Record-setting season concludes on high note at Indoor Championships

Record-setting season concludes on high note at Indoor Championships

DEFIANCE, Ohio- The Transylvania Pioneer Track and Field teams finished their indoor track and field season with a bang, winning six events, setting two indoor conference records, and sweeping the conference track athlete of the year awards.

Fresh off her conference athlete of the week award, junior Jordin Fender led the women's team in a big way by capturing the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) Indoor Track Athlete of the Year

Junior Cole Green, a back to back HCAC Indoor Track Athlete of the Week winner, led the men's team, completing the sweep of the HCAC Indoor Track Athlete of the Year awards.

The Pioneers kicked off their program-best scoring and placing performances in the men's and women's distance medley relays where both teams finished seventh. The men's team, consisting of juniors Kyle Sprague and Evan Reister and freshmen Brian Mudrak and Nick Johnston, raced their way to a new school record time of 11:28.6. The women's relay was run by senior Claire Mielcarek, junior Cora Kerber,
sophomore Savannah Hemmer, and freshman Rebecca Facktor.

Keeping the scoring coming early were the 4x200 meter relays. Anchored by Green, and joined by Johnston, junior Giovanni Hernandez, and freshman Jake Erpenbeck, the men's team turned in a sixth place performance for the Pioneers.

The women's 4x200 meter relay immediately followed where the women exploded for conference and school records, running a scintillating time of 1:46.07. Their performance dropped nearly a second and a half off the old conference record and was nearly a four second improvement from the school record set the previous week. Accompanying Fender and Hemmer on the relay were seniors Erin Marek and Shelby Auxier.

The next timed final to produce points on the day for Transylvania was the women's 60 meter hurdles where Fender won her second of four races on the day, besting the next best competitor by two-tenths of a second. Freshman Olivia Kee kicked off her day with a third place finish in her first HCAC championship final.

Fender and Kee weren't done though. Both returned in the 60 meter dash finals to finish first and eighth. They then hit the track again in the 200 meter dash where they repeated their 60 meter dash efforts of first and eighth, respectively. Fender's time of 26.15 seconds blasted the old HCAC indoor record of 26.74 seconds, set in 2014.

Marek also took advantage of her open events, placing fourth in the 400 meter dash and sixth in the 200 meter dash. Her time in the 200 meter was also an indoor personal best time.

Bound to continue his dominance this season at meets, Green wiped his school and personal records clean one more time in the 60 and 200
meter dashes en route to victories in both events. Narrowly missing the conference record in each, Green ran impressive times of 6.92 and 22.37 seconds, respectively. Erpenbeck also got in on the action in his first HCAC championships, placing sixth in the 60 meter dash.

Closing out the running events for the day was the women's 4x400 meter relay where Marek, Auxier, Kee, and Fender left everything they had on the line to finish a close second to Rose-Hulman in what was an exciting race from the start. Their collective efforts earned them a new school record time of 4:10.88 however, besting the previous record from 2014 by nearly two and a half seconds.

The field events provided some excitement throughout the day as well, highlighted by junior Taylor Sanders' third place performance in the women's shot put. Freshman Shelby Lewis took a share of eighth place in the women's pole vault and freshman Nathan McCullough jumped his way into an eighth place finish in the men's triple jump. To round out the day, Bradley Easterling set a school record in the shot put, breaking his own record from last year by 6 cm.

"It was a good day for us," head coach Heidi Pinkerton said of the day. "I am extremely proud of how both teams performed today. Everyone put forth the best they had and we were able to climb the team ranks from our eighth place finishes last year."

Overall, both the men's and women's teams turned in their best showings in school history. The men, placing seventh overall in the championships, tied their highest point total and had their best team
placing ever. The women, who placed sixth, tied their best placing ever and had a program best in points.

Winning the 2016 HCAC Indoor Track and Field Championships, hosted by Defiance College, were the men's team from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and the women's team from Manchester University.

The HCAC Indoor Championships mark the conclusion of the indoor track and field season for the Pioneers. They will resume their season in outdoor action when they travel to Myrtle Beach, SC to compete in the Coastal Carolina Invitational on March 18-19.