PORTSMOUTH — The men’s track and field program at Shawnee State was able to wrap up its 2020 season in successful fashion, as the Bears sent two all-time great runners — Seth Farmer and Steven Adams — to the NAIA National Championships in Brookings, S.D., and claimed a fourth-place finish at the Mid-South Conference Championships during the course of the winter.
After scoring 78 points in its season-opening meet at the Marietta Open against NCAA Division II and III competition, Shawnee State’s Thryecton Deckard added the first individual victory for the men’s program in 2020 with his time of 2:00.63 in the 800-meter run the following weekend against NCAA Division III competition.
Farmer, a competitor of the highest order, set the program’s first NAIA National Standard time of the season the week after Deckard’s triumph by posting a 4:16.97 in the one-mile at the Spire Midwest Track and Field Open en route to winning the event.
He’d improve that time to an NAIA National ‘A’ Standard mark two weeks later at the Akron Invitational, posting a 4:14.06 to officially clinch his chance at defending his NAIA National Championship.
In Shawnee State’s final regular-season meet, the Bears put together numerous highlight performances at the Ohio Wesleyan University Valentine’s Open.
Faheem Gilbert ended up winning two events — the 60-meter dash and the long jump — and accounted for 24 of the team’s points on the day.
Adams dominated the 3,000-meter race with a time of 8:52.75, which gave the Bears another victory.
Tyler Webb (7.45 in the 60 meter dash and a 5.88-meter billing in the long jump), Cody Tolliver (11.49 meters in the shot put and 13 meters in the weight throw), and Andrew Lykins (5.79-meter long jump, 11.73-meter triple jump) combined for 27 points themselves to round out a second-place showing against NCAA Division II competition.
Throughout the Mid-South Conference Track and Field Championships, the Bears received critical performances from several key hands.
On the first day, Adams won the 5,000-meter race by a full eight seconds which gave the team a real boost.
The efforts turned in by Deckard were not unnoticed as he placed fifth in the 600-meter run, while Secoy placed fourth in the 3,000-meter walk.
The team finished in sixth and looked to add to its scoring heading into the final day of competition.
Shawnee State successfully did just that during the second day as Adams added a second victory to his line while posting a 8:50.30 to boot — a NAIA National ‘B’ Standard time that qualified the senior for his first-ever NAIA National Championship run.
Farmer added in his second victory of the season in the mile by running a 4:23.33 to cap off another outstanding conference showing from the senior harrier, and in the most exciting finish of the entire meet, Hunter Ashton cleared 1.86 meters to defeat Cumberlands (Ky.)’s Dillon Vanover in a jumpoff, which allowed SSU to close the meet with 109 points to its credit.
With their performances throughout the season being a precursor of what was to come at the NAIA National Championships, Adams and Farmer didn’t disappoint.
Adams just missed the cut during preliminaries in the Indoor Track and Field National Championships in the 5,000-meter race, but ran his season-best time of 15:13.80 in the event and finished six places above his seeding line.
Farmer, meanwhile, ran a time of 4:17.17 which qualified him as an NAIA National Finalist.
He became the only track and field athlete in Shawnee State’s history to qualify three years in a row.
In his final race, he placed fourth with a time of 4:12.29 claiming, once again, a NAIA All-American honor.
Shawnee State athletes found themselves being awarded several different honors and accolades because of their performance throughout the season.
Farmer, Adams and Ashton were all named first-team All-MSC with Deckard and local native Aiden Kammler being honored as second-team All-MSC members.
Farmer also won two of the Bears’ three Track Athlete of the Week honors, with the other going to Gilbert for the latter’s aforementioned performance at the Ohio Wesleyan Valentine’s Meet.
The team will certainly have big shoes to fill with two of the school’s most prolific student-athletes graduating in Adams and Farmer, but with Ashton, Deckard, Kammler, Tolliver and Webb all back among many others, the men’s track and field program is in good position to capitalize on its successes going forward.
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