Double Dip: Sea Gulls win two national championships at NCAA indoor title meet

Double Dip: Sea Gulls win two national championships at NCAA indoor title meet

GRINNELL, Iowa – The Salisbury University men's track & field team capped the 2016 NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field National Championships with two individual national championships and a seventh-place team finish to add to its trophy case, as senior Luke Campbell won the 60-meter hurdles, before teaming with junior Jerel Madison and sophomores Zach Schmelz and Eric Halton to win the 4x400-meter relay.

The two wins gave the Sea Gulls 20 total points as a team in the meet, tying them for seventh in the country with Williams College.

Campbell got the successful day started with his third-straight national title in the hurdles. After qualifying for the finals on Friday with a time of 7.88 seconds, Campbell cut .06 seconds off of that time to take the championship.

"I'm speechless still, but it is very emotional; I'm very thankful for what I have been able to accomplish," Campbell said. "It is always an honor winning national championships, and each one means so much to me."

He was neck-and-neck with University of Wisconsin-Platteville's Dan Arnold through the entire 60 meters, as the pair began to pull away from the pack after the third hurdle. As they approached the finish, Campbell was able to just pull away, winning with a time of 7.82 seconds, just .03 seconds ahead of Arnold. His time is his best of the 2016 season, while it set a facility record for Grinnell College's Bear Athletic Center.

"This season has been one of trials and tribulations, so to come out on top, through it all, it is an amazing feeling," Campbell added.

The Sea Gulls closed out the day with the 4x400 relay, with Schmelz running the first leg. He quickly got Salisbury into second position for their heat. Halton and Madison continued to hold the second spot after the first two handoffs. After the third transition, Campbell held steady through the first lap and a half; at the final turn, he made his push to take the lead, overtaking University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in the final stretch to win the championship in a time of 3:16.69.

"It is amazing. Last year, with outdoors, I thought that was phenomenal, but this is on a whole new level," Schmelz said. "I don't know when I'll calm down about it, but I'm just so happy that we won."

The time marks a new school record for a flat-surface track, besting the groups preliminary time of 3:17.94 from Friday by more than a second.

With the win, Campbell now holds nine total national championships in his career, which is tied for the most in Division III for combined championships between the indoor and outdoor seasons. It is the first individual title for Schmelz, Halton, and Madison.

"We really believed we could do it," Campbell said. "We went out there and won a national championship, and it is different than hurdles; winning something with teammates is more wholesome, and I can't describe how it feels right now."

The Salisbury women were also represented in the meet by junior Meghan McGowan, who earned her second-straight indoor All-American in the high jump. She tied for sixth in the event with a height of 5' 5".

"After getting All-American last during indoors, but not getting it in the outdoors, I came in hungry for it, no matter what it would take to get there," McGowan said. "When I knew that I was definitely top eight, I was ecstatic and felt like my goals for the whole season have come together."

McGowan only needed three jumps to claim her spot, clearing the first-two heights on one jump, each, before clearing the 5' 5" mark on her first jump, as well.

The Sea Gulls now look to continue their outdoor season, traveling to Goucher College on Saturday, March 26; the meet is set to begin at 9 a.m.

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