto Diaz, Ryan Lutterloh, Nick Stoots and Brayden Barrientez finished in 10:15.92, shattering the NCCAA record of 10:18.32, set last year by California Baptist, and the Troyer Fieldhouse record of 10:17.03, set by Indiana Wesleyan in 2008
Diaz took the lead in the 1,200-meter leadoff leg and Lutterloh held that lead during his 400-meter leg. Stoots held his own until the final lap of his 800-meter leg and OC trailed by about a second when Barrientez took the baton for the 1,600-meter anchor leg.
He took the lead on the seventh lap of his leg and coasted to the finish line. Azusa Pacific was second in 10:16.75, with Olivet Nazarene third among the 13 teams in 10:17.31.
OC previously won NAIA titles in the DMR in 1977, 1978, 1979, 1981, 1983 and 1984.
In the 5,000 meters, OC senior Geoffrey Njonjo finished in 14:47.98, breaking the former NCCAA record by more than three seconds, but he only finished second behind Nathan Martin of Spring Arbor (Mich.), who won in 14:41.17.
Four runners posted times that now will be among the 10 fastest ever in the NCCAA 5,000, including OC senior David McWilliams, who was fourth overall (and now 10th in NCCAA history) with a time of 15:09.52.
OC freshman Bryant Keirns also scored a team point for the Eagles in the race, finishing eighth among the 21 runners in 15:35.77. OC’s Trent Stephens was 15th in 16:18.40.
In the long jump, Marshall uncorked a career-best leap of 7.09 meters, which earned him a sixth-place finish behind the winner, Desmond Williams of McMurry, who jumped 7.43 meters.
Brown didn’t quite match his season-best throw but still took seventh in the weight throw with a mark of 15.64 meters. His teammate, Connor Lankford, was 15th among the 28 competitors, posting a top throw of 13.56 meters.
The Eagles’ 4x200-meter relay team of Trent Parker, Lutterloh, Winston Ogletree and Jamal George took 10th out of 17 teams with a time of 1:33.72.
OC’s other competitor on Friday night was freshman Austin Wallace. After four of the seven events in the heptathlon, Wallace was third with 2,652 points and seemed in good position to earn points for the Eagles in that event.