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Tommy Myers named to Pitt State 2022 Hall of Fame class

PITTSBURG, Ks. – Pitt State athletics announced it’s 2022 Hall of Fame class and former PSU baseball player and coach, Tommy Myers, is one eight individuals selected.

“To be considered for the Hall of Fame is an honor, but to get in is something I wasn’t really expecting, but obviously I’ll cherish for the rest of my life,” Myers says. “Pitt State baseball is recognized in the MIAA and beyond, so it’s just part of coach Bever’s legacy and we’re all wanting to play for him.”

Myers earned all-region and all-conference recognition in the 1998 season. He set multiple school records including career runs scored (142), single season runs scored (72) and single season home runs (21). Myers also served as the head coach of the Gorillas from 2017 to 2018.

“When you’re involved with the players and coach Bever and the rest of the staff, you just get to build bonds and friendships that you’ll have for life,” Myers says. “I think more than anything that’s what Pitt State means to me. It’s just a place where you make lifelong friends and on the baseball team I got to to do some special things with them.”

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Farabi selected to enter Pitt State Hall of Fame

PITTSBURG, Kan. – Former Pitt State running back Caleb Farabi will enter the Pitt State Athletics Hall of Fame this fall.

“I’m super excited. It’s something I’ve been waiting for and something I had hoped for when I was a child,” Farabi says, “Finally, just one more dream came true.”

Farabi was a 2X All-American for the Gorillas, playing for Pitt State from 2005-2008.

He rushed for 3,292 yards in his college career, which is 7th most all-time for Pitt State football. He also racked up 46 total touchdowns, and was the MIAA’s Ken B. Jones Award winner for the 2008-2009 academic year.

“With an individual award comes sacrifice from other guys. I think of all the friends I made and the coaches and mentors that were there for me,” Farabi adds on playing at Pitt State, “My linemen Travis Greer, Shane McGinnis, Martin Burke, Marcus Nelson and our quarterback Mark Smith, who we all know… They could have thrown the ball a lot more, and they were asked to do different things sometimes. I’m just fortunate to have those guys on my team.”

Entering the Pitt State Hall of Fame means a little more to Farabi – who is a Pittsburg product – playing his high school ball at St. Mary’s Colgan.

“I was just so happy to have the opportunity to do it in my hometown. I’m happy for my parents and my family,” Farabi says, “I think I would speak for all of the guys on the team that it’s a grind every day. I’m just proud that I was able to make it through it, and in the end, I was able to meet my wife here, too.”

Farabi is one of eight individuals who will enter the PSU Athletics Hall of Fame this fall.

Pittsburg State’s 35th class of inductees will be honored at a special Hall of Fame Induction Banquet on Friday evening, Sept. 30. The group also will be honored at halftime of the Gorillas’ football game against Missouri Southern the next day (Oct. 1).

FULL RELEASE FROM PITTSBURG STATE ATHLETICS:

Pittsburg State University is pleased to announce its 2022 induction class into the Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame. The diverse group – comprised of eight individuals – will be formally inducted during ceremonies on campus the weekend of Oct. 1.

PSU’s Class of 2022 is headlined by a cast of decorated athletes and coaches:  Caleb Farabi (2005-08), a two-time NCAA Division II All-American running back in football; Chris Grantham (1981-84), an All-America offensive lineman in football; Steve High, the Gorillas women’s basketball coach from 1990 to 2007 and the winningest coach in program history; Kiara Jones (2008-12), an eight-time All-America performer in the horizontal jumps for the Gorillas in track & field; Tommy Myers (1996-98), an NCAA-II All-Region and record setting outfielder in baseball; and Sammie Williams (2005-08), the first two-time All-America performer in the history of the Pitt State volleyball program.

Ed Nealy (1956-57), a first-team All-CIC men’s basketball performer who helped lead Pitt State to a 27-2 record and a third-place finish at the 1956 NAIA National Tournament, and Dennis Watson (1963-66), an All-America offensive lineman in football for the Gorillas, will be inducted in the Hall of Fame’s “Legacy” category.

The Legacy category, created in 2005, focuses solely on individuals who completed their athletic eligibility 50 years from the current calendar year in an attempt to bolster the school’s rich heritage from earlier years.

