FREMONT, Neb. – Danny Aldaba, Travis Phillips Jr. and the rest of the Warriors track and field team put on quite a show for the home crowd at the 2017 GPAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships hosted at Heedum Field over the weekend.
It was the first home meet for Midland since they hosted the conference outdoor meet in 2006. There were plenty of individual accomplishment for the men and women as the men took fifth as a team and the women placed ninth.
Midland's 84 points in the team scoring is its highest-ever total in a GPAC Championship meet dating back to 2001. The Warriors also finished fifth in 2004 and 2007, earning 44 points in each of those years.
Doane University won the GPAC championship on both the men's and women's sides.
Things got underway at Heedum Field on Friday with competition beginning in the heptathlon and decathlon as well as a few field events and preliminary races.
It didn't' take long before Midland earned its first set of medals and points. Nathan Houser and Seth Sabata both medalled in the men's hammer throw. Houser set a school record with a toss of 192'6" for third place while Sabata took sixth with a throw of 178'3".
Also on Friday Isaiah Brown took fifth in the pole vault for the Warriors, clearing 15'1".
Saturday saw even more Warriors have strong showings in front of their home crowd. Houser started the scoring again, this time in the discus. He finished sixth in the event with a toss of 152'5". Teammate Reid Kirlin was close behind with throw of 150'1" for seventh place.
Midland got things going on the track in the afternoon with a pair of runners placing in the 1500m. Danny Aldaba ran his fastest time of the year (3:53.25) to take second while Ty Hansen also pulled out his fastest time of the year (4:03.37) to take fifth.
Aldaba's time also qualified him for nationals with a NAIA 'A' Standard.
Later, in the women's 800m, Kylee Smallfoot earned the Lady Warriors five points with a fourth place time of 2:16.80. She is nearing the NAIA qualifying mark and will have one more opportunity later this week.
Midland's men's 4x100m relay of Brown, Phillips Jr., Alex Heuermann and Cory Thorson took the track next. They placed seventh in the event with a time of 43.20 to earn a pair of points. Things were just getting started for Phillips Jr. as he would run three more races on the day.
In the 400m Phillips Jr. ran a great race. His time of 48.10 not only won the event but also set a new school record. He followed that up with a second place finish (21.96) in the 200m roughly two hours later. That race saw one of the closest finishes of the day with first and second place separated by .005 seconds.
After getting his legs back from the 1500m, Aldaba left all competitors in the dust as he led the 5,000m from start to finish. His time of 15:22.65 bested the field by over nine seconds.
Outside of the oval Sabata earned his second medal of the meet with a third place finish in the shot put with a toss of 55'11.75".
Trey Rongisch placed third in the men's triple jump with a jump of 44'9" on his last attempt of the finals.
Hunter Garrison capped of a stellar weekend in the decathlon on Saturday. Entering the day in fourth place halfway through the 10 events, he dug down deep to finish third with 5,768 points. That total is good for the NAIA 'B' Standard.
In the last race of the meet the Warriors, the men's 4x400m relay, the team comprised of Heuermann, Phillips Jr., Hansen and Mekota Fogg turned in a time of 3:30.71.
The Warriors will have one more opportunity to qualify for the NAIA National Championships as they compete in the Concordia Twilight on Friday, May 12 in Seward, Neb.
The 2017 NAIA National Outdoor Championships begin on May 25 and run through May 27 in Gulf Shores, Alabama.