Spartans Place Fourth at IIAC Championships Behind Murfin’s IIAC Field MVP

May 15, 2016

Tanasha Atwater earned her first IIAC MVP (Field) award on Saturday along with her teammate Blaze Murfin, who garnered his first MVP (Field) award for the men in the 2016 IIAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships held May 12-14.

Day 2 recap

WAVERLY, Iowa – Freshman Blaze Murfin won both the shot put and hammer throw and placed third in the discus to claim the Iowa Conference’s Most Valuable Field Performer en route to the University of Dubuque men’s track and field team placing fourth overall. UD totaled five champions and 11 All-IIAC performers.

The Spartans finished fourth for the fourth consecutive season with a total of 106 points. Central took home the team title with 176 points followed by host Wartburg (153) and Loras (135). UD maintained their position after being in fourth-place after day two.

UD totaled five IIAC champions for the third time in the last four seasons and at least 11 All-IIAC performers for the fourth-straight time.

Murfin became the Spartans first-ever IIAC Most Valuable Field performer since the award began in 2010 and is the first IIAC MVP of any kind since Orlando Walton in 2007. The Dalls City, Ill. native was lights out in winning both the shot put (14.73m/48-4) and the hammer throw (49.88m/163-8) as the No. 1 seed. Including indoor, the freshman has been an All-IIAC performer in all five of his career IIAC events with three wins. His third-place showing in the discus throw trailed his trusty teammate and 2016 champion Alex Link (48.30m/158-5).

It was Link’s fourth career discus victory and avenged a runner-up discus finish at the IIAC Outdoor Championships from a season ago.

Freshman Isaiah Ellis earned a thrilling comeback victory in the 200m (21.66) and won by the slimmest of margins, 0.01 seconds. The Rock Island, Ill. native also anchored the second-place 4x100m relay team that included Tyler Blanchard, Clayton Gray, and Izaiah Lavatai (42.30) and placed fourth in the 200m (10.97).

The fifth Spartan victory belonged to freshman Charles Jackson III in the triple jump (14.19m/46-6.75). Jackson III beat the field by three inches, including 2014 IIAC outdoor triple jump champion and UD senior, Kebba Bojang, who finished third (13.96m/45-9.75).

Other runner-ups included Jeremy Lawson in the high jump (1.97m/6-5.5) and Alexander Schlueter in the pole vault (4.35m/14-3.25). Lawson earned his first career All-IIAC honor with his fourth straight, second-place high jump finish while Schlueter also claimed his first All-IIAC pole vault honor.

Sophomore Alec Bass rounded out the Spartans All-IIAC contingent with a third-place finish in the 5000m (15:20.65). The Spring Green, Wis. native also placed ninth in the 1500m (4:06.26).

Murfin, who is ranked Top-50 nationally in the shot put, discus, and hammer throw will lead the Spartans into a pair of last chance meets this upcoming Thursday and Friday, May 19-20, at UW-La Crosse and North Central (Ill.), respectively. The Division III National Outdoor Championships will be hosted by Wartburg College on May 26-28 in Waverly, Iowa..

Top UD Performers (All-IIAC)
100m – 4th Ellis (10.97)
200m – 1st Ellis (21.66) won by 0.01
400m – 23rd Lavatai (52.30)
800m – 13th Klose (2:00.15)
1500m – 9th Bass (4:06.26)
5000m – 3rd Bass (15:20.65)
10000m run – None
110m Hurdles – None
400m Hurdles – 18th Mentzer (1:03.09)
3000m Steeplechase – 13th Berland (10:16.72)
4x100m – 2nd Blanchard, Gray, Lavatai, Ellis (42.30)
4x400m – 6th Bass, Klose, Miller, Ofosu (8:01.94)
4x800m – 8th Mentzer, Klose, Miller, Ofosu (3:30.75)
HJ – 2nd Lawson (1.97m/6-5.5)
PV – 2nd Schlueter (4.35m/14-3.25)
TJ – 1st Jackson III (14.19m/46-6.75), 3rd Bojang (13.96m/45-9.75)

LJ – 8th Pickett (6.32m/20-9)
Shot Put – 1st Murfin (14.73m/48-4)
Discus – 1st Link (48.30m/158-5), 3rd Murfin (45.90m/150-7)

Hammer Throw – 1st Murfin (49.88m/163-8)
Javelin – 10th Heinrich (43.50m/142-8)
Decathlon – None 

Men Team Scores (22 events)
1) Central 176
2) Wartburg 153
3) Loras 135
4) UD 106
5) Luther 94
6) Simpson 90
7) Coe 62
8) Buena Vista 38