Pitt State men’s track and field is welcomed home as national champions
PSU wins the DII Outdoor Track and Field Championship; Brewer, Rollins claim individual titles
PITTSBURG, Ks. – The Pitt State men’s track and field team received a warm welcome home this evening after capturing the national championship in Allendale, Michigan this weekend.
“Words cant describe how good these guys are,” says head coach Kyle Rutledge. “We knew we had something special at the beginning of the year. These guys… wow. The leadership they have and what they did this weekend is just unbelievable.”
“Emotions are high right now,” says sophomore Braylen Brewer. “These past 24 hours have been crazy. Definitely the highlight of my track career in college.”
This accomplishment caps off a nearly perfect season for the Gorillas. They won the cross country, indoor and outdoor MIAA titles leading up to this weekend’s national championship finish.
“You couldn’t have scripted it up any better than this,” says senior Louis Rollins. “The triple crown: MIAA cross country, indoor and outdoor titles. And to cap it off with an outdoor national championship. I’m lost for words for what we’ve accomplished and the group we have and the amazing young men. For me to lead these young men to achieve such an accomplishment is a blessing.”
“Probably should retire right?” Rutledge jokes. “This men’s team, you can say enough about them. They had a mission. Indoors was a little bit of a let down. They really wanted to win the national title indoors. We had to learn how to compete at a national meet. What they did this weekend is exactly how you compete.”
Louis Rollins and Braylen Brewer led the way for the gorillas. Rollins captured a national title in the 110 meter hurdles with a time of 13.65 seconds.
“I got out fast and the guy from West Texas was right there on my right. We battled the whole race,” Rollins says. “This is something I’ve wanted to accomplish since I was a freshman. I wanted to be a national champion. I came up a little short when I was a freshman. For me to be able to battle and accomplish that and go head to head with another competitor. That’s huge. To be able to come out and be national champion is something I can only dream of.”
“Louis Rollins, my goodness that guy is a special, special talent and special person,” Rutledge says. “All he’s been through. I couldn’t be happier for him. Winning this for him, more than anything, means the world to me. To do it for him to cap off the outstanding career he’s had.”
Sophomore Braylen Brewer won also won a title in the 400 meters. He set a new school record with a time of 45.77 seconds.
“I think I have a lot left in the tank,” Brewer says. “Dipping into the 45’s this weekend was a lifetime goal for me. I think give it one more year and I can put up very respectable times. I think our team is only going to get better from here.”
“What an addition Braylen is,” Rutledge says. “We needed a guy that was a game changer, and we brought him in last year and the guy just fit right in. Just a competitor. Not afraid of any situation or any person. That guy just goes out to compete. When you go 45.77 and you split a low 45 in the 4 by 4, you’re pretty special.”
It came down to the very last event this weekend: the 4×400 meter relay.
“We knew West Texas had a very good team, but we felt very strongly about what our guys were capable of doing. They didn’t know the situation for the 4x4oo. We just said go in the race don’t worry abut the points. We kept them in the warmup area. And they had no idea where we were in the standings. They just went and did their thing. Man it was fun.”
The Gorilla men also tallied more than 20 all-American performances. It was a true team effort.
“When you look at what Bryce Grahn did in the steeplechase, getting in fourth place and then Connar Southard in the 1500 and Mason Strader getting 7 points when we were only supposed to get one,” Rutledge says.” Then you’re looking at the hurdles and going 1 and 3. The triple jump getting second. We had a lot of guys just outperform. They just competed and got themselves in a great situations. Top to bottom. LJ in the long jump. That guy was 13th coming in. He was winning it all the way up to the last round and got third. The men’s team is just a phenomenal group. Man they can compete.”
It’s the programs second national title and first in outdoor.
“They were Gorillas this weekend,” Rutledge says. “Meaning they got the ball rolling, they got the fire started. Louis Rollins and they got going in the 4×100. Just outstanding. Once you get that train going these guys know how to finish and that’s exactly what they did this weekend.”
“I think we’re all just on top of the world right now,” Brewer says.”
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