Missouri State Retakes MAC Crown from Miami (OH), Wins 2nd Title in 3 Years

Mid-American Conference (MAC) – Men

  • Wednesday, March 4th-Saturday, March 7th
  • Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois (Central Time Zone)
  • Defending Champion: Miami (OH) (1x) (results)
  • Championship Central
  • Full Results

FINAL TEAM SCORES

  1. Missouri State – 892
  2. Miami (OH) – 812
  3. Southern Illinois – 622
  4. Ball State – 420
  5. Evansville – 346

The Missouri State Bears reclaimed the MAC title from Miami (OH) last night, winning their 2nd MAC Championship in the past 3 years, and their 3rd in program history. Although their program has since been cut, Eastern Michigan still holds the record for most MAC men’s team titles – 34. Missouri State entered the final day of competition with an 80 point lead over Miami, and they ended the meet with an 80 point lead over Miami.

After the Saturday prelims session, it looked like there was an outside shot Miami could overtake Missouri in the team standings. The Bears put that idea to rest with a 1-2-3-4 finish in the mile, the first event of the finals session. Senior Antonio Thomas led the way with a 15:08.99, finishing just off his season best of 15:08.55. The title marked Thomas’ 3rd in the 1650 over his career. Pawel Krawczyk, the defending champion in the event, came in 2nd, finishing right behind Thomas with a 15:09.04. A sophomore, Krawczyk won the mile last year as a freshman with a 15:07.57. Coming in 3rd was MSU sophomore Sebastian Odent (15:25.22), and Jonathan Hill, a MSU freshman, took 4th with a 15:42.36. The Bears outscored Miami by 54 points in the event, which put them up by 134 points with just 5 events and a relay left.

Missouri State also had strong performances in the 200 breast and 3m diving, winning both. In the 200 breast, sophomore Conner Funke unseated defending champion Noah Barr (Miami). Funke swam a personal best 1:58.15, using a quick front half of 56.54 to establish an early lead. Junior teammate Michael Hampel, the champion in the 100 breast, took 2nd in the race with a 1:58.91. Noah Barr finished 3rd this year in 1:59.22. Barr won the event with a 1:57.35 last year.  In 3 meter diving, Missouri State junior Michael Claunch claimed victory with a final score of 310.80.

Southern Illinois picked up a pair of wins on the day, starting with freshman Adam Cernek completing his sweep of the backstroke events. Cernek won the 200 back with a personal best 1:44.29, touching first by nearly 3 seconds. He controlled the race from the start, posting the fastest split in the field on all 4 50s. Cernek won the 100 backstroke on day 3 as well.

SIU also picked up a win in the next event, the 100 free. Senior Tamas Hajtman ran down Miami’s Nick Ward to get his hand on the wall first. Ward took the race out fast, flipping in 20.78 at the 50 mark, while Hajtman was 21.49. Hajtman was back in 22.95, while Ward was 23.73. Hajtman clocked a 44.44, with Ward touching in 44.51.

Miami came on strong at the end of the meet, posting a 1-2-3 finish in the 200 fly. Junior Gordon Wheeler took the event in 1:47.55, with junior teammate Spencer Klinsky touching in 2nd at 1:48.11, and sophomore Ryan Sego was 3rd with a 1:49.06. It was Kilnsky who held the lead through the 150 mark, but he faded on the final 50, and Wheeler overtook him. Miami also won the 400 free relay, with Cole Grosshans (44.24), Nic Wamsley (44.14), Ben Chatwin (44.79), and Nick Ward (43.60) teaming up for a 2:56.77. Miami also won the event last year, where they clocked a 2:56.54. Ward’s split was the fastest in the field, and the only split in the field under 44.

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