It doesn’t get much more thrilling than one race to determine a champion. Win and the title is in the bag.
Win the Barton Community College men’s track team did.
With just the 4x400m relay left the Region VI indoor title came down to a battle between Barton and Coffeyville. The teams were tied so whoever finished the highest was going to win the Region VI title.
The easiest way to take the drama out is win the race. The Cougars did just that at Ahearn Field House in Manhattan.
The quartet of Deron Gordon, Deandre Henderson, Quick Stukes, and Kennedy Mayweather won the event with a time of 3:15.66 – easily besting runner-up Cloud County by two full seconds. Coffeyville took fifth.
That gave Barton 120 points to win the Region VI championship plaque. Coffeyville ended with 114 and Cloud 108.
While the 4x400m team played out the climax, it was the legs of Sampson Laari that proved to be the most valuable.
Laari, tabbed the Men’s Athlete of the Meet, won three races and placed second in another as he single-handily provided Barton 38 points on the meet.
Laari started the day with a runner-up effort in the 5000m in the morning session. It would be the last time he would not win. Laari ran the 5000m in 15:21.92, well behind Colby’s Chris Speaks who ran a 15:05.4 to win.
Laari won the 800m, 1000m and Mile race in the afternoon. He won the Mile in 4:23.7, the 800m in 1:57.36 and finally the 1000m in 2:31.72. Devyn Brotherton was fourth in the Mile (4:26.41) and Anthony Forrest eighth in the 800m (1:59.52).
Those were the only champions on the day for Barton.
The Cougars had a pair of runner-up efforts with Gordon and Henderson earning silver. Gordon was second in the 600m in 1:20.81. Stukes was fourth in 1:21.39. Henderson took second in the 400m in 48.44 with Mayweather fifth in 49.38. Henderson was also fifth in the 60m in 6.99.
Zodani Francois was fourth in the 60m hurdles in 8.09 and Gordon fifth in 8.15.
Also on the track a pair of Cougar relay teams earned points. The distance relay team of Kole Stiner, Micah Carey, Elder Colindres, and Tyler Thornton took fifth in 10:18.29.
Colindres also ran on the 4x800m relay with Tony Perez, Brady Holler, and Forrest, taking seventh in 8:10.06.
In the field, Alex Richemond placed third in the long jump at 23-0 to go with his seventh place effort in the 200m.
Donald Daley was fourth in the weight throw at 52-6.75. Also in the throws, Romario Antoine took sixth in the shot put (48-6) and Alireza Rafiei eighth (48-2.75).
Barton will have a couple of weeks to regroup for the NJCAA Indoor Championships. The nationals will be March 6-7 at Albuquerque, N.M.