PITTSBURG — “Our future is very bright because of who these kids are. The drive to win, the drive to be a professional, the drive to be a athlete, the drive to commit to doing something on such a large scale is fantastic.” said Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer as he presented the official proclamation from the State of Kansas honoring the 2018 Pittsburg State NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field Men’s National Championship team.
National champion shot putter Bo Farrow and national runner-ups Justice Burks, Ian Duncan and Tanner McNutt were among the individuals honored by the Governor specifically during the event.
Colyer also took time to recognize assistant coach Kyle Rutledge, who was named the NCAA Men’s National Indoor Assistant Coach of the Year.
Pittsburg State president Dr. Steve Scott introduced Gov. Colyer after saying a few words congratulating the team on their championship. Senator Richard Hilderbrand and Representative Monica Murnan also presented track and field coach Russ Jewett with proclamations honoring the team.
“I want everyone to understand that while the championship that these young men won was a big deal, and they scored the points and earned a lot of the credit, they know and we know that they couldn’t have done it without a lot of help.” coach Jewett said as he asked his assistant coaching staff to stand and receive acknowledgement for their part in the accomplishment.
“We owe a big debt of gratitude to quite a few private donors, the city of Pittsburg, and Pitt State students who all supported us financially and otherwise to give us the opportunity to host a national championship in such a cool building.” said coach Jewett on the $13 million state-of-the-art Robert W. Plaster Center that houses the Harvey Dean Track field.
Coach Jewett also took time out of the ceremony to honor the 2016 Women’s Outdoor Track & Field national championship team as well, with some of the participates in the audience.
The Pitt State Men’s track team won the title in what was a highly-competitive meet, edging Tiffin University by a lone point.
Twelve Pitt State players earned all-MIAA honors and seven Gorillas were named NCAA All-Americans during the 2018 campaign.
In the conclusion of the ceremony Pitt State unveiled banners honoring the 2016 and 2018 national championship teams that are now up in the Robert W. Plaster Center.
Head Coach Jewett was named the US Track Field and Cross Country Coaches' Association NCAA Division II Men’s National Indoor Coach of the Year.