INDIANAPOLIS-- Trine's Sam Gilly has earned his first trip to the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field National Championships, the NCAA announced today as part of its national entries release.
Gilly (St. Joseph, Ill./St. Joseph-Ogden) earned the bid to the national meet with the 13th-best performance in the weight throw during the Indoor Track and Field season. The senior could become the first Thunder men's thrower to earn All-America honors since Trine joined NCAA Division III in 2004. For each individual men's event contested, the top 15 declared student-athletes were accepted into the competition. The championships will be held March 11-12 at the Charles Benson Bear '39 Recreation and Athletic Center in Grinnell, Iowa, with Grinnell College serving as the official host.
"This is a huge step forward for our track and field program as this marks the third-consecutive year that we have sent a student-athlete from both the men's and women's teams to represent our university at the Division III indoor national championship," said Rod Waters, head coach of Trine's track and field teams. "Furthermore, coach Amanda Cope has done a significant job in developing our throwers. Under her tutelage, the student-athletes continue to develop into national championship-caliber throwers."
Gilly enters the national meet peaking at the right time, having set and tied his own school-record each of the last two weekends. The senior set a school record with a throw of 58 feet, 8.75 inches in the weight throw to lead the Thunder to the inaugural MIAA Indoor Track and Field Championship title. For his performance, Gilly was named the MIAA Field Athlete of the Year.
The senior matched that performance last weekend in Ohio Northern University's Polar Bear Final Qualifier. Gilly has set or tied the school record in the event four times this season. He was also named the MIAAs Field Athlete of the Week for his performance in Trine's Don and Riley Zimmer Indoor Classic.
Over the course of the last three seasons, Gilly has improved his weight throw distance by nearly 17 feet. He first competed in the weight throw as a sophomore at Trine.
Gilly enters the National Championships seeded 13th in the weight throw. The top eight performers in the event at the championship meet will earn All-America honors. Gilly's top performance this season trails the eighth-seeded performer by less than one foot.
Gilly's performance in the weight throw will take place Friday, Mar. 11 at 10 a.m.
For more information regarding the Division III men's and women's indoor track and field championships, log on to http://www.ncaa.com.