The three-day meet began Friday with the heptathlon and decathlon. Those events finished up Saturday afternoon when the rest of the meet got underway.
On the men’s side, UNK had a strong day and currently is in third with 36 points. Central Missouri (42) and Pittsburg State (40.5) are ahead of the Lopers with four others between 21-28 points. The UNK women have tallied 17 points to be fifth in a 12-team race. Pitt (77) is running away from the field with MSSU (36) a distant second.
Stapleman (Fairfield) became the sixth Loper man to win an MIAA outdoor title when he cleared a career-best 16-11 to place first in the vault. Already in the Division II top 12 in the event prior to the meet, Stapleman now ranks eighth. Four spots behind in fifth place was Cairo junior Grant Myers (career-best 16-3.25), who tallied five team points and put his name on the national list for the first time this spring.
Next, Elm Creek junior Jacob Bartling was third in both the shot put (58-10.75) and discus (174-4), good for 12 team points. Both are career-best throws and move him to 10th in Division II in the shot and 12th in the discus. UNK tallied three more points when Holdrege redshirt freshman Blake Schroeder finished sixth in the discus (164-9).
Also in the field, Omaha senior Thomas Stopak leaped a career-best 24-0.75 to come in third in the long jump. That big leap makes him an NCAA provisional qualifier for the first time in 2018. Finally on the men’s side, Lincoln senior Mandera Gatwech ran a 48.54 to qualify for the 400 meter finals with Mitchell redshirt freshman Drew Gilliland 10th in the 110 hurdles prelims (15.57).
Kearney native Anna Squiers paced the Loper women with a runner up finish in the discus (152-1). The winner, Jasmine Smith of Pittsburg State, came in at 153-9.
In the shot, Utica junior Mackenzie Crowder was fourth (46-5.50) and Nelson senior Holly Bower fifth (47-5.75) to tally nine total team points. Crowder now ranks 29th on the national list with Bower nine spots back.
Next, Colorado junior Micheala Hoffman qualified for both the 100 (14.35) and 400 (1:02.70) hurdle finals with Auburn senior Melissa Davison fifth (2:16.05) in the 800 meter prelims. Hoffman’s times were both career lows and place her second, in each event, on UNK’s all-time top 10 list.
Finally, Holdrege freshman Baylie Bryant was 11th in a tough pole vault field (11-6.50).
The meet resumes Sunday at 11:30 a.m.