HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover men's track and field team will open its 2018 indoor season this weekend with a trip to Rose-Hulman.
The Panthers' season starts at 6 p.m., Jan. 19, at the Rose-Hulman Friday Night Invitational, an event, Hanover has participated in every year under head coach Brian Power.
THE COMPETITION: Campbellsville (Ky.), DePauw (Ind.), Franklin (Ind.), Hanover (Ind.), Kentucky Wesleyan, Rose-Hulman (Ind.) and St. Norbert (Wis.)
LAST SEASON AT FRIDAY NIGHT INVITE: The Panthers placed fourth in the 2017 Rose-Hulman Friday Night Invitational, logging 41 points. A trio of returners accounted for nearly half of the team's point totals in seniors Joe Rector (Aurora, Ind.) and Jacob Sofronko (Ridgeville, Ind.), and junior Joe Sheryak (Greenwood, Ind.).
Rector opened last season in the 3,000-meter run, where he logged a third place finish, while his classmate, Sofornko, was fourth in the weight throw. Sheryak scored in three events last winter, including the 60-meter hurdles, an event he will compete in again this weekend.
With team scores available back to the 2011 Friday Night Invitational, the host, Rose-Hulman has finished first in every season. St. Norbert and Campbellsville rounded out the top three on the men's side last year.
RECTOR RUNNING THE 3K: Rector will be looking to jump start his 2018 indoor season in similar to fashion as 2017, as he returns to the 3,000m run this Friday. Rector's top 3K time last season came in the Friday Night Invite, where he posted a time of 9:07.72. The senior also enters 2018 as the program record holder in the one mile and 5,000m runs.
SOFRONKO LEADING THROWERS: Sofronko will be one of six male throwers competing this weekend for HC, but he will be the only returning athlete of the group. The senior started to find success in the weight throw as last year's indoor season came to a close., as he posted a mark of 15.54m at the HCAC Championships, which set a new program record.
PYLE SET TO MAKE SEASON DEBUT: 2017 was a memorable year for current sophomore Samuel Pyle (Goshen, Ky.) as he paced the Panthers in the 200 and 400m. Pyle will compete in both events this weekend and has PR's of 23.20 and 52.20, respectively.
4x4 LOOKING TO BUILD OFF LAST SEASON: Three of the four athletes that competed on Hanover's 4x400m relay team at HCAC Championships last season are back again this winter. Pyle, senior Andrew Strong (Ridgeville, Ind.) and junior Darrell Payne (Indianapolis, Ind.) posted the program's fastest time in 2017, at the conference meet, 3:34.31, en route to a first place finish. The trio are joined by sophomore Hayden Veach (Shelbyville, Ind.) this weekend, and he is coming off a strong cross country season and has experience in the 4x4.
FRESHMEN DEBUTS: The Panthers will have eight freshmen making their collegiate debuts and nine total athletes competing for the first time with the Blue and Red. Four freshmen will open their careers in the sprints, while the five other newcomers will be in the shot put and weight throw.
UP NEXT: Hanover will continue its indoor campaign with a pair of meets next weekend, Jan. 26 and 27. The Blue and Red will send some athletes back to Rose-Hulman for the Engineer Invitational, while others will travel to Indianapolis for the Tom Hathaway Classic.
Contact: Tyler Jester