Men's track posts program's best HCAC Indoor Championship finish

Joe Sheryak

DEFIANCE, Ohio – The Hanover College men's track & field team made history Saturday, logging a program-best second place finish at the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Indoor Championships.

The Panthers won four events at the Defiance College-hosted meet, as they accumulated 152 points. Hanover's point total marks the first time in program history the team topped the century mark at the HCAC Indoor Championships, with the previous best mark coming last season at 86.5. Rose-Hulman held off a strong run by the Blue and Red to win its ninth straight indoor title with 199.5 points. Earlham rounded out the top three with 57 points.

Seniors Joe Sheryak (Greenwood, Ind.) and Jacob Hedrick (Memphis, Ind.) each put together solid days, which included an individual victory for both. Sheryak logged four top six finishes in the field events, as he won the long jump with a new school-record mark of 6.62m. The senior was also fourth in the pole vault (4.35m), fifth in the high jump (1.85m) and sixth in the triple jump (12.84m), as all three performances set personal records. Additionally, Sheryak set a personal-best in the of the prelims 60m hurdles, 8.94, and added a time of 8.96 in the finals to place third. Overall, Sheryak led the meet with 28 overall points for HC's team total.

Hedrick opened the event with a first-place showing in the 5000m run, clocking in at 15:20.33. Later in the meet the senior placed third in the 3000m run with a time of 9:01.78.

Hanover also picked up two more wins on the track, as junior Hayden Veach (Shelbyville, Ind.) and sophomore Reece Hunter (Mooresville, Ind.) won the one mile and 400m events, respectively. Veach broke his own school record by six seconds and fell just one second shy of snapping a conference record with his time of 4:21.22.

Hunter's triumph came in the two-lap 400m dash, where he crossed the finish line at 49.69 seconds, moving him into second all-time at Hanover. The sophomore was also fourth in the high jump (1.88m) and fifth in the long jump (6.32m), recording 19 points for the team.

Freshman Cooper Hanson (Greenfield, Ind.) broke the school-record mark in the 800m run, as his time of 1:57.69 was good enough for second in the conference. Hanson was joined by senior Darrell Payne (Indianapolis, Ind.), junior Samuel Pyle (Goshen, Ky.) and classmate Bryce Gatewood (Noblesville, Ind.) in the 4x400m relay, as the quartet posted the third fastest time in school history, 3:30.95. The 4x400 team placed second at the meet.

The trio of Gatewood, Payne and Pyle were joined by freshman Sam Jackson (Indianapolis, Ind.) in the 4x200m relay, where they placed second with a time of 1:32.33. The mark was good enough to move the group into second on the program's record book.

Individually, Gatewood raced to a second-place showing in the 400m, 51.59 seconds, while Payne scored in the 200 (23.21) and 400m (52.74) dashes. Both runners set new personal records in the 400m and are now inside the program's top 10 list.

Freshman Andy Vilardo (Bloomington, Ind.) joined Hedrick in the 3000m and 5000m runs, as his strong finishes vaulted him up to a pair of fourth place finishes on the final leaderboard. Vilardo clocked in at 9:07.20 and 15:49.52, respectively, both of which are good enough for fifth all-time at Hanover. Classmate Steven Delaney (Charlestown, Ind.) qualified for the finals of the 60m hurdles after posting a time of 9.22 seconds in the prelims, which was the sixth fastest mark in Panther lore. Delaney was seventh in the finals after crossing at 9.35.

Off the track, junior Ethan Monnin (Minster, Ohio) placed third in the pole vault with a new school record mark of 4.45m. Classmate Kyler Perez (Garrett, Ind.) set PR's in both throwing events, highlighted by his fifth-place performance in the weight throw, 15.54m, which moves him into second all-time at HC.

Additionally, freshman Riley Cook (Corydon, Ind.) scored in two of the three jumping events. Cook's day was led by a second-place finish in the high jump with clearance of 1.94m. He was also eighth in the high jump (5.98m) and ninth in the triple jump (12.00m).

With the indoor conference meet behind them, the Panthers will now use the next few weeks to try and have individuals qualify for the national championships. The stretch opens with the Anderson University Fred Wilt Invitational at 3 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 23.

Contact: Tyler Jester