Led by a number of conference champion performances, the men’s and women’s track and field teams posted competitive scores in the nation’s top NCAA Division-III conference.
For the men, junior Marcus Smith and freshman Mike Judd earned individual conference titles in the 110-meter hurdles and triple jump, respectively.
Judd posted a time of 14.51 seconds, which was good enough to win the 110-meter hurdles by over a quarter second. Smith added to the 110-meter points for the Warhawks, taking seventh in addition to his triple jump title.
The women were led by junior Shelby Demos, who won the high jump title despite tough weather conditions.
“The conditions were tough for everyone,” Demos said. “I was happy with placing first, but not with the height that I jumped.”
Demos added to her team’s point total when she placed second in the 100-meter hurdles.
The high jump was a strong event for the ’Hawks, as juniors Lauren Strohmaier and JoLyn Owen also made the podium.
The men’s 400-meter dash was another strong event for the ’Hawks, as the trio of sophomore Matt Santas, senior Tim Prelletz and freshman Zak Fritz placed fourth, sixth and seventh.
Prelletz, a former All-American and defending conference champion, said he had very high expectations heading into the meet.
“I won this race last year, so I put a lot of pressure on myself to repeat this year,” Prelletz said.
Prelletz said the team shared similar feelings about the day as a whole as he did about his own day.
“Everyone was excited to come out and defend our home track,” Prelletz said. “We really wanted to win conference at home this year, but we just fell a bit short.”
The men were carried by their sprinters. Along with the 110-meter hurdles success, sophomores Nick Bee, Dylan Crafton and Moriarty Brown-Griffin each placed sixth or better in both the 100 meter and 200 meter dashes.
In those three events, the ’Hawks earned 44 of their 135 total points.
Demos said the women were excited about how much improvement the team showed, despite finishing fifth.
“The whole team has worked so hard and everyone gave their all and contributed today,” Demos said. “We’re just in a really tough conference.”
Both teams will be sending multiple athletes to the National Outdoor Championship, which begins May 24 in Claremont, Calif.
“I’m super-excited to go to nationals,” Demos said. “Hopefully we have a big group going this year.”
Prelletz said the men’s team is viewing nationals as a chance for redemption.
“We didn’t perform as well as we wanted to at conference, but maybe it was a blessing in disguise,” Prelletz said. “It was a reminder of how ready I’ll need to be if I want to finish top eight and repeat being an All-American.”
Between now and nationals, the ’Hawks have a couple more meets to qualify and make the trip to Claremont.
They will first participate in the Dr. Keeler Invitational Friday in Naperville, Ill., and then the Gregory Invitational on May 18 hosted by North Central College, also in Naperville.