Strong powers Panthers to their highest point total ever at the HCAC Outdoor Championships

Andrew Strong

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – For the first time in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference era, the Hanover men's track & field team recorded over 100 points at the league's outdoor championships, placing third this past weekend at Rose-Hulman.

Hanover totaled 105 points Friday and Saturday, earning its second top-three finish in the past three seasons at the HCAC Outdoor Championships. The 105 points are the most the program has recorded since the conference's inception in 1989, when it was called the Indiana Collegiate Athletic Conference.

Leading the way for the Panthers was senior Andrew Strong (Poland, Ind.), who won both hurdle events Saturday afternoon. Strong, who PR'd for the top time in the 110m prelims Friday, 15.95 seconds, followed up his performance by crossing the finish line first Saturday at 16.22 seconds. The senior also bested the field in the 400m hurdles, clocking in at 56.40 seconds. In addition to his efforts as an individual, he was a member of both relay teams that each placed in the top three to accumulate a total of 34 points over the weekend.

Joining Strong on both relays and in the hurdle finals was freshman Alex Maldeney (Fort Wayne, Ind.). Maldeney was third in both the 110 and 400m hurdles, logging times of 16.48 and 57.68 seconds, respectively. His 400m hurdle time set a new PR, while his 100m hurdle prelim mark of 16.11 seconds on Friday was also a personal best.

Strong and Maldeney were joined by freshman Reece Hunter (Mooresville, Ind.) and junior Darrell Payne (Indianapolis, Ind.) on both relay events Saturday. In the 4x400m race, the quartet posted a time of 3:23.45, good enough for second overall. The group, which had set the school record in the 4x100m just last week, 43.02 seconds, placed third at the conference meet where they clocked in at 43.25 seconds.

Hunter went on to add a pair of top-five individual finishes of his own. The freshman was second in the 400m dash, posting a PR of 49.17 seconds. He also set a new collegiate best in the long jump, tying for fifth with junior Joe Sheryak (Greenwood, Ind.) at 6.28m. The long jump distance also set a new personal record for the junior. Sheryak gave Hanover three top-five finishers in the 110m hurdles, where he clocked in at 17.05 seconds Saturday. The junior was also sixth in the high jump at 1.77m, giving him a total of 10 points over the two-day championship.

Picking up top three finishes in the 5000m run were junior Jacob Hedrick (Memphis, Ind.) and senior Joe Rector (Aurora, Ind.). Hedrick placed second at 15:17.71, while Rector followed at 15:26.44, good enough for third overall. Both distance runners placed in the 10000m run Friday, each finishing with 11 points at the conference meet.

Also scoring on the track for HC Saturday were sophomores Hayden Veach (Shelbyville, Ind.) and Samuel Pyle (Goshen, Ky.). Veach was fifth in the 800m, 2:01.07, while Pyle placed eighth in 200m, 24.16 seconds.

The hammer throw crew of sophomore Kyler Perez (Garrett, Ind.) and senior Jacob Sofronko (Ridgeville, Ind.) combined for five points, going six-seven in the final event standings. Perez led the way with a personal-best distance of 46.92m, while Sofronko also recorded a PR mark of 46.48m.

Rose-Hulman tallied 269.5 points over 20 events, winning its 11th consecutive HCAC outdoor crown. Anderson was second with 115 points, while Manchester and Bluffton rounded out the top five with 74 and 55.5 points, respectively.

The Panthers will continue the 2018 outdoor campaign next Saturday, May 5, when they travel to Bloomington, Ind. to compete in the Billy Hayes Invitational.

Contact: Tyler Jester