By Matt Green
MARION, Ind. – This time, it was almost expected. But even the fact that most people were fully anticipating another national championship from the Shorter men's track and field team didn't make the latest accomplishment any less sweet.
Randy Dameron and Daniel Sorenson coasted to individual titles in the 400 meter dash and 3,000 meter steeplechase, respectively, and Shorter's 4x100 meter relay team of Allen Huntley, Bradley Moon, Nigel Talton and Kirk Wilson cruised to another national title as the Hawks rolled to their second consecutive team crown at the 2012 NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships, which concluded from Indiana Wesleyan in Marion, Ind., on Saturday.
Shorter, a heavy favorite entering this year's national championship meet, put on the show that everyone had been looking forward to, compiling 93 points to finish well ahead of runner-up Azusa Pacific (69 points). The Hawks racked up a new program-best point total at a national meet on the shoulders of three more national championship performances.
Sorenson set the tone by winning the steeplechase for his first individual national championship.
The junior outdueled teammate Oscar Ogwaro for the title, but just barely. Sorenson ran 8:58.44 to nip Ogwaro, a national champion in his own right after winning the 5,000 meter run at the 2011 NAIA Indoor Championships, who crossed the line .09 seconds behind Sorenson in a time of 8:58.53. The pair also finished 1-2 at the Mid-South Conference Championships in April and scored 18 big points for the Hawks by repeating the feat in Marion.
Shorter's 4x100 meter relay team was next, edging Azusa Pacific for the national title. Huntley, Moon, Talton and Wilson turned in a time of 39.80 seconds while Azusa Pacific coasted in at 39.90 to place second by a slim margin.
Dameron didn't need to worry about a close finish. The junior ran 45.95 to best Soka's Gianni Vernon-Reynolds (46.24) for the individual championship. The championship was the first for Dameron, who entered the national meet as a popular favorite to win the 400.
The Hawks got several strong performances from other team members to piggyback on the three national title efforts.
Ogwaro made it two runner-up outings by finishing second in the 10,000 meter run on Thursday. He posted a time of 30:39.69.
Wilson ran second in the 200 meter dash (20.95) and Shorter's 4x800 meter relay team of Carlos Perez, Peter Limo, Allen O'Neal and Eliud Ng'etich turned in a second place finish in 7:30.45. Trebor Holmes, the NAIA Indoor high jump national champion, jumped 24 feet, 9.25 inches to place third, then turned around and placed third in the 100 meter hurdles (14.32) to total 12 points for the Hawks.
Shorter's 93 points came without a contribution from its highly touted 4x400 team, which was disqualified in the preliminaries and did not have a chance to point. Even with that minor setback, however, the Hawks demonstrated their dominance of men's track and field on the NAIA level in the team's final appearance at the NAIA national meet – Shorter is headed for NCAA Division II next year.
More details to follow later this evening.