LA CROSSE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) - The UW-Eau Claire men's track and field team wrote the last chapter on a storybook season Saturday at the NCAA Division III Outdoor National Championship at UW-La Crosse's Veterans Memorial Sports Complex.
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The Blugolds grabbed their highest finish ever at Outdoor Nationals with a runner-up finish. They came ever so close to joining the men's hockey team as 2013 national champions as they fell two points shy of first place UW-La Crosse.
Eau Claire had 64 points to La Crosse's 66. The Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference swept the top four spots as UW-Whitewater took fourth with 40 points and UW-Oshkosh was third with 51.50.
Thurgood Dennis (So.-Allouez, Wis./Notre Dame) capped off one of the most remarkable seasons in Blugold athletic history as he captured two more national titles to go along with the two he won at Indoor Nationals.
Dennis won the 100-meter dash in dramatic fashion. He edged out Sean Bernstein from Oneonta by .007 seconds to take home the gold trophy in 10.7761 seconds. Bernstein edged out Dennis in the 200-meter dash, but Dennis still managed to take second in a school record time of 20.86 seconds.
Dennis then ended the Blugold season in style as he anchored home the last event of the meet, the 4x400-meter relay with a team consisting of Jacob Dennis-Oehling (Jr.-Whitewater, Wis.), Cody Prince (So.-Appleton, Wis./North) and Marty Richardson (Sr.-Kimberly, Wis.) to a national title in a time of 3:09.21. The Blugold 4x400-relay also won at Indoor Nationals this March.
The Blugolds also had three fifth place finishes on the afternoon.
Prince got out hard and held on to his fifth place position in the 400-meter dash with a time of 47.96 seconds. It was the second time he has broken 48 in his career.
Aaron Easker (Sr.-Eland, Wis./Wittenberg-Birnamwood), fresh off his victory in the 10,000-meter run Thursday night, doubled back to take fifth in the 5,000-meter run in a time of 14:29.48. Easker ends his career with five All-American trophies between cross country and track.
Jeremy Kieser (Sr.-Verona, Wis.) ran a lifetime personal best in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in a time of 9:02.01 to take fifth place.
Also competing today for the Blugolds was Matt Scott (Jr.-Kiel, Wis.), who took ninth in the 1,500-meter run and Roger Steen. Steen took 14th in the shot put.
The Blugold men earned a team trophy at both Indoor and Outdoor Nationals for the first time ever. It truly was a historic season for the UW-Eau Claire men's track and field team