The Anderson University men's track and field team locked up first place in the 4,000-meter distance medley relay during Saturday's Coach Rob NCAC/OAC/HCAC Challenge in Springfield, Ohio.
Anderson fielded the distance medley relay with Clayton Wilson, Kaid Hutchinson, Kaleb Gucinski and Ian Leatherman, and they compiled a time of 11 minutes, 20.44 seconds. The Ravens rank second in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) in the distance medley relay.
"The men's DMR performed beyond my expectations and it's a great indicator of where the distance guys are as a team," Gucinski said. "The sprinting, jumping and throwing events all showed up as well."
"I think we've had a good start to the season so far," Wilson said.
Anderson placed eighth in the team standings with 21 points. The University of Mount Union, ranked No. 3 in the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) preseason poll, cruised to first with 313 points. Wabash College took second with 99 points, finishing ahead of Wittenberg University (84), Earlham College (65), Wilmington College (61), Heidelberg University (57), Hanover College (39) and Anderson (21).
"As an assessment of the day, both programs actually competed very well against some of the top Division III programs, especially in the case of Mount Union and Wabash," Coach Sol Stephens said. "The men came out competed as hard as they could. There were some PRs in there to where it may not reflect in the scoresheet, but it reflects in where our attitude and effort has been going, because there are growth points still within those times and those distances."
Jair Adams collected three personal records (PRs) on Saturday. He secured seventh in the college division of the long jump with a PR distance of 6.14 meters (20 feet, 1.75 inches). Adams tied his PR in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.32 seconds. He also sprinted to a 200 PR of 23.75 seconds. Adams currently ranks fourth in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) in the long jump.
The Ravens put together a 4x200 relay of Clay Meadows, Adams, Will Winston and Dahaven Rayner, which claimed sixth (1:37.30).
Kory Herget took sixth in the pole vault, claring a height of 2.90 meters (9 feet, 6.25 inches).
Wilson crossed the finish line sixth (2:54.95) in the 1,000.
Winston charged to times of 7.54 seconds in the 60-meter dash and 25.40 seconds in the 200. The Carmel native recorded a distance of 5.06 meters (16 feet, 7.25 inches) in the long jump.
Drew DeBoer fired a distance of 10.80 meters (35 feet, 5.25 inches) in the weight throw.
Gucinski ran to a time of 2:17.37 in the 800.
"Although I don't think I made my expectations for [Saturday], I think it's a good indicator for the start of the season," Gucinski said.
Leatherman put together a time of 9:18.02 in the 3,000.
"I started out fairly strong," Leatherman said. "I was able to close well as the anchor in the DMR. It just didn't come together for the 3K. I'm not sure what it was, but I'm not too discouraged. I think I can come back even next week and do well. I'm definitely looking forward to conference because I think I can place pretty well."
Leatherman looks to for the Ravens to use the early season successes as building points for the program.
"I was pretty satisfied with how the team did," Leatherman added. "I liked the energy of our team. I liked how everyone was competing; that's been a struggle in the past. Even though we have a smaller team this year, everyone is competing really well. I'm hoping it's going to carry into the rest of the season, hopefully into the next few years, the next few decades in our program."
Growth from each individual remains a point of emphasis for the Ravens.
"Everything isn't always winning and losing, especially within our sport, because you are basically competing against yourself," Stephens said. We're now starting to get to that understanding within the program that we are competing against ourselves and the only controllable is ourselves, which means going to class, coming to practice and giving what you have at that time at that space. That development has been years in the making and now we are just hoping to build off that week-by-week to have a good 2020 season."
The Ravens host the AU Indoor Invitational next Saturday at 3 p.m. in the Kardatzke Wellness Center.
"I am nothing but excited for this home meet," Gucinski stated.
"I'm very excited for our home meet," Leatherman acknowledged. "I always like to run at home. There are a few more fans and a few more familiar faces. Hopefully, I can do well. I'm looking forward to the home-field advantage. I like our track a lot and I think I'll do very well."