LIBERTY, Mo. — Meghan Jones didn’t compete in her full slate of events. The Bellarmine University track and field senior didn’t need to either in order to make a forceful impression Saturday at the Great Lakes Valley Conference Outdoor Championships.
Competing at Greene Stadium on the campus of William Jewell, Jones shattered the conference record in the 400-meter dash and helped the 4×100 relay team accomplish the same feat on her way to being named GLVC co-Athlete of the Year alongside Lewis’ Chantel Stennis.
Bellarmine’s women had a host of All-GLVC performances en route to a third-place team finish (129 points) as Indianapolis (181.33) upset 19th-ranked Lewis (177.33) to claim the title. On the men’s side, Knights sophomore Davis Hallberg captured the championship in the pole vault as the Knights placed 10th (31) while Missouri S&T (174) easily outdistanced Lewis (105) for the team title.
Jones garnered Athlete of the Year accolades at the indoor conference meet and likely would have had the outdoor award all to herself had her foot not started to bother her after the 400. As a precautionary measure, Jones was held out of the 200 and the 4×400 relay, but not before she burst past the finish line in an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 53.69 to win the 400. The All-American destroyed the previous GLVC record in the event of 55.15 set in 2009 by Missouri S&T’s Aubrey Moore.
“The races she ran she certainly dominated,” BU Coach Kris Horton said in praise of Jones.
The Knights’ 4×100 relay team made history as well. Jones, freshman Meghan Roby, senior Olivia Wrocklage and junior Cidnei Johnson combined for a first-place finish in 45.97. It was an NCAA provisional mark and broke the previous conference record of 46.27 set by Indianapolis in 2005.
Junior Courtney McIntyre redshirted during the indoor season but returned to become the GLVC champion in the shot put with an NCAA provisional throw of 13.69 meters. Points are accumulated in each event for a top-eight finish, and McIntyre also scored in the hammer throw by placing eighth.
The top two in each event are awarded All-GLVC status. Runner-ups for the Knights included Johnson in the 100 (NCAA provisional 11.95), senior Flannery Musk in the 1500 (NCAA provisional 4:32.83), freshman Amanda Schnabel in the 400 hurdles (NCAA provisional 1:02.07) and freshman Bridgette Mangold in the pole vault. Johnson, junior Tori Goodwin, Schnabel and Roby also placed second in the 4×400 relay.
In basically any other year, senior Emily Frith would have won the GLVC title in the 5000. Her 16:59.12 was easily an NCAA provisional mark and bested the previous conference record of 17:06.10 by Lewis’ Kasie Arient way back in 1997. However, Frith had to settle for runner-up after Southern Indiana’s Julia Kohnen ran a 16:50.54 to win the title. Frith also placed third in the 1500.
“I felt like we showed up to compete and definitely had a lot of high points,” Horton said.
Other top-eight finishes that brought in points for the Knights came from: Johnson (third place, 200), Roby (third, 100; fourth, 200), Schnabel (fifth, 100 hurdles), Wrocklage (seventh, 200; eighth, 100; eighth, 400), Musk (third, 800), Goodwin (fifth, 400), freshman Sarah Schuster (sixth, 800), senior Rachel Rawson (eighth, 800), sophomore Abigail Harris (fifth, pole vault) and junior Sydney Race (eighth, long jump).
On the men’s side, Bellarmine placed two athletes in the top four of the pole vault. Hallberg won with a vault of 4.68 meters. Junior Brian Ullrich nabbed a fourth place in the event.
Senior Ben Kolb came up just shy of his third GLVC title in the decathlon, finishing as the runner-up with 6,486 points to Missouri S&T’s Trevor King (6,542). Like Frith, Kolb beat the previous GLVC record in the event (6,428 by William Jewell’s Logan Pettz in 2012) only to see a competitor also top the mark but in greater fashion. Kolb amassed an NCAA provisional total. The four-time All-GLVC performer in the decathlon placed first in the shot put, discus and javelin and placed second in the 100, 1500 and pole vault.
Freshman Jordan Fields barely missed out on All-GLVC status, but his 14.58 in the 110 hurdles was an NCAA provisional mark and good for third.
Junior Cody Parks (1500) and sophomore Nick Christensen (5000) both scored for the Knights with eighth-place finishes.
“I think across the board we got really solid performances,” Horton said. “I think everybody stepped up, and we were pretty pleased as a whole from the effort we got from everybody.”
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