Written and Media by Mitchell Hooten
The Greenville University Men’s Track and Field Team competed this past weekended at the NCCAA Indoor Track and Field National Championships in Cedarville, Ohio at Cedarville University. This year’s NCCAA championship was a very highly contested competition with seventeen teams competing for the championship. The Greenville men’s team finished fourth this year, after a long weekend of competing. The men’s team competed at the best of their abilities, ending with many great and some not-so-great performances. Some of the performances produced national champions and All-Americans, while some of the athletes achieved personal bests to help boost the team’s points.
Though there were many good performances this past weekended, there were two events that stood out from the rest. The events were the Distance Medley Relay and the Men’s Heptathlon. The most exciting event of the first day was the Men’s Distance Medley Relay, which included a great comeback to win the relay in a time of 10:21.40. The men that were included in this relay were Jaylen Shelton, Jackson Pierce, John Mangold, and Nathan Potts. Shelton led the relay off with a strong 1200-meter first leg. Next came Pierce, running a strong 400. He was able to hold their position in the relay setting up Potts for his leg of the relay. Potts ran an 800, cutting the lead that York College had to two seconds. This helped contribute to Mangold’s spectacular leg, where he ran a 4:19 mile and won the relay for the team, making them national champions.
The Men’s Heptathlon was a thrilling ride, with Matt Hughes and David Martin finishing second and third and becoming all-Americans. During the heptathlon both Hughes and Martin both set school records in multiple events. Hughes set school records in the long jump with a leap of 20″ 2.5′, in the high jump with a jump of 6″ 0.75′ and finally in points scored with a points total of 4424. When asked how he felt, Hughes said, “This weekend I had a great meet I am very happy with how I did and very glad to become an all-American; it has been a goal of mine since my freshman year. It was truly a great way to end my indoor season. Also, I am very proud that David was also an All-American; he works just as hard as me and I was very happy that he was able to become an All-American as well.” Martin set school records in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.94 seconds, then also in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.35 seconds. Martin also set a personal record in total points with a score of 4196.
The performances that put Hughes and Martin into second and third place was their great runs in the 1000-meter run. Martin sprinted into the lead at the start of the race to set the pace, which allowed Hughes to run a fast time, gaining him the points he needed to catch the two athletes in first and second. Martin was in the lead for the first three and a half laps until Hughes took the lead for good. Hughes then let loose a furious last lap to finish off the race and finish in first with a time of 2:55.16. Martin finished in third with a time of 3:03.41. Running these times gave them both enough points to allow them to finish second and third in the heptathlon.
Other noteworthy performances from this past weekend came from a multitude of events. There were a handful of other athletes that became All-Americans, which included Potts in the 800-meter run, Bobby Neal in the 200-meter dash, and Greg Mitchell in the Triple jump. Potts ran a great race in the 800-meter run coming in second place with also running an indoor lifetime best time of 1:56.86. Neal ran in the 200-meter dash, coming in third place and running an indoor personal best time (in the 200-meter dash) of 22.62 seconds. Mitchell lept his way into a second place, finishing in the triple jump with a great performance leaping a distance of 45″ 4.5′. Other performances that helped the men’s team gain more points came from Neal finishing fourth in the 60-meter dash, with running a time of 7.09 seconds. Mitchell finished fourth in the high jump with a height of 6″ 6.75′, and Mangold finished in fifth place in the mile run with a time of 4:25. The men’s 4×800-meter relay included Tyler Kimes, Shelton, Collin Kessinger, and Pierce finishing in fifth with a time of 8:16.
It was a great weekend for the Greenville men’s track and field team. If you want to support your men’s team, come watch them at their next meet!