DICKINSON, N.D. — The Dickinson State University men's track and field team won its third consecutive national championship last weekend at the NAIA national meet in Fresno, Calif.
The Blue Hawks won just one event Saturday but still pulled away from the field. The Blue Hawks tallied 102 points to top the 103-team field. Lindenwood (Mo.) was second with 89 points while Azusa Pacific(Calif.) finished third with 77 points.
The Blue Hawks became just the fifth school in the 55-year history of the NAIA national meet to win three straight titles.
"I'm sure the uniqueness of what we have accomplished will sink in sometime soon," said DSU coach Pete Stanton, a Baker native. "We had a wonderful Friday that put us in position to win Saturday. We didn't press at all, we just came out and performed very well."
Dickinson State was led to the title by three national championship efforts.
Aaron Cleare took the 400-meter title in 47.15 to become only the second person in NAIA history to win the event four times. Ross Walker won the shot put with at throw of 58-7, and Trevor Barry won his third consecutive long jump title with a leap of 25-8.
Walker was also a runner-up in the discus and placed third in the hammer throw. Barry was also second in the high jump (7-21/2), and Adrian Griffith was second in the long jump (25-4) and third in the 100-meter dash (10.29). The Blue Hawk 400-meter relay team was second at 40.84.
Scobey native Kevin McElvaney was fourth in the two-day decathlon. Ross Loeffler of Bigfork was on both the 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams. Other Montana athletes on the national team were Nick Burgess of Ryegate and Shayne Wittkopp of Circle.
On the women's side for DSU, Beth Weis of Joliet finished seventh in the hammer throw and Chioko Nakasone of Superior was seventh in the 400-meter hurdles.
Stanton, who previously coached track and football at Terry and Belgrade, was named NAIA national coach of the year for the fourth consecutive year.