The Saint Augustine’s University track and field program claimed its fourth straight outdoor men’s title and the Lady Falcons finished as women’s runner-ups on the final day of the 2016 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships at the IMG Academy Track and Field Stadium on Saturday, May 28. The title was the 38th for legendary Head Coach George Williams including 15 men’s outdoor championships.
Starting the day with zero points, the Falcons zoomed past their opponents to win in dominating fashion. SAU’s men relied on its relay teams and depth to surge ahead Saturday. The Falcons had multiple qualifiers four events – the 100 and 200 dashes, the 800 run and the triple jump. They scored 57 points in those four events and 20 points in the relays to take control.
St. Aug’s men took four national titles and were joined by Stillman’s Dontavius Wright, winner of the 400 meter dash. Burkheart Ellis, Jr. SAU’s most versatile performer, led the way for the Falcons. He gained the 200 meter national title and was a member of the winning 4×100 meter relay team. He also finished second in the 100 meters for his third All-American honor of the day. Other Falcons to reach the top of the awards stand were Shaquille Dill (800m) and the 4x400m relay team of Dill, Shawn Rowe, Khari Herbert Jr. and Immanuel Hutchinson. They scored all 85 points on the final day to rout Tiffin University and Texas A&M University-Kingsville, who both tied for second with 36 points.
The Lady Falcons nearly captured their fifth national outdoor title. They were edged out by national champion Pittsburg State University 52- 51 in the women’s division which wasn’t decided until the final event. Hillsdale College placed third with 45 points. Two record breaking performances by Tia-Adana Belle helped propel SAU’s women into second place overall. Belle broke her own championship meet record in winning the 400 meter hurdles. Her time of 56.13 was one-hundreth of a second better than the previous record time she had
set two days earlier. She finished three seconds ahead of the second-place competitor in the finals. Had the Lady Falcons won, it would have been the first outdoor sweep for Saint Augustine’s University since 2001 and the first women’s crown since 2002. Still, the finish was the highest for the Lady Falcons since 2003 when they placed second.