“Once again PSU Athletics is blessed with the opportunity to pay tribute to a handful of elite individuals representing the proud history and tradition of Gorilla intercollegiate athletics,” said Dan Wilkes, associate athletic director/communications and chair of the PSU Athletics Hall of Fame Committee. “We are tremendously proud of this group that comprises the Class of 2022 and we are excited to honor and celebrate their stories and accomplishments on campus this fall.”

2022 Hall of Fame Inductee Profiles

Caleb Farabi, Football, 2005-08
~ NCAA-II All-American, 2007-08 (3rd, AP, FB Gazette, ’08; HM, RB, FB Gazette, ’07)
~ MIAA All-Conference, 2007-08 (1st, RB, ’07-08)
~ Rushed for 3,292 yards & 43 TDs – 7th highest rushing total in PSU history;
   also caught 101 passes for 945 yards & 3 TDs
~ A two-time CoSIDA Academic All-America selection (2007-08)
~ 2008-09 MIAA Ken B. Jones Award Winner (Male Student-Athlete of the Year)

Chris Grantham, Football, 1981-84
~ NAIA All-American, 1984 (1st, OL)
~ CSIC All-Conference, 1982-84 (1st, OL, ’82-84)
~ Member of 1981 NAIA National Runner-up Team
~ Joined the U.S. Navy in May 1985, retired Petty Officer First Class, 1991

Steve High, Women’s Basketball Coach, 1990-2007
~ Served for 18 years as the Gorillas head coach, compiling a 296-201 (.596) overall record
~ Led PSU to the school’s first MIAA title in 1992 – won MIAA titles in 1992 & 1996
~ Led the Gorillas to the school’s first NCAA National Tournament appearance in 1992,
   and five overall berths in the national tournament
~ The longest-tenured and winningest women’s basketball coach in PSU history

Kiara Jones, Track & Field, 2008-12
~ Seven-time NCAA-II All-American in the triple jump:
   3rd, 51-7.25 (O), 2012; 6th, 48-6.25 (I), 2011; 2nd, 51-8.5 (I), 2010; 5th, 49-11 (O), 2010;
   3rd, 50-1.75 (I), 2009; 3rd, 50-4.5 (O), 2009; 7th, 49-3.25 (O), 2008
~ NCAA-II All-American in the long jump (4th, 23-6.75 indoor, 2011)
~ 10-time All-MIAA performer; two-time MIAA Champ, triple jump
~ Set PSU record in the indoor triple jump (51-11.25), currently 2nd
~ Set PSU record in the outdoor triple jump (52-2), currently 2nd

Tommy Myers, Baseball, 1996-98
~ NCAA-II All-Region, 1998 (1st team, OF, ABCA, ’98)
~ MIAA All-Conference, 1997-98 (H.M., OF, ’97; 1st, OF, 98)
~ .340 career batting avg. with 21 HRs and 121 RBIs in 126 games
~ .405 BA with 72 runs scored, 14 HRs and 59 RBIs in 1998
~ Set PSU record for career runs scored (142), single-season runs scored (72, ’98),
   single-season HRs (21, ’98); ranked 2nd in career HRs, 21 (now 7th); ranked 2nd
   in career stolen bases, 42 (now 3rd); ranked 2nd in career walks, 85 (now 2nd);
   ranked third in career RBIs, 121 (now 6th)
~ Served as PSU head coach, 2017-18

Sammie Williams, Volleyball, 2005-08
~ Two-time NCAA-II All-America:  2007, HM, AVCA; 2008, 3rd, AVCA
~ PSU program’s first two-time All-America performer
~ Four-time All-MIAA selection (2005-08)
~ 2005 MIAA Freshman of the Year
~ Set PSU career record for kills (1825), currently 2nd

Legacy Category

Ed Nealy, Men’s Basketball, 1956-57
~ CIC All-Conference, first-team, 1956-57
~ Scored 663 points in 53 career games (12.5 ppg)
~ Scored 375 points in 24 games his senior year (15.6 ppg)
~ Helped PSU to a 27-2 record and a third-place finish in the NAIA Nat’l Tourn. in 1956
~ Also a member of PSU’s 1957 NAIA National Champion football team

Dennis Watson, Football, 1963-66
~ NAIA All-American, 1966 (H.M., end)
~ CIC All-Conference, 1966 (1st, end)
~ Baseball squad member, 1964-67
~ Long-time high school teacher & coach at Pittsburg HS (1968-98), Frontenac and Girard

2022 Hall of Fame Ceremonies
Pittsburg State’s 35th class of inductees will be honored at a special Hall of Fame Induction Banquet on Friday evening, Sept. 30. The group also will be honored at halftime of the Gorillas’ football game against Missouri Southern the next day (Oct. 1).

