ARKANSAS CITY, Kan. – The Butler men's track and field team took home the Jayhawk West title and finished runner-up at the Region VI Outdoor Championships on Saturday at Cowley Athletic Complex.
The Grizzlies won five events and had four runner-up finishes during the three-day meet. In Region VI scoring, Butler finished with 181 points, 12 behind champion Barton. Cloud County was third at 144 points, as the Jayhawk West took the top three spots in the regional standings. However, scoring with just West teams, Butler edged Barton 228-212 to win the division championship.
Sophomore Andre Ewers took home two individual honors, winning both the 100 and 200-meter dash. Ewers won the 100-meter event with a time of 10.21 seconds, then followed up with a 20.62 time in the 200.
Akeem Sirleaf was the 400-meter dash champion with a time of 47.02 seconds, while freshman Tyson Penn took first in the high jump (6' 11 ¾"). Sophomore teammate Landon Cuskelly placed second behind Penn, clearing the bar at 6' 9 ¾".
Butler went 1-2-3 to sweep the top honors in the triple jump, with sophomore Elijah Smith winning the event with a leap of 47' 7 ¼" on his final preliminary attempt. Penn was second at 47' 6 ½", while Ade Adefolalu placed third at 47' 3 ½".
In the final race of the championships, the Grizzlies' 4x400-meter relay team of Sirleaf, Jamoul Pierre, Ewers and James Hambrick finished in second with a time of 3:10.64, just 0.13 seconds behind first-place Barton.
Hambrick finished with a pair of individual top-five finishes at the meet, taking third in the 400-meter dash (47.80) and fifth in the 200-meter dash (21.38).
"James really stepped up this weekend," said Butler head coach Ryan Turner. "During indoor season, he missed finals in the 400 and didn't run the 200. He placed third in the 400 running from the slow heat, scored in the 200 and came from behind to almost win the 4x400."
In addition to his win in the 400, Sirleaf placed third in the 200-meter dash with a time of 21.05.
Butler was the only school to have all three competitors place in the 100, 200 and 400-meter events.
In the 110-meter hurdles, sophomore Jhibri Greer had a time of 14.30 seconds to finish in third place.
Saturday's running events opened well for Butler, as Eliud Koech, Emmanuel Biwott and Hillary Kiptoo all placed in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Koech took second-place honors (9:51.09), while Biwott (10:15.59) and Kiptoo (10:30.89) finished fourth and seventh, respectively.
On Friday, the Grizzlies' 4x800-meter relay team of Boniface Kiptoo, Derrick Reid, Joel Santiago and Jake Taylor took third with a time of 7:56.14. Later that evening, Eliud Koech and Emmanuel Biwott both placed in the 10,000-meter run, with Koech finishing fourth with a time of 3:49.95. Biwott crossed the line in seventh at 33:13.85.
In the javelin, Nick Nece and Kendal McGuire finished fourth and fifth, respectively. Nece had a top throw of 168' 7" on his final attempt. McGuire's longest mark came at the end of preliminaries at 165' 5".
Lewis Cain and Keaton McGuire placed fifth and sixth in the two-day decathlon, which finished on Friday. Cain scored 5,392 points while winning the discus event (111' 7") and taking second in the long jump (21' 6 ¾")
McGuire was runner-up in both the discus (103' 8") and javelin (139' 4"), as well as a third-place finish in the pole vault (12' 3 1/2 ").
Butler came into the regional meet with the third-best time in the nation in the 4x100-meter relay, but a baton drop on the second handoff eliminated the Grizzlies from scoring points in the event.
Other Grizzly placers included:
800-meter run – Derrick Reid (1.55.51, 4th), Boniface Kiptoo (1:55.53, 5th).
1,500-meter run – Boniface Kiptoo (4:03,49, fourth)
Long jump – Tyson Penn (23' 8", fifth), Ade Adefolalu (22' 9 ¾",7th)
400-meter dash – Jamoul Pierre (48.16, seventh).
110-meter hurdles – Elijah Smith (15.36, eighth)
High jump – Mason Buckmaster (6' 4", eighth)
400-meter hurdles – Kurth Collins (55.71, eighth)
5,000m run – Eliud Koech (16:31.66, eighth)
"As always, our expectation is to be a podium team," said Turner. "That's never an easy task, but it's the standard we've set for our program. To have a top-three finish (at nationals), we're going to have to stay healthy and have some good things happen."