Hunter wins high point, men's track places second at HCAC Outdoor Championships

Reece Hunter

DELHI, Ohio – The Hanover College men's track & field team posted its best overall performance at the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Outdoor Championships as they concluded competition Saturday.

The Panthers totaled 152 points, matching their score from the HCAC Indoor Championships back in February. Just as they did in the winter, HC placed second overall this weekend. The spring performance was the program's best finish at an outdoor conference meet since 1984.

Sophomore Reece Hunter (Mooresville, Ind.) was one of three Hanover athletes among the top 10 in meet scoring, as he led the conference with 33 points. Hunter won the 400m dash Saturday, 49.75 seconds, while placing second in the high jump and, 1.89m, and the 200m, 22.52 seconds.

The sophomore was also a part of two history-making relay teams on Day Two. Hunter was joined by senior Darrell Payne (Indianapolis, Ind.), junior Kornell Dash (Evansville, Ind.) and freshman Sam Jackson (Indianapolis, Ind.) in the 4x100m relay, which finished in a school-record time of 42.82 seconds for first place. Jackson added a fifth-place showing in the 100m dash, crossing at 11.52 seconds.

Hunter, Payne, junior Samuel Pyle (Goshen, Ky.) and freshman Bryce Gatewood (Noblesville, Ind.), who all qualified for the 400m dash final, combined to run the 1600m relay in 3:24.95, which gave the program its first victory in the event at the HCAC outdoor meet. Gatewood was fourth in the 400m, 51.16, with Payne following at 51.57 for fifth. Payne and Pyle were fourth and sixth, respectively, in the 200m dash with a times of 22.91 and 24.20.

Senior Joe Sheryak (Greenwood, Ind.) had a busy two days, as he accumulated 24 meet points, tied for fourth highest in the league. Sheryak led the indoor meet with 28 points. On Saturday, the senior's three scoring performances were highlighted by the 400m hurdles, which he won with a school-record time of 54.90. He was also fifth in the high jump, 1.69m, and seventh in the 110m hurdles, 16.48. Freshman Justin Johnson (Camby, Ind.) also scored in the 400m hurdles, clocking in at 57.67 seconds to move into ninth all-time at HC and place seventh at the HCAC Championships.

Finishing with 20 points, thanks to two victories was senior Jacob Hedrick (Memphis, Ind.). Hedrick won the 10000m run Friday night and in his encore performance Saturday, paced the field in the 5000m run with a time of 15:10.16. His 20 meet points was the seventh highest total.

The distance group also had two runners score in the 1500m run. Junior Hayden Veach (Shelbyville, Ind.) was third at 4:06.52, while freshman Cooper Hanson (Greenfield, Ind.) followed at 4:10.89 for eighth place.

Off the track, three athletes scored in the throws Saturday. Junior Kyler Perez (Garrett, Ind.) was second in the hammer throw with a distance of 51.14m. Sophomore Elijah Williams (Greencastle, Ind.) also competed in the hammer, recording a toss of 44.02m. Sophomore Deacon Fountain (Dexter, Mich.) placed seventh in the javelin, as his throw of 44.52m broke his previous personal record by three meters.

Freshman Riley Cook (Corydon, Ind.) joined Hunter and Sheryak in the top five of the high jump. In his HCAC Outdoor Championship debut, Cook cleared 1.84m for third place.

Rose-Hulman won its 12th straight HCAC outdoor title, recording 240 points. Manchester rounded out the top three with 63 points. The Blue and Red won six of the 20 events over the entire weekend at Mt. St. Joseph.

The Panthers will now enter the "last chance" portion of its schedule, beginning with the Indiana University Billy Hayes Invitational on Friday, May 3.

Contact: Tyler Jester