PITTSBURG, Kan. (March 9, 2018) - The Colorado State University-Pueblo men's track and field distance medley relay team finished as the national runner-up for the second time in the last four years at the NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships, as the ThunderWolves missed out on a national title by 0.44 seconds Friday.
With eight points from the DMR, the No. 12 Pack men are tied for ninth after day one of the championships, held at the Robert W. Plaster Center in Pittsburg, Kansas and hosted by Pittsburg State University and the Crawford County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The foursome of Thomas Staines (So., Colorado Springs, Colo.), Dueth Vassell (Sr., Denver, Colo.), Devundrick Walker (Jr., Aurora, Colo.) and Derrick Williams (Sr., Columbia Falls, Mont.) led for the majority of the race and finished with a time of 9:41.84, just off the winning time of 9:41.40 by now back-to-back DMR champions, Western Oregon University.
Staines got things started in the opening 1200m leg of the race and took the lead with about 400m to go before handing the baton off to Vassell. He maintained the lead with his 400m time and allowed Walker to keep the advantage in his 800m leg. The lead group closed on the ThunderWolves, as Walker handed off to Williams for the final 1600m. Williams held the lead until two laps left when Grand Valley State University took a small advantage. Western Oregon was not in the picture until the final lap when they closed on the two leaders and took the lead on the final turn of the track. Williams pushed to stay with him, but in the end, they would finish second for the second time in four years and post a top three finish for the third time in four years.
Vassell, Walker and Williams have been a member of the team in all three years to gather another All-American recognition. CSU-Pueblo edged GVSU's time of 9:41.92 to claim the runner-up honors. Adams State University, who edged the ThunderWolves at the 2015 indoor championships by .03 seconds (9:41.82 to 9:41.79), were fourth. The Pack's time was seven seconds faster than the facility record, but off Western Oregon's record time of 9:40.15, set last year in a photo finish with ASU.
Earlier in the day, Staines won his heat and posted the fastest time (1:50.63) in the 800m prelims to advance to tomorrow's final at 5:25 p.m. MST. Walker finished 13th in the event with a time of 1:53.18.
Junior Marcelo Laguera (Chihuahua, Mexico) ran in the stacked 5000m run and finished 12th with a time of 14:33.06. He will earn All-America Second Team honors from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, which will be announced next week. Thirteen of the 19 participants were from the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, while nine of the top 12 finishers were from the league. Sydney Gidabuday of Adams State was the national champion.
Senior Angelique Urenda (Pueblo, Colo.) made her first appearance at the indoor national championships in the pole vault and finished 19th. She cleared the 3.57m (11-8 ½) height on her last attempt, but failed to clear the bar at 3.72m (12-2 ½).
In addition to Staines running the 800m final, Williams will run the 3000m race at 6:05 p.m. MST Saturday.
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As a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, Colorado State University – Pueblo competes in 22 varsity sports in NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletics.