Written by Sports Information Student Assistant, Jake Sipes-Salter
HANOVER, Ind. - After its most successful indoor season to date, the Hanover men's track & field team garnered second place in the annual Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference coaches preseason poll for the outdoor campaign.
The Panthers received 91 total points with one first-place ballot in the poll. Rose-Hulman, the defending champions of both the indoor and outdoor surfaces, registered 99 total points and nine first-place votes. Manchester slid into the top three with 77 total points, with Earlham (61) and Bluffton (56) rounding out the top five.
The five highest vote-getters for the men's and women's were the same institution in the same order, while the other spots are shuffled across the board. As follows, the remaining schools from the men's ballot were Defiance (45), Transylvania (41), Mount St. Joseph (32), Franklin (28), and Anderson (20).
After finishing no higher than fifth between 2010 and 2015, the Blue and Red have slotted inside the top five each of the past three years. In 2016 and 2018, HC finished third and slotted fourth in 2017. Since 2010, Hanover has matched their preseason poll placement six times, including 2018.
Head coach Brian Power, who was named 2019 HCAC Indoor Track & Field Coach of the Year, will welcome back a slew of talent that encompasses three of the six HCAC Outdoor Track & Field award recipients from 2018. He will have balance from this group, with distance proficiency from senior Jacob Hedrick (Memphis, Ind.), multi-event experience from sophomore Reece Hunter (Mooresville, Ind.), and sprint specialty from senior Darrell Payne (Indianapolis, Ind.).
Of the three all-conference selections from the 2018 outdoor calendar, Hedrick and Hunter also garnered first team honors in the 2019 HCAC Indoor Track & Field season. Senior Joe Sheryak (Greenwood, Ind.) became the first men's athlete at Hanover to qualify for an NCAA National Championship, placing 10th this past winter in the indoor heptathlon.
Hanover will begin its outdoor grind this Friday and Saturday, March 15 and 16. The Blue and Red will open outdoor action at the Murray State (Ky.) Margaret Simmons Invitational on Friday, while sending its pole vaulting group to Rose-Hulman for the Early Bird meet on Saturday.
Contact: Tyler Jester