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February 16, 2013BLUE DRAGON MEN CAPTURE JAYHAWK WEST INDOOR TRACK TITLE; 3RD IN REGION
LAWRENCE - The Hutchinson Community College men's track and field team's depth paid huge dividends this weekend as the Blue Dragons captured the 2013 Jayhawk West indoor track championships.
Competing at the Region VI Indoor Championships at the University of Kansas' Anschutz Pavilion on Friday, the Blue Dragons finished third in the Region VI standings, picking up two more national qualifiers.
Among Jayhawk West teams, the Blue Dragons defeated Colby by a wide margin for Blue Dragon veteran coach Pat Becher's first indoor championship. Official team scores for both the regional and league meets haven't been released yet, but teams were told of their placings before departing on Friday.
Of the last four Jayhawk West men's track and field championships to be contested - two outdoor and two indoor - the Blue Dragon men have captured three of them.
The Blue Dragons had triple scorers in three events, early 1-2-3 Jayhawk West sweeps in two of the three.
The regional championships started well for the Blue Dragons when Chris Peters, Dakota Becker and Brando Koenigsman all placed in the men's heptathlon, which was contested on Wednesday and Thursday at Highland Community College.
Peters finished as regional runner-up and Jayhawk West champion with a strong showing of 4,604 points in the seven-event competition. Becker was sixth in the region and second in the conference with 4,236 points. Koenigsman was ninth overall and third in the West with 3,944 points. That was 27 league points right off the bat for HCC.
According to Becher, both Peters and Becker will most likely qualify for the NJCAA indoor heptathlon. The top 16 scores from around the nation qualify.
On Friday in Lawrence, the Blue Dragons had a 1-2-3 Jayhawk West sweep in the pole vault, again, 27 points for HCC. Andrew Pope won the Region VI championship after going 14 feet, 3 1/4 inches. Becker was third in the region after going 13-9 1/4. Peters was seventh in the region at 13-3 1/2. All three pole vaulters have already qualified for nationals.
Another first for the Blue Dragons on Friday was three placers in the 60 meters. DeAngelo Strickling placed fifth in 6.90 seconds. Devante Smith was sixth in 6.92 seconds and Juwan Cubit was seventh in 6.98 seconds. Again, all three are national qualifiers.
HCC's new qualifiers, which bring the Blue Dragon men's total to 17 pending additions from the heptathlon and white card entries, came from Strickling and the men's 4x800 relay team.
After being on the cusp of qualifying in the 200, Strickling finally broke through with a Jayhawk West-winning time of 21.95 seconds. That was the third fastest indoor 200 time in HCC history. Strickling finished fourth in the region.
The 4x800 relay was second in the Jayhawk West and fifth in the region with a qualifying time of 8:02.13.
Freshman Orbelin Rojas missed qualifying for the 3,000 meters by less than one second with a time of 8:55.01 to finish third in both the region and league. He will likely be a white-card entry.
Other notable men's performances from Region VI were:
+ Sophomore Matthew Wright ran a PR in the 600 meters for the second-straight meet, posing a time of 1:23.88. That now the fifth-fastest time in HCC history. Wright finished eighth in the region and fourth in the league.
+ Skylar Arneson was a two-time Jayhawk West champion in both the shot put and weight throw. His top shot put distance of 53-feet, 3/4-inch was third in the region. He was third in the region in the weight throw at 54-10 3/4.
+ Tyler Rambo broke 50 feet in the shot put to finish second in the league and fourth in the region at 51-8 1/2.
+ Sophomore Spencer Amerin tied his indoor personal best in the high jump at 6-8 3/4. He finished second in both the region and league.
The Blue Dragons will compete in a last-chance meet next week at a site to be determined to try and get a few more qualifiers before heading to the NJCAA Indoor Championships in March at Lubbock, Texas.