SUU Track & Field emerged victorious from the Summit League Indoor Championship as the men's team claimed the title with 142 points over second-place Oral Roberts' 118. The win also earned head coach Eric Houle his 33rd Summit League Coach of the Year award.
"To win the conference championship is really an opportunity to celebrate what this team has been accomplishing this season," Houle said. "It's a great example of the caliber of athletes we have at Southern Utah."
Senior distance leader Cameron Levins earned the title of Track Championship MVP after finishing first in the 800-meter finals, mile run and 5,000-meter run during Saturday's competition. Levins' 800-meter time of 1:50.81 set a new record for the Summit League and Southern Utah, while his mile time of 4:10.26 and 5,000-meters time of 14:35.15 set new facility records for IPFW. Levins also led the distance field on Friday with a first-place time of 8:19.29 in the 3,000-meter run.
Freshman Austin West followed Levins closely, finishing second with a 5,000-meter time of 14:39.70 and third with a mile time of 4:13.60 on the second day of the championship. West also finished second in the 3,000-meter run on Friday, following Levins with a time of 8:21.37. For his efforts, West was named male Newcomer of the Championship.
Nate Jewkes, Ryan Barrus and Devan Antczak also tallied points for the T-Birds in the distance events. Jewkes raced to a fourth-place finish in the 5,000-meters with a time of 14:41.18 on Saturday, having also recorded a fifth-place time of 8:24.02 in the 3,000-meters on Friday. Barrus followed closely in the 5,000-meters, finishing fifth in 14:49.76 while Antczak finished fifth in the mile in 4:14.78.
The sprinters were led by Shaun Murray, who finished first in the 60-meter dash final with a time of 6.96. Murray also competed in the 200-meter dash final, finishing second in 22.15. Preston Myers finished next for the T-Birds in the 60-meters, recording a sixth-place time of 7.14 seconds.
Sprinters Erik Peterson, Jarred Finn, Julian Robinson and Daniel Keller represented the T-Birds in the 4x400-meter relay. The team finished fourth at the championship with a time of 3:23.19.
Wade Nielson was the only Southern Utah athlete to compete in the men's heptathlon, finishing second with a school record score of 5015 points. Nielson led the field in the high jump portion of the heptathlon, clearing a height of 6-10.25 and setting a second-place SUU record. Nielson also competed in the regular high jump at the championship, where he tied for second place with a height of 6-9.
Thrower Chris Johnson also helped the T-Birds to the victory, tallying points with a second-place overall finish in the shot put and a toss of 53-10.5.
Most of the Thunderbirds will now open the outdoor season with the UNLV Invitational on Mar. 3 in Las Vegas, Nev. Several members of the team will continue the indoor season in Seattle, Wash., at the UW Last Chance Qualifier on Mar. 3, in preparation for the NCAA Nationals. The national championship is set to take place on Mar. 9-10 in Boise, Idaho.