Men’s Track and Field
[Written by Haley Turner]
Coming off a seventh place finish at the Indoor Ohio Athletic Conference Championships last year, the John Carroll University Blue Streaks were underdogs for this year’s competition, to say the least. With the OACs taking place at Ohio Northern University on Friday, Feb. 22 and Saturday, Feb. 23, the Blue Streaks pulled off the most impressive finish in men’s track and field history, taking second place behind the University of Mount Union.
Senior Mike Minjock proved to be a vital part of the Blue Streaks’ success, placing second in the long jump, with a distance of 7.22 meters. In addition, he came in third in the triple jump, clearing 13.65 meters, earning himself All-Conference honors in both of his field events. However, Minjock’s talents weren’t limited to jumping. He also ran a 7.10 in the 60-meter dash, earning him eighth place, and a 22.83 in the 200-meter dash, coming in fifth place overall.
Junior Anthony Chizmadia and sophomore Rocky Mitolo both earned season bests in the men’s shotput, as they came in fourth (15.08 meters) and fifth (14.80 meters), respectively. Mitolo also scored fifth in the weight throw, with a distance of 14.94 meters.
Freshman Will Cameron pulled off an exciting third-place finish in the 400-meter dash, with a time of 50.90. Finishing close behind in seventh was sophomore Nick D’Amico, who ran a 51.24. Shortly after, senior Anthony Colbert and freshman Mike Hydzik scored fourth (1:08.46) and sixth (1:08.85), respectively, in the 500-meter run.
Placing eighth in the 800-meter run was sophomore John Cameron with a 2:00.38. Finishing just behind him, in ninth place, was freshman Dan Loya (2:00.98). The men’s 1,000-meter run was also a success, with three Blue Streaks coming in the top eight. Freshman Pat O’Brien came in fourth (2:32.93), followed by senior Pat Burns (sixth, 2:37.31) and junior Chuck Mule (eighth, 2:38.34). John Cameron and Burns also finished fifth and sixth, respectively, in the one mile run, with times of 4:24.76 and 4:25.45.
The Blue and Gold also dominated in the 3,000-meter run, with an impressive mark of five Blue Streaks scoring in the top eight. O’Brien finished third, with a time of 8:49.49, shortly followed by Burns (fourth, 8:50.83), senior Will Rial (fifth, 8:52.26), sophomore Johnny Honkala (sixth, 8:59.08) and freshman Matt Chojnacki (eighth, 9:01.78). Also placing in the competitive 5,000-meter run was Rial with a time of 15:31.99, earning him fifth place. Nick Wojtasik and Tadhg Karski were ninth (15:54.71) and tenth (15:55.72), respectively.
With a second-place finish, the Blue Streaks now have momentum on their side as they prepare for the outdoor, spring season.
“We have two months to work hard and improve. I think we’re in a good position to contend for an outdoor title,” said Rial. “I feel honored to be part of such a special group of people. It’s safe to say that with this group of Blue Streaks, anything is possible.”
JCU ended the indoor track and field season on Saturday, Feb. 23 with a sixth place finish at the OAC Championships. Although the team did not finish as high as it had hoped after a successful regular season, there were many impressive individual performances at the season finale.
On day one of competition, JCU was able to gain necessary points in the distance medley event. JCU’s quartet of sophomore Haley Turner, senior Maureen Creighton, junior Nicki Bohrer and freshman Angelica Bucci highlighted the Blue Streaks’ day, finishing in third with a time of 12:51.69. Though day one was far from disappointing, day two was going have to be much better if the Blue Streaks wanted to make a run for top three.
Day two of the Championships consisted of more solid results for the team, including a first place by one of JCU’s veteran runners. Junior Nicki Bohrer set the tone for JCU by finishing first in the 1,000-meter run at a personal best time of 3:03.42. Turner was able to finish third in the event and also earned All-OAC honors.
John Carroll’s relay teams continued to impress on day two. The 4×400 relay team, consisting of sophomore Megan Martinko, Creighton, Turner and Bohrer did the best, finishing in third at 4:11.65.
“This season we have all worked together in practice and made each other better,” said Creighton. “At meets, we are all around the track cheering and pushing each other to run faster, throw farther and jump longer or higher … I can’t wait to see what everyone does in outdoor.”
Mount Union defended its OAC title, blowing away the field with 214 points. Despite a sixth-place finish, the season was still a success, and JCU has a solid foundation going into the upcoming outdoor track season.