ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The Butler Grizzlies track and field team ended the 2015 indoor season by medaling in six events – including a runner-up finish – at the NJCAA National Indoor Championships this past weekend at the Albuquerque Convention Center.
The men's distance medley relay team of sophomores Kennedy Chumba, Luke Johnston and freshman Albert Meier and Emmanuel Mwewa placed second with a time of 10:11.28. The quartet was less than two seconds from a first-place finish, as Central Arizona won the race in 10:09.31.
In the men's 4x800-meter relay, Chumba, Meier and Johnston – along with freshman Shevon Blair – placed third with a 7:54.59 time. South Plains won the event, but the next six placers in the relay were KJCCC schools, with Colby, Butler, Barton and Coffeyville rounding out the top five in the race.
Sophomore Terra Flores brought home two medals on the women's side, placing fifth in the 5,000-meter run and eighth in the 3,000-meter run. Flores just missed out on a third medal, as she was part of the women's 4x800-meter relay team (Sophomores Hayley Ribordy, Tricia Trupe and freshman Kristina Vujanic) that finished ninth on Saturday. Flores also finished 14th in the one-mile run.
Butler had two freshman medal in the men's long jump, as Mohammed Abubakar and Mikhail Micheaux took fifth and sixth, respectively. In his first jump, Akubakar had his longest mark of 24 feet, 1 inch. Micheaux was just two inches back, leaping 23 feet, 11 inches in his third attempt.
Freshman Eli Hall-Thompson took eighth in the men's 60-meter dash, although he pulled up with an injury during Saturday's finals. Hall-Thompson won both of his heats in the 60m and 200-meter dash during Friday's preliminaries, but withdrew from the 200 after suffering the injury in the 60. In Friday's 60m heat, Hall-Thompson ran a season-best 6.70 seconds and was seeded fourth in the finals. He also had the third-best time in the 200m prelims, crossing the line in 21.26 seconds. He won both events at the Region VI Indoor Championships.
Other top-10 finishers were Meier in the men's 3,000-meter run (ninth, 8:57.56) and freshman Rachael Buzanowski in the women's pole vault (10th, 10'-0").
The Butler men finished 14th overall with 22 points, while the women finished tied for 19th with five points. South Plains (TX) took home both titles, finishing with 136 points for the men and 143 on the women's side.
The Grizzlies open the 2015 outdoor season this Thursday by hosting the second annual Butch Reynolds Invitational at BG Products Veterans Sports Complex. Field events begin at 11 a.m., while track events will start at 1 p.m.