GRINNELL, Iowa --- Colby College's Dom Kone (Bucksport/Bucksport, Maine) is a national champion and the fastest NCAA Division III men's sprinter in the country for a second straight year.
Kone, a junior, won the 60-meter dash at the NCAA Division III Men's Indoor Track and Field Championships with a facility-record clocking of 6.75 at Grinnell College's Charles Benson Bear Athletic Center. He also broke his own school record in the 60 dash after finishing with a 6.78 on Friday night in a preliminary race. Kone earned his second All-American honor at an NCAA indoor meet.
Kone finished second in his prelim heat to Guilford's Jonathan Smith, who clocked a 6.76 to break the facility record for one day. While Kone came into the meet as the top seed, Smith instantly took favorite status after his impressive prelim run. Kone had the 6.78 despite having a slow start.
"I was happy that (Smith) ran that time," Kone said. "I knew that if I had a good start, I could beat that time."
Smith was in lane four and Kone was to his left in lane three. Kone had a slightly better start than Friday, but he still fell behind in the first 30 meters. Smith appeared to have the lead with about 10 to 15 meters to go. Kone kept sprinting hard through the line while Smith leaned at the line. Smith had a time of 6.80 to take second place and Kenneth Turner was third in 6.82.
"My start still could have been better. I still felt a little hesitant," said Kone, who did have a false start disqualification in the 60 dash at the New England Division III meet. "The transfer phase of the race and my drive were a lot better. It also helped to have the adrenaline pumping. I needed it because I didn't pass him to the final 10 meters."
Kone had a terrific winter season, winning the ECAC title in the 60 dash and the 200 dash championship at the New England Division III meet. He also won three Maine State titles in the 60 dash, 200 dash, and long jump.
The victory was extra sweet for Kone after pulling his hamstring in the 55 dash final at the NCAA indoor meet last year. He limped home in eighth place and had to settle for knowing he had clocked the fastest 55 dash time in the country during his preliminary race. The NCAA decided to go to the 60 dash this year.
"I'm just so happy for him because you couldn't have handled things any better than Dom did last year after the injury," Colby head coach Jared Beers said. "He looked at it as one more obstacle to be tackled and never got down."
Kone didn't even compete in indoor track and field during his first year at Colby. He played on the men's basketball team during the winter months. Kone joined the indoor team the following year and is now the fastest Division III sprinter in the country.
"I won the 100 meters in my freshman year at the NESCAC outdoor meet and I thought that it might be a good idea if I start running indoors," said Kone with a laugh.
Kone becomes the fifth varsity athlete in Colby athletics history to win a national title. Jamie Brewster '00 won the hammer throw in 1997, 1998, and 1999 to finish as the only Mule to every win multiple national titles. Abbi Lathrop '06 won the giant slalom in skiing, Cindy Pomerleau '97 was the heptathlon champion for women's track and field, and Todd Coffin '83 captured the steeplechase for men's outdoor track and field in 1983. Billy Pettengill '11 won a national snowboardercross title in 2009 at the U.S. Snowboard Association National Championships. The 2003 Colby women's crew is the lone team to win a national title.
Event 2 Men 60 Meter Dash
Stadium: # 6.81 2012 Kenneth Turner, McMurry
Name Year School Finals Points
1 Dominique Kone JR Colby 6.75# 10
2 Johnathan Smith SO Guilford 6.80# 8
3 Kenneth Turner JR McMurry 6.82 6
4 Victor Banjo FR Wittenberg 6.86 5
5 Phito Gondre FR UMass Dartmouth 6.88 4 6.875
6 Bruce Gray FR Greenville 6.88 3 6.877
7 Sean Bernstein JR Oneonta 6.91 2
8 Davivorn Dowe SR Dubuque 6.94 1