BROOKINGS, S.D. — Sophomore Seth Wilmoth vaulted himself into a national championship on the final day of the 2019 NAIA Indoor National Championship. Wilmoth cleared a school-record 5.05 meters (16-6 3/4) on his second attempt to win the event.

“Seth Wilmoth was brilliant today,” said Westmont head coach Russell Smelley. “He stayed focused and consistent and clean to win the national championship. He kept going up on his pole size and kept going higher and higher. It was outstanding. (Assistant Coach) Tom Fitzsimons has helped Will develop his skills to a high level and he is going to go higher.”

Only two others competitors remained at the 5.05 meter height — Moussa Conde of Marion (Ind.) and Jordan Downs of Bethel (Ind.). Conde entered the competition at 4.75 meters and had not missed a jump. He not only cleared 4.75 meters, but also 4.85 and 4.90 meters before deciding to pass at 4.95 meters.

Downs entered the event at 4.65 meters, which he cleared on his first attempt. He then passed at 4.75 meters before clearing at 4.85 meters on a single try. After passing again at 4.90 meters, Downs missed his first attempt at 4.95 meters, but succeeded on his second.

Wilmoth began the competition at 4.5 meters, missing on his first attempt and making his second. He did the same at 4.65 meters before clearing 4.75 meters and 4.85 meters on his first attempt at each height. Wilmoth’s second miss came on his first attempt at 4.90 meters but once again cleared on his second attempt. At 4.95 meters, Wilmoth left the bar in place on his first attempt, eclipsing both a personal and school record.

Going into the 5.0 meter height, Conde held the tie-breaker advantage since he had not missed. Downs was next on the list because his first miss was a 4.95 meters. In addition, Wilmoth had attempted nine vaults during the competition while Conde and Downs had preserved their strength by having made just three and four attempts respectively. With Wilmoth clearly at a disadvantage, all three vaulters cleared 5.0 meters on their first attempts.

Conversely, all three vaulters missed their first attempt at 5.05 meters. Wilmoth was the first in rotation and put the pressure on the other two by making his second attempt. After both Conde and Downs missed on their second attempts, Wilmoth could do nothing but watch and wait for one more attempt by each. Conde went first and missed on his third attempt, meaning Wilmoth would be no less national runner-up. When Downs missed, Wilmoth stood alone as national champion.

Things did not go as well for Michael Oldach, who was considered a top contender in the men’s mile.

“In the mile, Michael ran wonderfully,” said Smelley. “Tactically, he moved with 400 meters to go and advanced into the lead with 300 meters to go and was moving away down the back stretch. Then with 100 meters to go, something was clearly wrong. He faltered with 60 meters to go as he was caught, then stumbled with five meters to go and fell and got up and got across the line in eighth place.

“It was very disappointing for him. He did everything right, but he has been sick with a virus and did not have the energy at the end to finish when he needed it. He will bounce back from that.”

Despite the illness and the fall, Oldach completed the race in a time of 4:16.86 and earned All-American honors. Oldach’s illness also effected the men’s 4 x 800 meter distance relay later in the day, since he was scheduled to run the first leg of 1200 meters.

“Instead of contending for the title, we finished in eighth place,” said Smelley. “Pieter Top took Michaels place leading off in the 1200 meters after having competed in the heptathlon the last two days.”

The distance medley relay team of Top, Pedro Perez Espino, Jason Peterson and William Warner completed the race in a time of 10:49.06 to notch All-American honors.

Competing in the men’s shot put was Jack Dickinson who put the shot 15.06 meters (49-5) and finished in 20th place.

In the women’s events, Emily Parks captured All-American honors with a sixth-place finish in the 600 meter run in a time of 1:34.74.

“Parks ran an excellent 600 meters,” said Smelley. “She was on the shoulder of the leader with 100 meters to go and earned her fourth All-American certificate.”

Nadya Wisham placed 12th in the women’s triple jump with a mark of 11.47 meters (37-7.5), which ties for the seventh best mark in Westmont history.

Both the men’s and women’s teams finished 18th in the team totals with the men tallying 17 points and the women 15.

The Warriors return home with one NAIA national champion and 15 indoor track and field All-Americans. Westmont now turns its attention to the outdoor track and field season with the first competition coming on Saturday, March 9 at the Occidental Distance Carnival.