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OC's Wayland wins national championship

Monday, March 9, 2009   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Katy Watson
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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (March 7, 2009) – Oklahoma Christian University senior Josh Wayland won the national championship in the 1,000 meters at the NAIA Indoor Track and Field National Championships on Saturday. The Eagles placed sixth with 28 points behind four top-four finishes.

Four Oklahoma Christian runners earned All-America honors on Saturday. Wayland teamed with Silas Kisorio, Curtis Pratt and Jordan Powell to place second in the distance-medley relay, while Kisorio (third place) and Powell (fourth place) turned in All-America finishes in the mile.

“Josh being national champion is an outstanding accomplishment,” OC head coach Randy Heath said. “He was the chart leader most of the season and he lived up to the billing. He definitely deserved it by running a perfect race to be in position to win. But it all goes back to our seniors this year with Jordan, Josh, and Curtis. They've worked extremely hard and paid their dues. We had an outstanding addition in Silas as well, and we had great performances by our whole team this weekend.”

Wayland's first-place national finish is the first at Oklahoma Christian since Damon Sims won the 200 meters in 1994. Wayland is now a six-time track and field All-American. He placed second in the 1,000 at last year's indoor nationals.

Wayland finished Saturday's 1,000-meter race in 2:26.45. He saved his push for the final lap, where he edged Kirby Dunn (2:26.80) from Wayland Baptist (Texas) with half a lap to go to secure the national championship.

“The race started quick and Dunn took the lead, so I just went off him. On the last lap I passed him, and just held him off. It hasn't fully soaked in to be a national champion, but it feels pretty good. It's nice after getting second last year to come back and win it. I knew I could do it,” Wayland said.

The distance-medley unit turned in a school-record time of 9:52.55. The Eagles jumped out to a big lead after Kisorio ran the 1,200 meters in 2:59, Pratt clocked the 400 meters in 49.9 seconds and Wayland went 1:51.4 in the 800. Powell then took the baton with a nine-second lead and held off four-time mile national champion Aron Rono of Azusa Pacific (Calif.) until the final lap. Both OC and APU's times broke the previous indoor national-championship record.

“We really stretched Rono (4:01 in the DMR mile), but he's just a phenomenal runner. We did everything we possibly could, but just came up short. I'm very proud of everyone's effort,” OC assistant coach Mark Thompson said.

Kisorio ran the mile in 4:09.26 for his first track and field All-America award, while Powell finished in 4:12.76 to become a four-time track and field All-American. Rono was first in 4:03.74 and Sam Vazquez of Embry-Riddle (Fla.) edged Kisorio for third in 4:08.82.

“Our guys were up against a lot in Rono, and our strategy was to take it out fast and go after him. Jordan got out a little too quick maybe, but the effort was certainly there. The race went according to our plan, but we just lost to two very talented runners. Jordan and Silas showed tremendous toughness and ability and we're very proud of them,” Thompson said.

Wayland, Powell and Kisorio all enjoyed banner indoor seasons in 2009. The trio assaulted the OC indoor record book with Wayland claiming school bests in the 800 (1:52.25) and the 1,000 (2:25.88) and Powell setting OC marks in the mile (4:06.63) and the 3,000 (8:16.76). Kisorio also held the 800 record for a short time at 1:52.28 before Wayland narrowly ran faster.

On the women's side in Johnson City, Denise Mattoon missed All-America inclusion by one spot with a seventh-place finish in the shot put. She threw 44-03.25 feet to finish in the top 10 of a 32-athlete field. Mattoon placed eighth in the weight throw with a toss of 52-03.25 feet on Friday.

Oklahoma Christian begins its outdoor season on March 12 at the Southwestern (Kan.) invitational in Winfield, Kan.

-OC-


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