Aquinas Men - Bell Repeats As National Champion, Saints Finish 14th
Provided by Aquinas
The Aquinas men's track & field team earned a 14th-place finish at the NAIA Indoor Track & Field Championships in Pittsburg, Kan. on Saturday (Mar. 3) and in the process, one Saints student-athlete made history. With his second consecutive NAIA National Championship in the pole vault, Curtis Bell (SR/Coleman, Michigan) becomes the first Aquinas track & field athlete to ever repeat as a national champion.
With 15 points as a team, AQ finished as the third-highest WHAC school and ended up just six points out of a top-10 tally. Wayland Baptist captured the men's team title with 88 points, holding off Indiana Tech (80 points). Keiser (Fla.) scored 43 points to place third, with Hastings (38) and Bethel (Ind.) (27) rounding out the top-five schools. Aquinas finished just behind conference member Siena Heights (17).
For the AQ women's results on Saturday, click here.
Bell made history with his championship-defending performance. He cleared 4.85 meters and passed through 4.90 meters. Bell vaulted over 4.95 meters and on his second try at 5.00 meters, cleared the bar – he was the lone athlete to do so, claiming the pole vault National Championship for the second year in a row.
No other Aquinas athlete – male or female, indoors or outdoors – has won National Championships in the same event in consecutive years. Bell is now a five-time All-American in the pole vault, having placed fifth, first, and first at the indoor competition, along with a pair of runner-up finishes at the outdoor championships.
Making his first appearance as an NAIA All-American, John Rhea (FR/Calhoun, Georgia) cleared 4.75 meters on his final attempt to place seventh overall in the event. The freshman cleared 4.50 meters and 4.65 meters on his first attempt at each height to help split a tiebreaker and claim a seventh-place tally.
Scott Berzley (JR/Coopersville, Michigan) narrowly missed out on becoming the third Aquinas pole vaulter to score on Saturday, as he placed ninth in the competition with a score of 4.65 meters.
Gannon Foley (FR/Portage, Michigan) had a solid performance in the 5,000 meter run, earning an 11th place finish in a time of 15:13.11, just 16 seconds out of All-America status.
John Piatek (JR/Traverse City, Michigan) placed 23rd in the shot put with a long throw of 15.35 meters.