Published June 11, 2015
EUGENE, Ore. — UB senior Jonathan Jones continued his record-breaking ways, winning gold in the shot put yesterday and becoming the first national champion in UB's Division I history. Now a six-time All-American, Jones had a school-record heave of 20.78 meters on his second attempt to take top honors at the 2015 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships hosted by the University of Oregon.
"Bringing a national championship back to Buffalo is a dream come true," said throws coach Jim Garnham Sr. "Jon beat some awesome talent today, but it was a nail biter. There's something special about him. It hasn't quite hit me yet that we have a national champion. I'm on cloud nine."
Darrell Hill of Penn State matched Jones' 20.78-meter performance on his third attempt, but Jones' first throw of 20.31 meters bettered Hill's second-best mark. Jones had secured himself the top position entering the finals, allowing him the last laugh. He fouled three consecutive throws — his third, fourth and fifth attempts — but with the win in the bag, finished with a solid 20.57-meter toss.
"For our program, for our university, this moment is enormous," said director and head coach Vicki Mitchell. "Jon has brought so much pride to UB and this track & field program. It's a fantastic accomplishment."
Jones has tallied three indoor and three outdoor All-America finishes in the shot put. Most recently, he placed third at indoor NCAAs, matching the top finish in program history, and also had placed fourth as a sophomore at the outdoor championships. He edged his school record of 20.75 meters set at the USATF National meet in 2014 and improved his season-best mark of 20.70 meters on the day.
Two other Bulls also competed in the national championships.
Junior Ryan Billian, who became an outdoor All-American in the long jump last season, clocked a 10.41 finish in the 100-meter dash to place 20th. He set a school record in the sprint with a 10.35 finish at the 2015 MAC Championships before running to a ninth-place finish, also with a time of 10.41, at the NCAA East Preliminaries.
Junior Mike Morgan dropped out of the decathlon after eight events.
After the first day of the two-day competition, Morgan sat in eighth place through five events with 4,017 points. His top performance came on a career-best long jump mark of 7.42 meters, good for 915 points. Morgan added 850 points with a time of 11.05 in the 100-meter dash and 845 points with a 49.34 finish in the 400. He threw the shot 12.99 meters for 667 points and cleared 1.93 meters in the high jump to earn 740 points.
On day two, Morgan, a two-time indoor heptathlon All-American, raced to the 10th-best time in the day's first event, the 110-meter high hurdles. He clocked a 14.94 finish — good for 857 points — and moved into sixth place in the competition. He went on to record a career-best toss of 42.64 meters in the discus — the fourth-best in the field — bettering his personal record by 2.96 meters. He had tallied 5,592 points through seven events.
However, the decathlon's eighth event — the pole vault — proved to be his last. He failed to clear the 4.70 meters at which he entered the competition and did not earn any points for that portion of the competition.
He then did not take part in the final two events — the javelin throw and the 1,500-meter run.