The Pittsburg State men’s and women’s track and field team found quite a bit of success last weekend at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Championships in San Angelo, Texas.

The Pittsburg State men’s and women’s track and field team found quite a bit of success last weekend at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Championships in San Angelo, Texas.

On the men’s side, behind a pair of third-place All-America performances on the final day of competition, the Gorillas turned in their second-best all-time team finish, placing in a tie for sixth with 29 points.

This came after the Gorillas finished second behind Central Missouri at the MIAA Outdoor Championships, May 2-3.

“We really pride ourselves on winning a conference title and we did not do that this year,” said PSU head coach Russ Jewett. “But, we are probably one of the better second-place teams out there.”

Junior Jeremy Jackson turned in an all-time personal best time in the 110 meter hurdles. He was clocked in 14.07 seconds to finish third in the event. Ronnie McGirt of Albany State won the race in 13.69. Sophomore Kiara Jones also scored a third-place effort with a mark of 50-4.50 in the triple jump. Ramon Sparks of Abilene Christian leapt 52-4.75 to claim the national title.

Sophomore Mike Beeler also placed fourth in the javelin to garner All-America honors. He tossed the implement 203-7. Felipe Ortiz, from Puerto Rico-Mayaguez, won the event with a toss of 226-2.

Junior Mujahid Hassaballa earned All-America honors with a seventh-place showing in the 1,500 meters. He crossed the finish line in 3:54.07.

Junior Brian Allen rounded out the Pitt State contingent’s Saturday competition. Allen, who was attempting to earn All-America honors in the hammer, shot put and discus during the three-day competition, fouled on all three of his attempts in the discus.

St. Augustine’s claimed the NCAA-II men’s title in a meet that wasn’t decided until the final event -- the 4x400m relay. St. Augustine’s won the relay to finish with 94 points to break a points tie entering the relay with second-place finisher Abilene Christian, which finished with 86 points.

Adams State (75), Lincoln (53) and Central Missouri (30) rounded out the top five schools. Pitt State tied for sixth with Ashland.

On the women’s side, PSU senior Vanessa Lee capped a stellar career with the Gorillas after finishing third in the 800 meters.

Lee, seeking her fourth NCAA-II national crown in the discipline, crossed the finish line in 2:10.88 to secure All-America accolades for a final time in her primary racing discipline. Ashley Puga, a senior from Northwest Nazarene, defended her 2009 indoor crown in the event with a winning time of 2:07.24.

“She got in traffic and got tripped up and she may of had a chance to win it,” Jewett said. “She shot up with the leaders in a span of about 80 meters and that took a lot of energy.

“She has had a great impact on our program and on Pittsburg State. She will be unforgettable.”

Needless to say, the future looks bright for the Gorillas in the season ahead.

“We are very excited about the future and we bring back all the guys that scored points for us at nationals,” Jewett said. “But, we have to understand that is potential so, there is still a lot of work to do.”

Top returners next year include defending MIAA champion Ethan Hobbs in the pole vault and All-America high jumper Greg Clawson — who missed the outdoor season with a foot injury.

“If we can get him healthy and back to his form, he is one name to throw in the mix,” Jewett said.

Tim Testa, who was second at the MIAA Outdoor Championship, also returns.

On the women’s side, Megan Ballock, who qualified for nationals as a freshman and finished 10th in the 800 her junior season, returns along with 5,000 runner Brittany Graff — who placed fifth in the 1,500 and fourth in the 3,000 and 5,000 at the MIAA Championships.

“We certainly have some work to do, especially on the women’s side but, we are not going to rest on our laurels,” Jewett said. “We will stay hungry and keep pressing forward.”

Matthew Clark can be reached at matthew.clark@morningsun.net or at 620-231-2600, Ext. 140. Follow Morning Sun sports at twitter.com/mssports.