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Pitt State’s Winn, Caldwell shine at USATF U20 outdoor championships

EUGENE, Ore. – A pair of Pittsburg State freshmen shined at the USATF U20 outdoor championship on Friday in Eugene, Oregon.

On the women’s side, Blakelee Winn finished in 1st place in the heptathlon, scoring 5,473 points.

Winn finished 1st in the 100m hurdles, 5th in high jump, 2nd in shot put, 1st in the 200m, 1st in long jump, 1st in javelin and 4th in the 800m to bring home the heptathlon title.

On the men’s side, TJ Caldwell finished in 2nd place in the 110m hurdles, posting a time of 13.34 seconds.

“It’s kind of mixed emotions right now,” Caldwell said to KVAL’s Hayden Herrera following his 2nd-place finish, “I’m getting to represent today, but now I also get to see what I need to work on and what I need to do better as an athlete.”

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Pitt State football hosts over one hundred athletes for a prospect camp

PITTSBURG, Ks. – Pitt State football hosted a prospect camp this afternoon. Over one hundred high school athletes were in attendance.

“I think we saw some future gorillas out there today,” says Pitt State head coach Brian Wright.

The athletes had the opportunity to showcase their skills and learn new ones.

“That’s a big thing that I increased on today was definitely my technique and my form as well as running routes hard,” says Webb City tight end Trey Roets. “I really feel like I got better today.”

And, the coaching staff evaluated the local talent.

“Obviously, we’re looking for good athletes. We’re looking for guys that are strong and that can move and run and change direction,” Wright says. “And then guys that love football and they work hard and they finish the drills out here. They pay attention to details and they are coachable.”

“Our offense, at Girard, is not going to throw the ball 30 times a game, so to get out here and try to spread it out and throw a little bit is always good,” says Girard quarterback Luke Niggemann. “It’s good to just to get out and showcase what I’ve been working on the past couple months and get out and see some competition and feel the coaches out and see what they think.”

These in person interactions are a key part of the recruiting process.

“We want to see guys live too, not just on film, and we want to be able to work with them in a live situation,” Wright says. “It’s really important for me, coaching the quarterbacks, to see how the ball comes out of a guys hand and so forth and our coaches at other positions get the same kind of evaluation live.”

“The energy here is different,” says Webb City wide receiver Dante Washington. “That’s one thing that I like about Pitt State. All the coaches, no matter how their day is going, right when these players get out here, their level of intensity just goes straight through the roof.”

Today is not only about what you can do on the football field. It’s also about creating relationships.

“First of all, it’s important to get them here on campus and show them our beautiful facilities and what we have to offer,” Wright says. “Even more than that, it’s important to make that connection with the coaches and getting to know the guys.”

“My biggest thing of playing at the next level is connection and that’s what I feel like Pitt State has the most,” Washington says.

Brian Wright and the coaching staff will host a second and final prospect camp on July 15th.

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Pitt State football names 2022 captains

PITTSBURG, Kan. – Pittsburg State football has named its captains for the 2022 season.

The Gorillas have picked eight players as captains for the fall, including five who played at local high schools.

WR Elijah Harris (Pittsburg HS)

OL Kory Woodruff (Sioux City West HS)

WR Bryce Murphy (Neosho HS)

LB PJ Sarwinski (Galena HS)

LB Morgan Selemaea (Harrisonville HS)

S Brandon Mlekus (Frontenac HS)

DL Zeke Wall (Carl Junction HS)

OL Trase Jeffries (Broken Arrow HS)

The Gorillas are scheduled to open the regular season on September 1st, at home against the University of Central Missouri.

