Cusick cracks the 1,500 field at NCAA Div. II

BHS grad 12th at outdoor nationals

BHS graduate John Cusick during his Wolverine cross country days. Enlargephoto

TIMES FILE PHOTO

BHS graduate John Cusick during his Wolverine cross country days.

Truly looking to make a major Memorial Day Weekend memory for himself, Colorado Mesa University junior John Cusick took his final start of the 2014 season in the finals of the 1,500-meter run at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field National Championships.

A 2011 Bayfield graduate, he'd finished third in his preliminary heat at Grand Valley State University in Michigan two days before with a time of 3:55.57. That left him 12th-fastest going into the grand finale, looking either to win it all or at least place in the top eight and gain D-II All-America status.

Unfortunately neither was to be for the former Wolverine. Unable to better his standing inside GVSU Track & Field Stadium, he ran 4 minutes, 6.14 seconds and remained 12th. Tarleton (Texas) State University sophomore Chase Rathke won with 3:45.60.

Ashland, Ohio, University junior Brian Baum took second in 3:46.91, and Adams State (Alamosa, Colo.) University junior Matt Daniels ended up third in 3:47.13.

Using the NCAA's distance-conversion factor, Cusick's Day 3 time equated to a 4:25.83 mile-or still faster than his BHS-record 4:27.

All three ran in the second prelim, while Cusick competed in the first and barely trailed Colorado School of Mines senior Frank Socha's 3:55.26 and TSU soph Dylan Willett's 3:55.51.

One of four Mavericks to make the trip from Grand Junction, Colo., to Allendale, Mich., Cusick had earned his championships berth with a 3:48.51-over the 'automatic' standard of 3:45.17 (a 4:03.18 mile!)

All told at the NCAA meet, CMU finished 14th in the men's standings with 18 total points. St. Augustine's (Raleigh, N.C.) University won the title with 112.

FLINT NOT FAYETTEVILLE-BOUND: Bayfield alum Steve Flint, shown as a junior on Brigham Young University stat sheets, currently holds his team's sixth-best time in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, but was not one of the four Cougars accepted to run at last month's NCAA Div. I Track & Field West Region Preliminary in Fayetteville, Ark.

His 9:05.63 in the event, achieved April 4 at the Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto, Calif., ranked 62nd nationwide but was a "scratch" when West competitors were announced. Freshman teammate Nicholas Plumb's 9:04.91 (59th-best) also went unaccepted for the 48-runner field, but the 60th- and 61st-best times (by Gonzaga senior Patrick Richie and Arkansas senior Raymond Joseph, respectively) were.

The qualifiers from the regional advance to the D-I Outdoor Nationals, June 11-14 in Eugene, Ore.

Coming into 2014's completed indoor T&F season off a 137th-place run at the 2013 NCAA Div. I Cross-Country Championships [at which BYU took fourth as a team], Flint recorded a 4:10.81 mile back in February at the New Balance Armory Invitational in New York City.

Last spring he was selected for the West Preliminary, where his steeplechase time was 8:46.19.