EUGENE, OR – Senior Jonathan Jones of The University at Buffalo, State University of New York men's track & field team continued his record-breaking ways, winning gold in the shot put and becoming the first national champion in UB's Division I history Wednesday. 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 Championships hosted by 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 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," praised 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. Jones had also 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.
The Bulls also had a pair of juniors in competition Wednesday. Through five events, Mike Morgan sits eighth in the decathlon with 4,017 points. His top performance of the day 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 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.
Morgan, a two-time indoor heptathlon All-American, will return to action at 1 pm ET Thursday racing in the 110 high hurdles to kick off day two of combined event competition. The discus throw, pole vault, javelin and the 1,500 run will follow.
Ryan Billian, who became an outdoor All-American in the long jump last season, clocked a 10.41 finish in the 100 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 of 10.41, at the NCAA East Preliminaries.