KINGSVILLE, Texas - The Tiffin track & field men had a fantastic final day at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, earning four All-American honors, including National Champions in the 4x100m relay and Jonte Baker in the 100m.
Adding a fourth-place finish for Nikolas Curtiss in the shot put and a fifth-place showing for Cameron Burrows in the high jump, the Dragons scored 29 points on the last day of competition, soaring from 23rd all the way up to fifth as a team. The extraordinary effort brought TU extremely close to securing another trophy, but they dropped out of the top four after the final race of the day, the 4x400m relay, was completed.
Ranked 13th by the USTFCCCA's national rating system coming into the championships, the Dragons outperformed national expectations in a big way, rising to as high as second on the final day before the last few events finished.
The run all started with the 4x100m relay squad. Seeded ninth coming into nationals, the team of Tajarie Arthurton, Jonte Baker, Zion Cross, and Elijah Gauldin advanced out of Thursday's prelims in the eighth and last spot in the final. Unable to run the prelims due to competing in the long jump, Quincy Scott joined the lineup for the final, and teamed up with Baker, Cross, and Gauldin to outrun the rest of the field and claim the title with a time of 40.58 seconds. This is the third-straight year that Tiffin's 4x100 squad finished in the top two at Outdoor Nationals, and the program's first championship in the event.
Baker had about an hour to rest before his other event of the day, the 100m. The junior ran the second-fastest time in the prelims, and entered today's final hoping to defend his Indoor 60m title from March. Baker did just that, flying past the competition and lunging out at the finish line to defeat last year's 100m champion Mobolade Ajomale by just .05 of a second. He knew it right away, throwing up his hands in celebration, as he claimed the unofficial title of the fastest man in Division II. His winning time of 10.17 seconds ties the Tiffin all-time record in the event, equaling teammate Lamar Hargrove's mark from three seasons ago. With two titles on the day, Baker is now a three-time individual National Champion and holds eight All-American honors in his career.
TU's next event to finish was the shot put. The Dragons brought three throwers to Nationals in the event with Nikolas Curtiss, Jabari Bennett, and Eric Jackson. Bennett and Jackson were unable to advance out of the prelims, finishing 10th and 23rd, but Curtiss advanced to the final with the sixth-highest mark after three throws. The sophomore saved his best effort for the final, recording a season-best mark of 18.62 meters on his fourth attempt that would hold up to place fourth and earn him All-American honors. The finish marks the fourth time in four seasons at Tiffin that Curtiss claimed All-American honors, as he also earned top-eight finishes in the shot put at 2018 Indoors, 2018 Outdoors, and 2019 Indoors earlier this year.
The Dragons would score points in all four events they competed in on Saturday, wrapping up with Cameron Burrows in the high jump. After passing on the first height, Burrows cleared 2.04 meters on his first attempt. It took two tries to clear 2.08, but the junior made up for it by clearing the next two heights without a miss. Ensured All-American status with seven jumpers remaining, Burrows was able to clear a career-best and program record 2.17 meters on his third try and finished fifth overall. The finish adds to what is already a highly-decorated career in a Dragon uniform, earning his seventh All-American honor and fifth in the event.
Tiffin finishes the meet with seven All-Americans, as Davis Bowers (pole vault, tied for sixth) and Tristen Durr (hammer, eighth) earned honors on Thursday and Eric Jackson finished seventh in the discus on Friday.