Levi Convirs, Sports Information Director
MARYVILLE, Mo. – The Friends University Falcon Women’s Indoor Track and Field squad extended their dominance with their fifth straight KCAC Indoor championship, while the Men’s Falcons posted a solid runner-up finish on the campus of Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Mo.
With the Falcons winning the title, head coach Cole Davis was named the KCAC Coach of the Year and Lauren Doll (JR/Leon, Kan.) was honored as the Women’s Athlete of the Meet.
The Falcon women won the event with 224 points, a full 120 points clear of second place Saint Mary.
Doll put together a memorable performance in the Falcons’ championship win, winning both the Triple Jump (11.41m) and Long Jump (5.60m) and finishing second in the 60 Hurdles (9.19). She was also fifth in the High Jump (1.52m) and helped the 4×400 relay team to a third-place finish (3:59.27).
Shelby Hundley (SR/Bern, Kan.) was also a critical component of the Falcons’ winning effort, winning the 800 meters with a school record time of 2:17.57 and 60 Hurdles (9.13), while being a part of the team’s first-place 4×800 relay team (9:45.77).
Along with her first-place 60 Hurdle finish, Hundley also recorded national qualifying marks in the 400 meters (57.58) and 800 meters.
Christa Titus (SR/Grinnell, Iowa) and Miranda Tenove (JR/Gardner, Kan.) also notched conference championships for the Falcons, with Titus winning the 1000 meters (3:10.12) and Tenove coming in first in the 600 meters (1:38.37). Titus was also within the top five in the mile run (fourth, 5:24.03) and the 3000 meters (fifth, 11:00.33), while Tenove came in third in the 1000 meters (3:13.86). The 1000 meter run also featured a sixth-place finish from Payton Reaves (JR/Wichita, Kan.) and an eighth-place showing by Jaelyn Casanova (JR/Wichita, Kan.).
The Falcons also got a conference championship win from Makayla Hollis (JR/Conway Springs, Kan.), who won the pole vault for the third time in her career.
The 60 Hurdle final was littered with Falcons, as Elaina Henderson (SO/San Antonio, Texas) (fourth, 9.72), Alexus Edwards (FR/Sterling, Kan.) (fifth, 9.96), and Taylor Brannen(JR/Garber, Okla.) (eighth) all added valuable points to Hundley and Doll’s 1-2 finish.
Jaylen Knight (FR/Omaha, Neb.) gave the Falcons a solid all-around performance at the KCAC meet, earning a runner-up in the 200 meters (25.70), along with top-five finishes in the 60 meters (third, 7.88), and the 400 meters (fifth, 57.70 – National “B” Standard).
Nicole Ballard (SO/Haviland, Kan.) put together a pair of top-four finishes in the 3000 meters (10:57.18) and the 5000 meters (18:55.42).
Taylor Brannen was the runner-up in the High Jump (1.57m), while Reaves was part of the Falcons’ top-five finishing Distance Medley Relay team (13:54.08). Casanova, Kara Zahariades (SO/Phoenix, Arizona) and Grace Garrison (FR/Clearwater, Kan.) also comprised the Distance Medley relay squad for Friends.
In the shot put, the Falcons had three of the top six finishers, led by Kortney Schutt (JR/Haysville, Kan.)’s third place showing (13.15). Jessica DeWeese (JR/Pratt, Kan.) was fourth with a huge personal best over 42′ (12.86) and Cassie Loesch came in sixth (12.01). Lauren Hills (JR/Wichita, Kan.) brought home a bronze medal performance in the Weight Throw for the Falcons with a toss over 48′, while Schutt and Makenzie Burns (FR/Goddard, Kan.) finished in fourth and eighth respectively.
On the men’s side, the Falcons compiled 146.5 points, 38.5 behind conference champion Saint Mary.
Cadin Gustafson (SO/Derby, Kan.) won the conference championship in the Long Jump (6.85m) and David Loucks (SR/Halstead, Kan.) came in first in the weight throw (16.58m). Gustafson was also third in the Triple Jump (13.73m) and fifth in the pole vault (3.70m).
Chiante Stewart (FR/Calhan, Co.) came up huge in three field events, winning the conference title in the Triple Jump (14.06m – National Qualifier) and finishing third in the Long Jump (6.77m) and fourth in the High Jump (1.89m).
Avery Stuever (FR/Wichita, Kan.) recorded a runner-up finish in the 600 meters (1:20.80 – National Qualifier) while helping the Falcons 4×400 relay team post a top-five finish (3:28.96). Stuever was joined on the team by Gustafson, Gabe Kuhn (SO/Andale, Kan.) and Logan White (JR/Wichita, Kan.).
White also teamed up with Seth Carinder (FR/Cherryvale, Kan.), Brett Martin (SR/Wichita, Kan.) and Nathan Mier (FR/Wichita, Kan.) for a third place finish in the Distance Medley Relay (10:52.76). Martin also came in fourth in the open 800 meters (2:01.25).
In the 4×800 relay, it was Martin, Kuhn, Stuever, and Isaac Sprague (SR/Concordia, Kan.) finishing as the conference runners-up with a season best time of 7:56.13.
Noah Myers (SO/Pratt, Kan.) was all over the place for the Falcons, finishing second in the Long Jump (6.79m), third in the 60 meters (6.92) and fourth in the Triple Jump (13.30m).
Cory Douglass (SR/Guthrie, Okla.) posted a third place finish in the weight throw (15.93m) and was fourth in the Shot Put (14.25m), followed by Isaac Campbell (FR/Sedan, Kan.) in the fifth spot in the Shot Put (14.02m).
Jones finished fifth in the mile run (4:27.54) and the 600 meter race saw Isaac Sprague notch a sixth-place finish for the Falcons (1:23.82). Alex Viscarra (JR/Wichita, Kan.) produced a top-10 finish in the 800 meters.
Off the track, Titus and Martin were honored as the Falcons’ Champions of Character recipients.
“I am incredibly proud of the way both our men’s and women’s programs competed this weekend,” Friends head coach Cole Davis said.
“On the men’s side we met or exceeded our projections in almost every single event which gave us an opportunity to chase a really tough and talented St. Mary Team. In the end, they were just a deeper team in the distance events and ran way with the title late on day two. We saw some things we can definitely improve on as we head into the outdoor season, but overall I was very proud of our energy and effort all weekend – We had some outstanding individual performances.”
“Our women continued to show their dominance in the KCAC by competing as one unit, and sacrificing individual marks for team points. Our seniors and our captains showed up big for us all weekend and continued to improve on their season best marks. We look like we are ready for some breakout performances at the national meet in two weeks.”
The Falcons will now begin preparing for the NAIA Indoor National Championship meet, which will begin on Feb. 28 at South Dakota State University in Brookings, S.D.