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Area athletes win NCAA Indoor track and field titles

By Michael Beaven Published: March 19, 2014

Five Northeast Ohio natives won a title in NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championship between the Divisions I, II and III meets this past Saturday.

The champions were Shawn Barber of the University of Akron, Louisiana State's Quincy Downing of Cleveland Glenville High School, Lake Erie College's Jamil Dudley of Massillon Washington High School, Ashland's Jessica Bridenthal of Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary High School and Mount Union's Sean Donnelly of Willoughby South High School.

Barber is UA’s first male individual track and field national champion and fourth overall. He is a sophomore from Kingwood, Texas who has dual citizenship in the United States and Canada. He won the pole vault title in a height of 18 feet, 10¼ inches at the Division I championships in Albuquerque, N.M., which broke his own Canadian national record of 18 feet, 6¾ inches.

Barber topped 2013 NCAA Outdoor champ Sam Kendricks of Mississippi, who cleared 18 feet, 8½ inches. Kendricks missed all three attempts at 18 feet, 10¼ inches.

Also in Albuquerque, LSU junior Downing joined sophomores Darrell Bush and Cyril Grayson and junior Vernon Norwood to win the 1,600-meter relay in 3 minutes, 4.10 seconds. Downing ran LSU's fastest split, 46.03 seconds.

Dudley, a senior, won his second Division II high jump title in Winston-Salem, N.C. He is Lake Erie’s first two-time NCAA champion. Dudley and Jeron Robinson of Texas A&M Kingsville topped out at 7 feet, 1 inch, and Dudley won the title on fewer misses.

Bridenthal won the women’s Division II weight throw at 64 feet, 8 inches.

In Division III, Donnelly, a junior, set a championship meet record in the weight throw at 68 feet, 8¾ inches. The result is the second-longest throw in Division III history.

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