Men’s indoor track took second place this past weekend with a total of 141.5 points, losing by 1.5 points to Shippensburg University in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Indoor Track and Field Championships. Senior Ryan Thompson earned the meet’s MVP award for his performance.
“Our conference has a lot of depth,” Thompson said. “I was completely surprised to get the MVP award.”
Thompson took first place in the mile run with a time of 4:11.40, which beat second place by six seconds, while also hitting a NCAA provisional mark. The senior also took third place in the 3,000-meter run with a time of 8:33.94, while also being on the team that placed third in the distance medley relay alongside senior Tyler Palenchak, junior James Chandler and sophomore Josh Rader.
“It was pretty neat to see,” head coach John Papa said. “We’ve been impressed all year by (Thompson’s) efforts and he certainly earned it.”
Graduate student David Reinhardt improved on his season-best in the weight throw for the sixth straight week by placing second with a toss of 18.12 meters. In the pole vault, junior Jordan Pacheco took first place with a height of 4.91 meters, while junior Andrew Koksal took fourth place with a height of 4.81 meters. All three athletes hit the NCAA mark in the events.
Freshman Ian Nieves broke the SRU record in his second go-around of the 60-meter hurdles when he placed second in the event with a time of 8.18, also hitting the NCAA mark. In the 60-meter dash, Nieves placed second in the preliminaries with a time of 6.91 and a final time of 6.92, which placed him third.
“I was a little nervous because this was my first PSAC Championship,” Nieves said. “Staying focused and not getting ahead of myself was really hard.”
In the 200-meter dash, sophomore Collin Darby took sixth place in the preliminaries with a time of 22.15, while senior Brandon Vanderbrook took eighth place in the preliminaries with a time of 22.38. Darby took fifth in the finals with a time of 22.21, with Vanderbrook directly behind him in sixth place with a time of 22.34. Senior Jacob VanHouten took third in the 400-meter dash preliminaries with a time of 49.46, while also taking third in the finals with a time of 49.43.
The Rock took first place in the 4×400 meter relay behind the legs of Darby, Chandler, VanHouten and fifth-year senior Andrew Schroder with a time of 3:19.05. Senior JJ Ollio placed third in the shot put with a distance of 15.56 meters, while freshman Dylan Colcombe placed third in the heptathlon with 4,589 points. Senior Adam Leeper hit the NCAA mark when he won the triple jump event with a jump of 14.71 meters.
“We had our share of significant performances this weekend,” Papa said.
The Rock will now shift its focus to the outdoor season, but first, Thompson will have to travel to Birmingham, Ala. to compete in the NCAA Nationals, March 9-11. Thompson will compete in the mile run, surrounded by steep competition from around the country.
The rest of the athletes are ready for the outdoor season, and Papa said preparing to beat Shippensburg is something to focus on.
“Everybody is thinking, ‘I need to give a little more’,” Papa said. “Outdoor season is what everyone is ready for at this point.”