Men’s Track and Field
“Incredible” would be the best word to describe the men’s track and field team’s performance on Friday, April 26 and Saturday, April 27 at the OAC Championship meet, held at the University of Mount Union. JCU may have finished second to Mount Union, but the Blue Streaks managed to score 135 points, one of their best scores in years.
Senior All-American Mike Minjock had the meet of his life. Winning both the long jump (7.30 meters) and triple jump (13.96 meters), Minjock set the tone for the team from the very beginning.
Minjock also placed second in both the 100-meter (11.08) and 200-meter (22.15) dashes. His performance on the day was enough to win the prestigious Sparky Adams Outstanding Field Athlete Award.
In the 400-meter dash, sophomore Nick D’Amico scored second with a time of 48.84. Also scoring was freshman Will Cameron (seventh, 50.38), who recently recovered from an injury. Senior Pat Burns and sophomore John Cameron were third and fourth in the 1500-meter run, clocking in at 3:59.31 and 4:02.23, respectively. After an exhausting 10,000-meter run the night before, junior Will Rial still managed to run a solid 3,000-meter steeplechase (9:36.13), landing him third place.
The men’s 10,000-meter run proved to be one of the high points of the weekend, with four Blue Streaks scoring in the top six. Led by sophomore Johnny Honkala (third, 31:43.37), the team swept the race with their Blue and Gold pack. Following Honkala was sophomore Tadhg Karski, who had the race of his life, placing fourth with a time of 31:44.46. Senior Nick Wojtasik was fifth (31:49.14) and Rial was sixth (31:55.29).
In the hurdles, sophomore Nick Williams sprinted to third-place finishes in the 110-meter (15.29) and 400-meter (54.41) hurdles. Williams was also a key component of the fifth place 4×100 meter relay team, comprised of D’Amico, Minjock and senior Anthony Colbert (43.12). The men’s 4×800 meter relay team placed fourth (7:51.12), thanks to a great effort by freshmen Pat O’Brien and Mike Hydzik, as well as sophomores Gage Marek and John Cameron.
The highlight of the two-day championship meet was the 4×400 meter relay. The quartet, made up of D’Amico, Will Cameron, Colbert and Hydzik, won the race with an impressive time of 3:17.94. Immediately after Cameron crossed the finish line, the men swarmed the relay team, jumping and shouting in celebration of their first place finish.
“The whole team was so enthusiastic and during that 4×4, we were all running for each other,” D’Amico said. “That’s the magic of the baton.”
The men’s relay team will be racing again in the upcoming weeks in an attempt to qualify for the National Championships.
Several of the Blue Streaks will continue on in competition, but for the rest of them, they can rest assured that they gave absolutely everything they had to this conference championship in earning the team second place.
Women’s Track and Field
Though limited by injuries, the JCU women’s track and field squad overcame the adversity to snatch fourth place at the Ohio Athletic Conference Championships.
Hosted by the University of Mount Union from Friday, April 26 to Saturday, April 27, the postseason meet presented a major challenge to the Blue and Gold. The team, which has suffered a number of injuries over the course of the season, had few competitors in the field events and was missing a couple of athletes in the running events.
Nevertheless, a number of of Blue Streaks stepped up in a big way.
Sophomore Emily Mapes posted a particularly stunning performance. Competing in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, she not only topped her personal best of 2013, but the conference record. Her blazing time of 10:39.89 bested the previous record by two seconds and easily landed her in first. Mapes also took third in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 18:05.28.
Fellow sophomore Megan Martinko also bagged a pair of All-Ohio Athletic Conference finishes. Martinko notched second place performances in the 100-meter (14.83 seconds) and 400-meter (1:04.93) hurdles.
Junior Nicki Bohrer did not disappoint either. The veteran runner snatched second in the 800-meter run (2:17.28), while sophomore Haley Turner followed close behind with a time of 2:19.80.
Leading the way for JCU in the field events was sophomore Danielle Sample, who placed third in the triple jump with a leap of 11.01 meters.
In the relay events, a pair of JCU teams did well. Mapes, Turner, Bohrer and senior Maureen Creighton combined to nab second in the 4×800 meter relay with a time of 9:43.88. Turner, Sample, Martinko and Creighton teamed up in the 4×400 meter relay to take second (4:04.07).