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Pitt State women’s camp to bring 150+ teams to Pittsburg

PITTSBURG, Kan. – The Pitt State women’s basketball high school team cam brings in teams from all around the region – with teams from Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Colorado and more coming to Pittsburg in the past.

“This week we’ll have 71 teams and then we’ll have 84 next week,” says PSU women’s basketball head coach Amanda Davied, “It’s a lot of teams, a lot of talent and a lot of great coaches that we’ve been able to build great relationships with.”

The camp is split into two sessions, with the first running from this Wednesday to Friday. The second session will be next Wednesday to Friday.

In those six days, more than 150 teams will play around 600 games in six different locations in the Pittsburg area as part of the camp. Games are held at Pitt State’s Weede Gymnasium, Pitt State’s rec center, Pittsburg High School, Pittsburg Community Middle School, St. Mary’s Colgan Catholic High School and Frontenac High School.

For local teams it’s a chance to push themselves against new and tough competition.

“We get to see a lot of different competition for our kids. We put our kids in the toughest division every year,” says Carl Junction girls head coach Brad Shorter, “We see a lot of great basketball. It’s not really about wins and losses, but it’s about improving. We give our kids the opportunity to kind of expand their game and progress and maybe put some more tools in their bag before the season.”

For Pitt State it gives the coaching staff a chance to see potential recruits – with multiple campers being signed to play for the Gorillas over the years.

“Typically, we would possibly get a commitment from this camp, or right before or right after,” Davied says, “We get them here on campus and get them to meet our players and our staff and get involved in the community. They’re going places in the community and they get to see, even before they’re a Pitt State athlete, that Pittsburg is really appreciative of new people coming into town. We’re always dealing with that with the college with incoming freshman and things like that. The college is welcoming and the town is welcoming, so it’s really their first taste of that.”

It gives the current PSU players – who help *run* the camp – a chance to work together in the off-season and build a little team chemistry.

“It’s awesome to have our incoming freshmen and new players join us and see what Pitt State is all about, and kind of get a feel for who we are as individuals, both on and off the court,” says Pitt State sophomore guard and former camp attendee Grace Pyle.

“All the way around, it’s just a phenomenal experience for everybody,” Davied finishes, “We’re happy to host. We love that we have this. I told somebody that I ran out of dorms, and they said well that’s a good problem to have. Some of these things…it’s truly a beautiful mess. We love it.”

Click HERE for more information on Pitt State women’s basketball camps.

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Pitt State’s Kiner named Central Region Field Athlete of the Year

PITTSBURG, Kan. – Pittsburg State men’s track and field has earned three awards from the USTFCCCA

Junior LJ Kiner is the Central Region Outdoor Field Athlete of the Year.

Kiner finished 3rd in the long jump at outdoor nationals, with a best leap of 25 feet, 4 inches. He took 2nd in the triple jump at nationals with a jump of 52 feet.

“He’s a special talent, not only as a person but…my gosh, that guy is a freak athlete. He really is talented,” says Pitt State head coach Kyle Rutledge about Kiner, “What he did at nationals in the long jump, and then in the 4X100m during the triple jump…he’s always just competing and staying focused and doing what he has to do for the team. He’s going to USA competitions here in a couple weeks and he’s going to perform well there. He’s going to get that experience and know what he has to do to go to that next level.”

In addition to Kiner earning the honor, Rutledge has been named Central Region Outdoor Coach of the Year – and his assistant, Jason Crow, has been named the Central Region Assistant Coach of the Year.

Those two helped lead the Gorilla men to their first ever outdoor national championship, which included two individual national champions and 13 All-Americans.

“It means a great deal that your peers actually respect what you do,” Rutledge says, “It means a lot to our kids. They’re doing a great job and they’re being respected by other coaches. Coach Crow has done a phenomenal job. For him to get that accolade, it just means a lot. We’re doing things the right way here and our peers respect us.”

FULL RELEASE FROM PITTSBURG STATE ATHLETICS:

Pittsburg State University head track & field coach Kyle Rutledge was named the NCAA Division II Central Region Coach of the Year for men’s oudoor track & field Monday (June 6), while assistant coach Jason Crow received Central Regional Assistant Coach of the Year for men’s outdoor track & field. Junior L.J. Kiner also was selected the Central Region Field Athlete of the Year for men’s outdoor track & field.

