Winston-Salem, N.C. -- On Saturday at the 2014 NCAA-II National Indoor Championships, it was one giant leap for Jamil Dudley and another giant leap for Lake Erie Track & Field and Storm Athletics.
Lake Erie earned a ninth-place finish after Jamil Dudley and Joe Postwaite garnered gold and silver in Saturday's action at the championships. The All-American finishes for Dudley and Postwaite earned the LEC men 18 points, which placed the team ninth among 47 programs that found the scoring column in the two-day meet in Winston-Salem, N.C. The ninth-place finish is a program-best.
Dudley won gold in the high jump, posting a mark of 2.16 meters (7-01). He went 4-of-5 in his progression jumps en route to becoming the sport's indoor national champion. In doing so Dudley became the first Lake Erie athlete to win a national title in a winter sports championship. And the Massillon, Ohio, native is now a national champion twice decorated – he became LEC's first national titlist in any sport in May, 2012, when he when the high jump at the NCAA-II Outdoor National Championship. He is a seven-time NCAA-II All-American.
"Jamil was focused the entire weekend," said Interim Head Coach Ryan Rademacher. "The indoor season was not going the way he wanted, but I told him to be prepared and stay focused, and it would start to come together. His patience paid off."
Joe Postwaite added to Dudley's 10-point performance in the high jump by finishing as the national runner-up in the triple jump. Postwaite had a lead in the triple jump after posting a 15.70-meter (51-6 ¼) performance in his second jump of round one. His top mark in the second round was 15.48 meters, and St. Augustine's (N.C.) DeJon Wilkinson overtook first place with an eventual winning mark of 15.80 meters (51-10), and Postwaite was bumped to second.
Postwaite's 15.70-meter performance set a new Lake Erie record. He is now a three-time All-American.
"Fighting through some hamstring issues, Joe really focused and battled with himself," said Rademacher. "He showed exactly how confident and how hard he has been training over the last couple years, and it finally paid off. Performing at that level is very difficult, yet rewarding, and we are extremely proud of him."
St. Augustine's won the men's title in Winston-Salem, edging out Adams State (Colo.), 84.5 to 83. Adams State scored 67 points to win the women's title.
Lake Erie's ninth-place finish was a confirmation of sorts. The LEC men have been ranked as high as No. 15 in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association poll this season.
The Lake Erie men and women will resume their seasons on March 28 at the Raleigh Relays in Raleigh, N.C. And Rademacher sees Dudley and Postwaite as emblematic of the program at large:
"Their attitudes and work ethic are a representation of the program, and they put together a great series of jumps to claim these titles for our program. We are very excited for them, the program and the school."
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