By Ryan Cantrell, Assistant Sports Editor
The 2009 NCAA Division II national championship brought the Wildcats seven-year title streak to an end Saturday. The men’s team took second in the team competition and the women sixth for the first time since 2001 that ACU did not win an indoor or outdoor national championship.
The men’s track team held a close lead going into the final day of the meet and it came down to the final event: the 4×400 relay. Four of the last eight years the Wildcats and St. Augustine have battled to the last event, but for the first time the Falcons ended on top. The win give the Falcons more points in the meet than the Wildcats and the national title. The women’s team failed to register a single, team point in first three days, but they battled back on the final day and finished sixth.
“I was really proud of the effort the guys gave,” Coach Don Hood said. “We came into the meet as 20-25 point underdogs. Everyone competed really hard and scored what they were supposed to or better, which is incredible for a meet. I wish we could of done a little more to win it, but bottom line we just ran out of bullets.”
ACU had individuals who performed well and won national titles. Camille Vandendriessche made history in the decathlon winning his third straight decathlon title. He became the first athlete in NCAA Division II history to win three straight multi-event championships, the third athlete in NCAA history to win three straight multi-event titles, and only the fourth athlete in NCAA history to win three multi-event titles in a career. Camille posted his personal best in the decathlon scoring 7,674 total points.
“The biggest event on the first day was the long jump for me.” Camille Vandedriessche said. “I beat my record by a foot and that surprised me.” “The second day I was able to seal the deal with the pole vault as I put a lot of distance between me and second place.”
Camille was proud that his father was able to attend and witness the event, but regretted that he could not share his result with a team victory:
“It doesn’t mean as much as it would have if the team would of won; that was what was most important,” Vandedriessche said. “I am still very happy to set the record and contribute to ACU and bring publicity to the program.”
Nick Jones put up an impressive performance to defend his title in discus. Jones was in second with his throw of 178-7, but launched a 182-1 for his final throw, claiming his second title in discus throw.
Ramon Sparks upset NCAA Division II Male Field Athlete of the Year Joe Kindred to win the National Championship in the triple jump. Linda Brivule defended her title in the women’s Javelin throw. On her first attempt she put up a throw of 162-10, which nobody else could match, securing her second national title.