Rutledge, in his 10th year at Pittsburg State (his first year as head coach), led the Gorillas to their first outdoor national title in program history at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships with 70 points. Under Rutledge’s direction, the Gorillas had national champions in the 110-meter hurdles (Louis Rollins) and the 400 meters (Braylen Brewer), while 13 different athletes earned first-team All-America honors. Pittsburg State also won the MIAA Outdoor Championships with 169 points and posted 14 All-MIAA finishes. Rutledge’s athletes broke seven school records during the outdoor season.

Crow, in his second year as assistant coach at Pittsburg State, coached the Gorillas sprint/hurdle group to score 38 of the team’s 70 points in winning the team title at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships. His athletes won titles in the 400 (Brewer) and 110 hurdles (Rollins) and added a second in the 4×400 relay, third in the 110 hurdles (T.J. Caldwell) and fifth in the 4×100 relay. His sprint crew scored 55 points at the MIAA Outdoor Championships, helping Pittsburg State to the team title.

Kiner, who hails from Humble, Texas, finished top-3 at the NCAA DII Outdoor Track & Field Championships in both the triple jump (second) and long jump (third). He won the triple jump at the MIAA Outdoor Championships and placed fourth in the long jump. Kiner entered the NCAA postseason as the nation’s top-ranked athlete in the triple jump with an effort of 16.36m (53-8¼).

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Pitt State outfielder Griffith named Academic All-American

PITTSBURG, Kan. – Pittsburg State outfielder Keelah Griffith is an Academic All-American.

The junior from Bentonville, Arkansas, has a perfect 4.0 GPA as a recreation services, sport and hospitality management major at PSU. She is the first Pitt State softball player since 2015 to earn CoSIDA Academic All-America honors, and the 8th in program history.

This season for the Gorillas, Griffith hit for a .333 average, with 14 home runs and 8 doubles. She finished the season with 44 RBI, helping the Gorillas finish with a 25-26 overall record.

RELEASE FROM PITTSBURG STATE ATHLETICS:

Pittsburg State University outfielder Keelah Griffith garnered first-team Co-SIDA Academic All-America® today (June 7).

Griffith, a junior from Bentonville, Ark., has a perfect 4.00 grade-point-average as a recreation services, sport and hospitality management major.

Griffith batted .333 for the season, helping the Gorillas to a 25-26 overall record. She scored 39 runs, hit eight doubles and 14 home runs while driving in 44 runs. She earned honorable mention All-MIAA recognition.

Griffith is the eighth Pitt State softball player to earn CoSIDA Academic All-America® honors, the first since McKenzie Rynard received back-to-back honors in 2014 and 2015.

Pitt State Softball CoSIDA Academic All-America® Recipients
Kim Erickson, 1992
Lisa Litzen, 1993
Kelly Gustafson, 1996
Mandy Frasco, 2002
Emily Gastineau, 2005
Jessica Jones, 2010
McKenzie Rynard, 2014-15
Keelah Griffith, 2022

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Pitt State’s McGowan named NCBWA All-American

PITTSBURG, Kan. – Pitt State senior first baseman Garrett McGowan has added to his already long list of post-season awards.

McGowan was named an All-American by the NCBWA on Thursday afternoon. McGowan is a 3rd team All-America selection – and is the 9th All-American in Pitt State program history.

This season, McGowan led the team in both batting average (.399) and RBI (79). He finished the season with 18 doubles and 20 home runs, while also posting a perfect fielding percentage at first base for the Gorillas.

RELEASE FROM PITTSBURG STATE ATHLETICS:

Pittsburg State University senior first baseman Garrett McGowan garnered NCAA Division II All-America honors from the National Collegiate Baseball Writers of America (NCBWA) today (June 2).

McGowan was named to the third-team All-America squad.

The Blue Springs, Mo., native becomes the ninth player in Pitt State history to earn All-America honors – the second player in as many seasons to receive All-America recognition under head coach Bob Fornelli and his staff. Dawson Pomeroy received honorable mention All-America recognition as a utility player in 2021.

