LEVELLAND, Texas – The Butler men's track and field team is taking home hardware after finishing third at the NJCAA National Champions at South Plains College on Thursday.
South Plains won the national title with 146 points, while Iowa Central was second with 89. Butler and Hinds (Miss.) finished tied for third at 64 points apiece.
It is Butler's highest finish since placing third at the 1996 national meet.
Butler was led by two national championship performances – both including Eli Hall-Thompson. He ran 10.18 in the prelims of the 100 meter dash and then bettered that to run 10.16 in the finals to win the title. It is his second national championship after winning the 60 meter dash at indoor nationals.
Hall-Thompson very nearly won a third national title, finishing as the runner-up in the 200 meter dash at 20.37 – a time that qualifies him for the Olympic trials.
Butler had two of the top three finishers in the 100 meter dash. In addition to having the national champion, Butler also had the third-place finisher in Xavier Atkins, running 10.18.
In the 200, Butler put two in the top four and three in the top 13. Akeem Sirleaf placed fourth in a time of 20.96 while Lamarion Arnold was 13th in 21
Off the track, Landon Cuskelly just missed a national title in the high jump. He was tied with Samuel Shoultz of Pima at 2.15 meter (7 feet, ½ inch) and had cleared the height in fewer attempts. Shoultz, however, cleared 7-1 ¾ on his final attempt to win the title, leaving Cuskelly as the national runner-up.
Mohammed Abubakar scored in two events for Butler. In the long jump, he was the national runner-up at 25-2.75. In the triple jump, he was fifth in the triple jump in 15.36 meters. (50 feet, 4.75 inches). Teammate Elijah Smith just missed scoring in the triple jump as he finished ninth at 48 4.75.
Women finish ninth
On the women's side, Butler had three top-10 finishers and placed ninth nationally with 24.5 points. The Grizzlies were the second-highest Kansas team behind Barton, which placed sixth.
Butler's highest individual finish was Valeriya Kostiuk, who was the national runner-up in the high jump at 5-7.75.
Butler had two scorers in the pole vault, led by Rachael Buzanowski's third-place finish at 11 feet, 3.75 inches. Madison McLaughlin tied for sixth at 10-8.
Kristina Vujanic finished sixth in the open 400 in 1:03.43.
Sheila Samoi finished sixth in the 10,000 meter run in 40:44.12, while Alex Fulton was 27th in 45:12.42. Samoi also ran in the 5,000 where she was 17th in 19:53.39.
Other finishers include Alexxis Milner, who placed seventh in the heptathlon. Angel Malone was 10th in the long jump at 18-4.25. Janie Salinas was 17th in the 3000 steeplechase in 13:08.73. Ona Giles was 20th in the 100 meter dash in 12.22.
The 4x400 relay team of Vujanic, Courtney Willis, Helen Thames and Angel Malone was 13th in 4:00.68.