COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – For the second week in a row, Belmont University's Caleb Corprew shattered his own school record. There was much more riding on the race this time though.
Corprew (Midwest City, Okla.) claimed his second straight Ohio Valley Conference 400-meter hurdles championship on Saturday, one of six Belmont men's track and field records to fall at the OVC Outdoor Championships at Tennessee Tech's Tucker Stadium. Corprew swept the hurdles events to help the Bruins finish second overall in back-to-back years.
Belmont matched its program best of 138 points, set at last year's meet, and fended off third-place Southeast Missouri by two. Eastern Kentucky won its first men's title in more than 60 years with 170 points.
The 400 hurdles was more than just Corprew's record time of 51.23 seconds, which surpassed the 51.90 he ran at last week's minor Tennessee Challenge. Belmont scored 24 team points in the event thanks to four placers out of eight overall finalists.
Senior Christian Crenshaw (Memphis, Tenn.) was third in 53.59, sophomore Alex Miller (Colorado Springs, Colo.) was fourth in 53.69 – he was also fourth in the 110 hurdles – and freshman Khristian Vickers (Madison, Tenn.) was sixth in 55.95.
"It's awesome to see what this program has done in four years and where they're headed, and I think that race was a perfect isolated moment of that," Corprew said of the 400 hurdles. "We didn't even have four guys (hurdling) back then."
Corprew added gold in the 110 hurdles in 14.30 and he teamed with Crenshaw, sophomore Ryan Teague (Double Oak, Texas) and junior Nate Nammour (Tampa, Fla.) to earn bronze in the 4x400-meter relay. Their time of 3:14.55 was one of two Belmont records in the relays. Sophomores Drake Mitchell (Nashville, Tenn.) and Seth Randall (Crossville, Tenn.) paired with freshman Jared DeVore (Portland, Ore.) and junior Andrew Garcia (Brentwood, Tenn.) to run a record 42.35 in the 4x100 relay, good enough for fifth place.
Mitchell concluded an insanely busy weekend by setting Belmont's triple jump record – three times. The triple jump was the 15th event of the meet for Mitchell, who finished second in the decathlon on Friday, and he still managed to jump 13.62, 13.72 and finally 13.94 meters (45 feet, 9 inches) on his second-to-last attempt of the competition.
"Rather than think about it, I just knew this was it," said Mitchell, whose record jump landed him in eighth place. "After this, I'm done. I can rest. I just went for it."
Corey Claiborne (Alpharetta, Ga.) scored a set of silver medals with his performances in the shot put and discus events. A shot put specialist, it was junior's discus toss that stood out Saturday. Claiborne's throw of 51.21 meters (168 feet) was a whopping three meters better than anything he's every thrown and it smashed the school record in the event (set in 2010 by his coach, Joey Frye) by almost two meters.
"It feels great. From a throws side of things, I think we executed," said Claiborne, who also took second in the shot in 17.13 (56-2.50). "We did our job. As a unit, we performed really well today and this whole competition."
The Bruins had one more runner-up in Nammour, who ran to second in the 400 meters in 47.79. He was also eighth in the 200.
Junior Ryan Lipe (Franklin, Tenn.) and Mitchell were sixth and seventh in the pole vault respectively, and Teague rounded out Belmont's point scorers with a seventh-place finish in the 200.
Belmont's track and field season is completed with the exception of a few athletes who will perform at the NCAA East Preliminary Championships in two weeks in Tampa, Fla. The top 48 ranked athletes in the East Region qualify. Those currently in that category include Corprew in the 400 hurdles (10th), Claiborne in the shot put (42nd) and sophomore Declan McManus (Worcestershire, England) in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (22nd).
FINAL MEN'S TEAM SCORES
1. Eastern Kentucky 170
2. Belmont 138
3. Southeast Missouri 136
4. Eastern Illinois 113
5. SIUE 102
6. Tennessee St. 95
7. Tennessee Martin 33
8. Morehead St. 23
BELMONT MEN'S RESULTS
8. Nate Nammour, jr. — 23.70
2. Nate Nammour, jr. — 47.79
7. Ryan Teague, so. — 49.62
9. Matthew Blivin, sr. — 3:58.66
11. Anthony Didion, sr. — 3:59.81
5. Matt Edwards, sr. — 15:33.59
10. Declan McManus, 15:53.41
14. Jackson Vroon, fr. — 16:28.56
1. Caleb Corprew, sr. — 14.30
4. Alex Miller, so. — 15.33
1. Caleb Corprew, sr. — 51.23*^
3. Christian Crenshaw, sr. — 53.59
4. Alex Miller, so. — 53.69*
6. Khristian Vickers, fr. — 55.95*
2. Corey Claiborne, jr. — 17.13m (56-2.50)
5. Stephen Gibson, jr. — 16.06m (52-8.25)*
-- Cal Widener, fr. — Foul
2. Corey Claiborne, jr. — 51.21m (168-0)*^
7. Cal Widener, fr. — 44.68m (146-7)*
8. Stephen Gibson, jr. — 43.18m (141-8)
9. Ryan Sheldon, fr. — 41.71m (136-10)
5. Bobby Willingham, fr. — 4.01m (13-1.75)*
6. Ryan Lipe, jr. — 3.56m (11-8)
7. Drake Mitchell, so. — 3.26m (10-8.25)*
8. Drake Mitchell, so. — 13.94m (45-9)*^
-- Ryan Lipe, jr. — DNS