OBU men capture GAC men's track and field title

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MAGNOLIA, Ark. – For the second straight season, the Oklahoma Baptist men's track and field team is the Great American Conference champion.

OBU finished the 2021 GAC Champinoships with a score of 278.33 points, beating out second-place Harding by 82.67 points. The Bison previously won the GAC in 2019 but were unable to compete in 2020 because of the COVID-19 global pandemic. 

  Senior Bison track athlete Nathaniel Worley was this year's GAC Most Valuable Player. Worley scored 28 of the team's 278.33 points, competing in the high jump, long jump, and triple jump. In the high jump, he won the event with a height of 2.05 meters. Worley also won the triple jump with a personal-best 14.68 meters, and finished second on the long jump at 6.93 meters, also a career-best. 

  OBU was able to sweep the relays. First up, Mahcoe Smith, Jax Holland, Marcus Petersen, and Shirvante Knauls won the 4x100 meter relay with a time of 41.78 seconds. In the 4x400 meter relay, Knauls, Zachary Coak, Holland, and Tarees Rhoden blew past Harding with a time of 3:14.92.

  The other four individual wins for the Bison on Saturday included the javelin, the 100-meter dash, the 400-meter run and the 5000 meter run. Hayden Ashley won the javelin with a distance of 50.98 meters. Smith placed first in the 100-meter dash with a personal best of 10.60 seconds. The 400-meter run was Rhoden's event, which won with a time of 47.37 seconds. This time was also a personal best for him. First place in the 5000 meter run, went to Christian Arenivar with a time of 15:04.75, beating out Emmanuel Bett of East Central by 3.17 seconds.

  OBU earned 10 other top-three finishes, placing in the javelin, the high jump, the pole vault, the 1,500-meter run, the 110-meter hurdles, the 400-meter run, the 800-meter run and the 200-meter dash. Zane Nutter placed second in both the javelin (40.09 meters) and the high jump (1.95 meters). 

Anthony Phillips vaulted 4.65 meters, placing third. OBU took second and third respectively in the 1,500-meter run with Noah Eskew (3:57.84) and Arenivar (3:58.88). Michael Ward placed second in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 15.01 seconds and Maurice McMullen placed third in the same event with a time of 15.42 seconds. Knauls earned a third-place finish in the 400-meter run (48.55 seconds). In the 800 meter run, Coak came in third with a time of 1:54.65. Lastly, a time of 21.81 seconds earned third for Holland in the 200-meter dash.

  The GAC also handed out its Elite and Distinguished Scholar Athlete Awards. Three OBU male athletes earned the Distinguished Scholar Athlete Award. These athletes included Jarrett Ellis, Ashley and Worley. 

  Bison head coach Ford Mastin was named the 2021 GAC Track and Field Coach of the Year.

  Up next, the men's track and field team will travel to the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa. This competition will take place from Wednesday, April 21, to Saturday, April 24.