The day couldn’t go fast enough for the Hutchinson Community College men’s track and field team on Saturday at the Region VI Outdoor Championships at Gowans Stadium.
With Coffeyville making a charge at the Blue Dragons throughout Saturday, the final four events became tense for HCC. But when the end of the day finally arrived, it came with a refreshing celebration dip in the steeplechase pit for HCC head coach Pat Becher and his staff as the Blue Dragon men captured the first Region VI team championship since 1996.
Not only did Hutchinson win the third Region VI championship under Becher’s guidance, the Blue Dragons also repeated as Jayhawk West champions, nearly doubling their point total over second-place Barton.
Hutchinson scored 135 points in the Region VI standings, putting an exclamation point on the victory with an emphatic win in the 4x400-meter relay. As anchorman Julio Martinez crossed the finish line, the Blue Dragons started the celebration and it continued during a victory lap that ended with Becher going into the drink. Coffeyville was second with 121.5 points and Johnson County was third with 119 points.
Leading by 26 points entering the final day of competition on Saturday, the Blue Dragons scored multiple points in the discus, high jump, pole vault and 3,000-meter steeplechase. HCC scored in 11 of 16 scored events on Saturday.
The day started off nicely as Hutchinson scored eight points from three athletes in the discus. Skylar Arneson placed fourth with a throw of 153 feet. Brandon Koeningsman was seventh at 145 feet, 4 inches and Robert Dunn placed eighth at 143-6.
Spencer Amerin then raised the ante on the field when he captured the regional championship in the high jump with a personal-best 6 feet, 11 3/4 inches, the fourth-best high jump in Blue Dragon men’s history. HCC made it 15 points in the high jump when Cody Howell placed fifth, clearing 6-5 1/2.
HCC garnered 11 points in the pole vault as Lex Parson placed second after clearing 15 feet, 4 1/2 inches. Dakota Becker placed was sixth with a personal-best 14-10 3/4.
Hutch earned eight points from the 3,000-meter steeplechase after Nic Rogers placed fourth in a time of 10 minutes, 18.68 seconds. Kyle Sooter was sixth in 10:33.43.
The 4x400-meter relay team of Paul Hatch, Juwan Cubit, Skylar Gutierrez and Martinez closed the championship out in style, going into the race seeded seventh and winning with a time of 3:19.19. Hatch set an early pace, but even as Cloud County pressed the Blue Dragons on each leg, Cubit, Gutierrez and Martinez each held off the challenges with very strong final 50 meters in each leg.
Martinez scored big individually with a third-place showing in the 800 meters, posting a personal-best time of 1:54.18, which ranks as the sixth-best time in program history.
Sprinter Cordarrelle Patterson finished third in the 200 meters with a time of 21.28 seconds. He was fifth in the 100 meters in a time of 10.64 seconds.
Robert Whitfield placed sixth in the triple jump at 46-7 1/4. Hatch was eighth in the 400 meters in a time of 50.22 seconds. Brandon Massey placed eighth in the 1,500 meters in a time of 4:10.12.
The Blue Dragons will take 21 men’s qualifiers to the NJCAA Outdoor National Championships which will begin next week in Levelland, Texas.
(HCC Sports Information)