ALLENDALE, Mich. - Tarleton State wrapped up action at the 2015 NCAA Division II outdoor track and field championships in historic fashion, winning the men's 4x400m relay in a school record time of 3:08.25.
"I think over the course of three days each athlete competed very well," said Tarleton head coach Pat Ponder. "You look at the highs and the lows, the highs were by the athletes who have been to the NCAA championships before and the lows were by the athletes who had not. What that tells you is that the inexperience of having not competed in the championships can sometimes be exposed pretty quickly and hopefully our athletes will learn from these experiences. I know our women's relays were disappointed at not contributing but you hope that if they get the opportunity to come back next year that the experience from performing in the championships this year will carry over into next year."
All-American Euphemia Edem received her second All-American honor this meet after finishing in third-place in the triple jump.
The senior, who won a national championship in the long jumpThursday, entered the meet with the No. 1 triple jump in Division II at 13.22m (43-04.5).
Edem would start the event off in a less than desirable manner by scratching on her initial jump of the competition.
Edem returned to the runway for her second attempt and recorded a mark of 12.35m (40-06.25), leaving her in fourth in the first flight with one attempt left in the prelims. The final jump in prelims would see Edem improve her mark from the previous mark to 12.38m (40-07.50) but still remained in fourth place.
In the finals Edem again improver her mark to a 12.56m (41-02.50) but still held her position at fourth-place. Following a scratch on the next jump, Edem was down to her final jump of the competition and stepped up to the challenge jumping 13.00m (42-08) to move up to third-place, scoring an additional six points for the TexAnns bringing their meet total to 16 finishing the meet in 15th-place.
Edem finished her career as a Tarleton as a four-time All-American and school record holder in five events - long jump (Indoor and outdoor), triple jump (indoor and outdoor), 4x100m relay)
The next athlete on the track for Tarleton would be defending national champion Chase Rathke in his signature event, the 1500m.
Rathke entered the finals with the fourth-fastest time in the preliminaries recording a time of 3:51.83 Thursday.
Rathke ran the race as drawn up by head coach Pat Ponder, making a move with 800m to go setting himself up for a push at a national championship. Coming off the last curve with 100m to go Rathke was at the front of the pack sprinting towards the finish line in a battle with Oliver Aitchison of Adams State, Aitchison would win the sprint to the line finishing in 3:45.92 closely followed by Tarleton State's Chase Rathke who would claim second-place with a time of 3:46.82.
This would mark the first time that Rathke has lost a 1500m race during his collegiate career.
Kenny Odunaiya, the senior from Round Rock, took to the shot put rink in a field of 19 throwers.
Odunaiya would finish 15th in the nation with a best toss 16.66m (54-08), achieved on the first and last throw of the competition. Odunaiya finishes his Tarleton career as the school record holder in the school record holder in the indoor shot put, indoor weight throw, and the hammer throw.
Another Texan that finished their career in the purple and white was dual-sport athlete Davene Carter.
Carter, a standout basketball player for the Texans over the past four years, would finish his track and field career as the 17th best high jumper in the nation clearing a height of 2.00m (6-06.75).
Carter would miss his first attempt before clearing the second attempt. Carter would bow out of the competition with three-consecutive misses at 2.05m (6-08.75).
Carter finished his career as a two-time national qualifier in the high jump.
The final team scheduled to represent Tarleton in the final would be the Texan 4x400m relay of Terrance Gross, Cameron Krc,Clarencio Guerrero, and Gilson Umunnakwe.
The Texan relay entered the finals as the fifth-fastest relay after posting a time of 3:10.95 in the prelims Friday night.
The foursome of Gross, Krc, Guerrero and Umunnakwe ran themselves into the record books by winning a national championship in a school record time of 3:08.25 in a race that saw the Lone Star Conference finish 1-2-3 with Angelo State in second and Texas A&M-Commerce in third.
"That was just phenomenal," said Ponder. "As it started to unveil itself it turned out to be the three school that I though it would be, (Tarleton State), (Texas) A&M-Commerce and Angelo State, and really every man had to execute the perfect race and I feel they did."
The Texans would finish 15th overall as a team scoring 18 points, while the TexAnns finished 15th overall as well scoring 16 points.
"It's been a great year for Tarleton track and field," said Ponder. "It's the largest group that we've taken to the national championships. Our women finished as the top team in the conference at the national championships. On the guys side we weren't even ranked ands we established ourselves as a top-15 team. We're on the right track and we're doing things the right way. They're good representatives of the university on and off the track and I think that they are somebody that the administration can be proud of what we have."
This concludes the 2015 outdoor track and field season for Tarleton State.