Making history is becoming routine for Tiffin University's men's track and field squad.
For the second consecutive year, the Dragons won the NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field National Championship, once again doing so by coming up big in late events on the final day of competition.
After opening with 28 points on day one, the Dragons topped it on the final day, amassing 32 points on the day to edge Ashland 63-52 for the title.
"After last year, it was totally something we put in our list of goals for the next year," said Head Coach Jeremy Croy. "Our team was completely different. Coming into this meet, we were only supposed to score 38 points, and there were two teams ahead of us who were supposed to score 64 and 63 points."
Things started off with a bang for TU in the 60 meters, where Reginald Thomas finished 2nd in a blistering 6.65 while Jonte Baker crossed the line in 3rd in 6.67. The duo totaled 14 points for the Dragons and expanded their lead.
Dylan Cornwell also got Tiffin another point with a 8th place finish in the pole vault, clearing 16-6.75. Heading into the shot put competition, TU held a 47-44 lead over the Eagles.
The shot put competition was highly anticipated heading into Nationals, as both teams have two of the top throwing squads in the nation. Coy Blair, Jay Feuerstein, and Davion Bowers lead the Dragons, with Blair already having won a Championship in the Weight Throw on day one.
After the opening flights were finished, Blair and Bowers remained for TU in the finals, while two of Ashland's three throwers failed to make the cut. When the event was over, Blair had won his second NCAA Championship of 2017, posting a win with a put of 62-0.50. Ashland took second, giving TU a 57-52 lead with 2 events left.
"The title feels good," said Blair. "I got an unexpected one on Thursday in the weight throw but shot is my thing so it feels good to go out with the title. The DII Festival atmosphere is great to be here with others competing for my school."
James Ngandu was TU's athlete in the 3000 meters, while Ashland was competing in the 4x400 relay. But Ngandu made Ashland's race irrelevant, as he crossed the line in 3rd place in 8:03.29, giving TU 6 more points and pushing their lead to 63-52. Ashland had no way to catch the Dragons even with a first place finish.
"We came up with some unbelievable, unbelievable points in events that – being here is one thing, but going from 15th to 3rd in an event… we had several guys really step up and score unexpected points. They competed unbelievably," said Croy. "We didn't have a relay this year, and we were pretty nervous about that. But we made sure we took care of business beforehand. We came here for points and we came out here with a lot more than expected."
In women's action earlier, Mary Boyden finished 8th overall in the shot put with a throw of 47-10.75.
"It was a total team effort," said Croy. "Doing it the right way without shortcuts. Coaches were on point daily and the athletes followed suit. This was an underdog performance for sure. We came close to doubling our expected points. It all started with a true team GLIAC championship and we kept the momentum throughout all three days here."
List of Tiffin First Team All-Americans (Top 8 finish)
James Ngandu - 5000 meters (2nd)
James Ngandu - 3000 meters (3rd)
Coy Blair - Weight Throw (1st)
Coy Blair - Shot Put (1st)
Marquise Corbett - Long Jump (1st)
Cameron Burrows - High Jump (5th)
Reginald Thomas - 60 meters (2nd)
Jonte Baker - 60 meters (3rd)
Dylan Cornwell - Pole Vault (8th)
Mary Boyden - Shot Put (8th)