HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover men's track & field team will return to Rose-Hulman for the second consecutive weekend as they compete in the annual Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Outdoor Championships.
HCAC CHAMPIONSHIP SUCCESS: Recent history bodes well for the Panther men as they look to return to a top three finish at this spring's conference meet. Over the past several years, HC has finished in the exact same position in the indoor and outdoor championships (all of which inside the top five) and are coming off a third place finish this past winter. The Blue and Red were also picked by the HCAC head coaches prior to the start of the 2018 outdoor season to place third this spring.
RECORDS ARE MEANT TO BE BROKEN: Last time out at the Rose-Hulman Twilight Meet, the 4x100m relay squad broke a nearly two-year-old school record with a time of 43.02 seconds. The group consisting of senior Andrew Strong (Poland, Ind.), junior Darrell Payne (Indianapolis, Ind.) and freshmen Reece Hunter (Mooresville, Ind.) and Alex Maldeney (Fort Wayne, Ind.) have the third fastest time in the HCAC entering the championship weekend.
Overall, there have been nine additions to the program's top-five all-time list this spring. This also includes junior Jacob Hedrick (Memphis, Ind.), who set the school's 5000m record in his first outing at Rose-Hulman, back in March, with a time of 15:04.50.
DISTANCING FROM THE COMPETITION: Hedirck and fellow distance runner, senior Joe Rector (Aurora, Ind.), give Hanover arguably the best one-two distance combo in the HCAC, as both rank among the top three in the league in the 5000 and 10000m runs. To go along with his school-record performance in the 5000m, Hedrick also has the second fastest 10K time in the conference this season, 32:06.88. Rector, who finished in the top three of both outdoor races a season ago, currently has the third fastest times in both the 5K (15:12.02) and the 10K (33:09.51).
VEACH LOOKING FOR MORE PODIUM APPEARANCES: In his HCAC Outdoor Championship debut last spring, sophomore Hayden Veach (Shelbyville, Ind.) won the 800m (1:57.74), while also placing second in the 1500m. Veach is scheduled to compete in both events again this weekend and despite battling through injuries, is ranked among the HCAC's top eight in both events.
PANTHERS POST TOP SPRINT TIMES: To go along with their success in the relays, both Hunter and Payne have been some of the top sprinters in the HCAC this season. Hunter has the second fastest 400m time in the conference at 49.76, while also being among the best high jumpers the league has to offer. Payne enters the championship with top-seven times in both the 200m (22.44) and the 400m (51.24). The junior's 200 time is also third fastest in school history. Sophomore Samuel Pyle (Goshen, Ky.) will also look to be a factor in the 400m dash, currently having a season-best time of 50.52 seconds. Pyle's top mark is the third fastest in the league.
THROWERS GAINING MOMENTUM: Hanover's top throwers, sophomore Kyler Perez (Garrett, Ind.) and senior Jacob Sofronko (Ridgeville, Ind.) have steadily improved as the spring season has gone on and will look to score this weekend, specifically in the hammer throw. Perez moved into the program's top-five list with his launch of 46.40m just a few weeks back, while Sofronko's season-best mark came at the Hanover Invitational on March 31, a distance of 44.62m.
THE FIELD: Hanover will be up against some of the top competition the Great Lakes region has to offer, as three schools rank among the top 25 and six of the 10 institutions are inside the top 30 of the USTFCCCA regional rankings. Rose-Hulman, who was the preseason pick to raise the team trophy, is currently ranked third in the regional poll. Anderson and Bluffton are also among the top 25 in the most recent poll.
Contact: Tyler Jester