Thunder Claim first MIAA Indoor Track and Field Title

Thunder Claim first MIAA Indoor Track and Field Title

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.

Jacob Payne (LaPorte, Ind./LaPorte), Daniel and Ryan Haarer (Goshen, Ind./Northridge) notched the third-through-fifth spots in the pole vault.

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Trine will look to solidify bids to the NCAA Division III National Championships at last-chance meets next week.