For the first time in five years, the University of Indianapolis men’s track and field team placed first at the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament, accompanied by the women’s team who placed third on Feb. 25.
Head Track and Field Distance Coach Brad Robinson said that both teams improved immensely from their trip to the GLVC meet last season.
“A lot of marks were improved,” Robinson said. “For example, for the ladies event, though they finished third overall, they improved the scoring from last indoor meet by 47 more points than what we did last year. We scored 70 last year and we scored 117 this year, which was more than we were projected to score, so that was really big… The men also out scored what they were projected at.”
On the women’s side, freshman pole vault Kylie Falcone earned first in the pole vault, followed by fellow freshman distance Lauren Bailey who earned third in the mile. Senior jumps Lindsey Foster and senior hurdles Majaica Brooks both took second in their respective events. Redshirt junior thrower Katie Monk rounded out the day by breaking her own school record in the weight throw, as well as breaking the GLVC record in weight throw and shot put.
Redshirt junior throw Austin Hogan led the throwing competitions, taking home first in shot put and weight throw, as well as setting a new school record in weight throw at 19.68 meters. Senior hurdles Treyvon Matthews followed suit, breaking another school record in the 60 meter hurdle, completing it in 7.95 seconds. Junior sprints Brian Sales also took first in the 400 meter, and notched his third GLVC title.
The men’s side won three of four major awards; Hogan earned the Men’s Field Athlete of the Year, freshman jumper Brady Walden earned Freshman of the Year and Director of Track and Field Coach Scott Fangman won Coach of the Year. Robinson said that Hogan and Walden both performed well while contributing to the team’s first place victory.
“For incoming athletes at the collegiate conference, you never really know what they’re going to do for the first conference championship,” Robinson said. “Brady handled the pressure very well, being at home probably didn’t hurt things for him, being acclimated to the environment. Him being a big contributor, scoring in long jump where he got fourth, 6th in the 60 [meter] and second in the 4×4. Everything he did made him a key contributor, and that’s what really put him on the board and separates him from the competition for the award. For Austin, improving himself on the national list for the weight throw and he was being consistent overall and was pretty dominate overall.”
Matthews said that he felt at home during the meet, which propelled him to perform at a higher level and therefore move up in the national rankings.
“I thought it was a great feeling. I was really worried for the team since we had a few hiccups here and there, but I was really happy that we came through with the win,” Matthews said. “I would say I had a few personal accomplishments. I was hoping to get a seven, which I did. Breaking the school record was a plus. I actually didn’t know I did that until later. I had also moved up on the nationals list from 16th to 10th.”
According to Robinson, the team’s performance was due to increased recruiting and overall depth of athletes in each event. He said the team is also healthier this season, having less key athletes out with injury. Though they did not qualify for nationals as a team, there are multiple athletes who have already individually qualified or moved up on the national rankings. The team hosted the conference tournament for multiple years, but was been beaten out by Lewis University.
“It’s been a little rough in previous years hosting the meet and not walking away with the title. That has left as our taste in our mouths so to bring it back was a bit of an expectation, but a great feeling overall for the guys,” Robinson said.” The ladies are working to get there. It will happen, and we’re working to make that happen sooner rather than later as well.”
Next, the qualifying athletes will travel to Pittsburg, Kan. on March 9 for the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships.