STORM LAKE — The Southwestern Spartans claimed two all-region honors here Saturday and will send seven athletes to the national championship meet in New York City at the Fort Washington Armory indoor track March 6-8.
Representing the Spartans were several former area athletes on the distance medley relay, which placed second at the Region XI Indoor Championship Meet hosted by Buena Vista University.
Clarke’s Gage Beers led the event with the 1,200-meter leg, handing off to Mount Ayr’s Korey Beaman for the 400-meter.
Beaman passed the batton to Orient-Macksburg’s Nate Carr for the 800-meter section of the relay before Ben Friederichs of Durant surged into second during the 1,6000-meter leg.
“That relay was a great representation of the quality athlete southwest Iowa has to offer,” head coach Bill Huntington said. “All of our athletes performed at a very high level against some of the best competition in the country. We were right there with them in multiple events.”
Theo Piniau placed second in the 400-meter dash, trailing Iowa Western’s DeAndre McBride by just 0.02 of a second. Piniau also made the finals in the 60-meter dash, finishing fifth in 7.02 seconds.
Piniau is one of the seven Spartan athletes that will be making the trip to New York City for the national championship meet. He will compete in either the 60 meter dash or the 400 meters.
Joining him will be John Rivan in the 60-meter dash, Rayvonne Brown in the 600-meter dash and the 4x400-meter relay with Marquis Flowers, Joe Bierl and Ian Morrison.
“We are thrilled to be taking so many athletes to compete in such a historic venue for indoor track,” Huntington said. “On any given day, I believe these athletes have the ability to compete with anyone else in the country.”
For the women, Shamel Mangrum will throw shotput for the Spartans at the national meet.
After the national championship event, Southwestern will have a couple of weeks of training to tune up for their first outdoor contest of the 2014 season on March 22.
“The team is ready to get outside and compete,” Huntington said. “We showed during indoor that other teams need to take notice of the athletes wearing Spartan uniforms and we will continue that during the outdoor season.”