McGowan batted a team-leading .399 with 61 runs scored, 20 doubles, 18 home runs and 79 RBI while starting all 52 games played for the Gorillas in 2022. He ranked fifth in Division II in RBI per game (1.52 pg). McGowan garnered first-team All-MIAA honors and was named to the MIAA Gold Glove Team after posting a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage in 385 total chances on the season.

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Pitt State men’s track and field is welcomed home as national champions

PITTSBURG, Ks. – The Pitt State men’s track and field team received a warm welcome home this evening after capturing the national championship in Allendale, Michigan this weekend.

“Words cant describe how good these guys are,” says head coach Kyle Rutledge. “We knew we had something special at the beginning of the year. These guys… wow. The leadership they have and what they did this weekend is just unbelievable.”

“Emotions are high right now,” says sophomore Braylen Brewer. “These past 24 hours have been crazy. Definitely the highlight of my track career in college.”

This accomplishment caps off a nearly perfect season for the Gorillas. They won the cross country, indoor and outdoor MIAA titles leading up to this weekend’s national championship finish.

“You couldn’t have scripted it up any better than this,” says senior Louis Rollins. “The triple crown: MIAA cross country, indoor and outdoor titles. And to cap it off with an outdoor national championship. I’m lost for words for what we’ve accomplished and the group we have and the amazing young men. For me to lead these young men to achieve such an accomplishment is a blessing.”

“Probably should retire right?” Rutledge jokes. “This men’s team, you can say enough about them. They had a mission. Indoors was a little bit of a let down. They really wanted to win the national title indoors. We had to learn how to compete at a national meet. What they did this weekend is exactly how you compete.”

Louis Rollins and Braylen Brewer led the way for the gorillas. Rollins captured a national title in the 110 meter hurdles with a time of 13.65 seconds.

“I got out fast and the guy from West Texas was right there on my right. We battled the whole race,” Rollins says. “This is something I’ve wanted to accomplish since I was a freshman. I wanted to be a national champion. I came up a little short when I was a freshman. For me to be able to battle and accomplish that and go head to head with another competitor. That’s huge. To be able to come out and be national champion is something I can only dream of.”

“Louis Rollins, my goodness that guy is a special, special talent and special person,” Rutledge says. “All he’s been through. I couldn’t be happier for him. Winning this for him, more than anything, means the world to me. To do it for him to cap off the outstanding career he’s had.”

Sophomore Braylen Brewer won also won a title in the 400 meters. He set a new school record with a time of 45.77 seconds.

“I think I have a lot left in the tank,” Brewer says. “Dipping into the 45’s this weekend was a lifetime goal for me. I think give it one more year and I can put up very respectable times. I think our team is only going to get better from here.”

“What an addition Braylen is,” Rutledge says. “We needed a guy that was a game changer, and we brought him in last year and the guy just fit right in. Just a competitor. Not afraid of any situation or any person. That guy just goes out to compete. When you go 45.77 and you split a low 45 in the 4 by 4, you’re pretty special.”

It came down to the very last event this weekend: the 4×400 meter relay.

“We knew West Texas had a very good team, but we felt very strongly about what our guys were capable of doing. They didn’t know the situation for the 4x4oo. We just said go in the race don’t worry abut the points. We kept them in the warmup area. And they had no idea where we were in the standings. They just went and did their thing. Man it was fun.”

The Gorilla men also tallied more than 20 all-American performances. It was a true team effort.

“When you look at what Bryce Grahn did in the steeplechase, getting in fourth place and then Connar Southard in the 1500 and Mason Strader getting 7 points when we were only supposed to get one,” Rutledge says.” Then you’re looking at the hurdles and going 1 and 3. The triple jump getting second. We had a lot of guys just outperform. They just competed and got themselves in a great situations. Top to bottom. LJ in the long jump. That guy was 13th coming in. He was winning it all the way up to the last round and got third. The men’s team is just a phenomenal group. Man they can compete.”

It’s the programs second national title and first in outdoor.

“They were Gorillas this weekend,” Rutledge says. “Meaning they got the ball rolling, they got the fire started. Louis Rollins and they got going in the 4×100. Just outstanding. Once you get that train going these guys know how to finish and that’s exactly what they did this weekend.”

“I think we’re all just on top of the world right now,” Brewer says.”