Track Off to Strong Start

JACKSON BLEVINS ’20 | STAFF WRITER •Last Friday the Little Giant Track and Field
team competed in the Engineer Track and Field Invitational at Rose-Hulman University and finished second out of seven teams. The Little Giants had quality performances across the board and were only sixteen points behind the Fighting Engineers of Rose-Hulman.

The sprinters and hurdlers had a strong showing from a combination of young and old, one of the young sprinters being Jose Franco ’22. Franco was recently named North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) Sprints/Hurdles Athlete of the Week after an impressive performance last Friday.

Franco took home first place in the 400-meter dash with a time of 51.75, the fastest recorded time in the NCAC so far this season. Preston Whaley ’22 was not too far behind Franco, as he ran a 51.86 in the same event.

Franco also contributed to the 4×200-meter relay team and the 4×400-meter relay team, as both relays posted the best times the NCAC has seen this season. Along with Franco, Josh Wiggins ’21, Leon Ivy ’21, and Brady Gossett ’19 combined to run a 1:31.70 in the 4×200-meter relay. Andrew Young ’21, Tyler Ramsey ’21, Keith Abramson ’22, and Franco posted a time of 3:26.24 in the 4×400-meter relay. Abramson had a quality race in the 800-meter dash as he finished second with a time of 2:01.80.

In the 60-meter dash, Ivy, Isaac Avant ’20, and Gossett finished third, fourth, and fifth respectively. Rashawn Jones ’20, one of the best hurdlers in the nation, took home first place in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.13 seconds.

Finishing second and third behind Jones in the 60-meter hurdles were fellow teammates Leo Warbington ’22 and Wiggins who ran times of 8.69 and 8.74, respectively.

“The guys brought great energy and supported each other,” Head Track and Field Coach Clyde Morgan said. “The guys competed and no matter what heat or event it was in, our guys got after it, and as a coach that excites you. We didn’t go into this meet trying to score all of the points, as our long-term focus is conference and nationals.”

The distance runners performed well on Friday also, as Ethan Pine ’22 ran a 4:26.00 in the mile- race, and fellow freshman Hunter Wakefield ’22 was just behind him with a time of 4:26.91. Keegan Kirkwood ’21 took home fifth place in the 3000- meter run with a time of 9:23:25. Also, Henry Egan ’22 placed fifth in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 16:11.90. Finally, Isaiah Campbell ‘21 earned third place in the shot put with a throw of 45 feet, 7.75 inches, and Lucas Bender ’22 placed fourth in the pole vault by clearing 14 feet.

“It was a great night for us, not just the distance guys,” Associate Head Coach Tyler McCreary said. “We had a lot of guys get career bests and top times in the conference. This next weekend we will let some guys run some different events to give us some options and more depth as we look to fix things up for conference.”

The Little Giants are looking to continue to make improvements as the season progresses all while keeping staying focused on their goals for the back half of season. This weekend the team will be split between two different meets, one at Olivet Nazarene University and the other at Purdue University.