SMITH FINALLY GETS COVETED NATIONALS BERTH IN 600

Blue Dragon sophomore Elijah Smith qualified for the NJCAA 600 meters with a school-record time of 1:20.55 on Saturday at the Region VI Championships in Pittsburg. (Photo courtesy Blue Dragon Track and Field).
Blue Dragon sophomore Elijah Smith qualified for the NJCAA 600 meters with a school-record time of 1:20.55 on Saturday at the Region VI Championships in Pittsburg. (Photo courtesy Blue Dragon Track and Field).

Hutchinson CC Sports Information

PITTSBURG – Hutchinson Community College sophomore Elijah Smith has been knocking on the door of the NJCAA Indoor Championships in the 600 meters all season long.

Smith kicked that 600-meter door in on Saturday at Pittsburg State's Plaster Center and broke a school record in the process.

Smith finished fifth in the Region VI 600 with a national qualifying time of 1 minute, 20.55 seconds. Smith broke the Blue Dragon record of Stein Desir in 2016. He became the 18th Blue Dragon qualifier for the 2019 NJCAA Indoor Championships which at the Plaster Center on March 1 and 2.

CLICK FOR FINAL REGION VI CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS

Freshman Brett Hillabrand earned his fourth NJCAA qualification, running the leadoff leg of the 4x800-meter relay for the Blue Dragons. Hillabrand, Connor Kaufman, Tony Ibarra and Jason Luft finished as Region VI runner-up on Saturday with a national qualifying time of 7 minute, 55.34 seconds. That is the fifth-fastest time in Blue Dragon indoor history.

The Blue Dragon men finished fourth in the team standings with 58 points. Cloud County captured the men's team title with 172.5 points. Barton was second with 155 points and Coffeyville was third with 145.5 points.

The Blue Dragons had several other point scorers on Saturday:

+ Freshman Sylvestre Kibarar placed fourth in the mile run with a time of 4:26.50 and then placed sixth in the 3,000 meters with a time of 8:55.85.

+ Sprinter Jared Scott placed fourth in the 200-meter finals with a time of 21.49 seconds and placed fifth in the 60 finals in a time of 7.35 seconds.

+ Sprinter Brock Appiah moved up to fourth on the all-time Blue Dragon 200-meter list with a seventh-place Region VI time of 21.80 seconds.

+ Hillabrand and Kaufman moved up the Blue Dragon charts in the 1,000 meters. Hillabrand was fifth with a PR of 2:33.24, which is fourth-best in Hutch history. Kaufman was eighth in 2:34.42, which is seventh in Blue Dragon indoor history.

+ Kade Gerlach placed eighth in the 3,000 meters in a time of 9:11.81.