ANGOLA, Ind.-- The Trine men's track and field team won the inaugural MIAA Indoor Track and Field Championship, held Saturday at Keith E. Busse/Steel Dynamics Athletic Recreation Center.
The chase for the title came down to the final event as the Thunder entered the 4-x-400-meter relay trailing Calvin by 2.5 points for first place. Trine's relay team of Zach Markley (Winamac, Ind./Winamac), Jasper Bassett (Auburn, Ind./DeKalb), Jacob Leopold (Ottawa, Ohio/Ottawa-Glandorf) and Patrick Richardville (Leo, Ind./Leo) delivered the final championship performance of the afternoon to give the Thunder the title. The quartet of runners ran a 3:23.59 to top the field by three seconds and notch the team's best mark of the season by more than six seconds.
Trine finished with 171 points to top the second-place Knights by 4.5 points. The Thunder claimed the first-ever MIAA Indoor Track and Field Championship title. This is the first year the conference has sponsored a conference championship during the indoor season.
Numerous performances throughout the day set up the late dramatics, beginning with Trine's performance in the weight throw. Sam Gilly (St. Joseph, Ill./St. Joseph-Ogden) set a new school-record with a throw of 58 feet, 8.75 inches to win the event title and pace a dominating performance by Thunder throwers in the event. Mitch Martin (Monroe, Mich./Monroe) placed second, while Nick Gerber (Goshen, Ind./Goshen) added a fourth-place performance to give Trine three of the top four spots in the event.
Continuing the first-place trend was a school-record performance by freshman Nicholas Zak (Saint John, Ind./Hanover Central) to win the Mile run. Zak bested his own school record by nine seconds to win the event in a blistering 4:18.51. Ricardo Castillo (Goshen, Ind./Goshen) added important points in third with a 4:21 mark that would have been a school record if not for Zak's performance.
Zak added a third-place finish in the 800-meter run. He finished just behind Leopold, who placed second with a 1:55.81 time that was .01 off his own school-record pace.
Trine's throwers racked up more points by taking four of the top eight spots in the shot put. Courtney Mitchell (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Leurs) led the way in second place, while Gilly Derek Scott (Niles, Mich./Niles) and Jessie Dowell (Remington, Ind./Tri Junior-Senior) rounded out the four-through-six spots in the field.
The Thunder also placed four runners in the top eight of the 60-meter dash. Richardville led the way with a new school-record time of 6.97 seconds to place second, while Will Collins (Marion, Ind./Marion) placed fourth. John Daniel (Fort Wayne, Ind./Carroll) and John Harris-Scott (Wesley Chapel, Fla./Wiregrass Ranch) placed seventh and eighth respectively to round out the field.
Trine's Distance Medley Relay team also set a new program-best mark to highlight the performance on the track. Michael Becker (Wauseon, Ohio/Wauseon), Robert Duke (Greentown, Ind./Eastern), Jordan Zamarron (Ionia, Mich./Ionia) and Gregory Littlejohn (LaPorte, Ind./LaPorte) combined for a time of 10:39.83 to eclipse the old school-record by 18 seconds. The runners placed fourth in the event.
Elsewhere on the track, the Thunder placed three in the top eight of the 200-meter dash. Richardville placed second, while Markley and Collins finished fifth and sixth. James Gregory (Akron, Ind./Tippecanoe Valley) placed third in the 60-meter hurdles. Bassett and Markley added second and fifth place finishes respectively in the 400-meter run.
Troy Fritz (Monte Vista, Colo./Sangre de Cristo) added key points in the long jump and triple jump with personal-bests in both events. Fritz placed fifth in th elong jump and seventh in the triple jump.
Trine will look to solidify bids to the NCAA Division III National Championships at last-chance meets next week.