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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Tuesday, April 16, 2024
The Echo
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Taylor men’s track and field take third in Crossroads League Championships

Team gains traction for NAIA Indoor Nationals

Following a total of 12 personal records set in 12 different events, and a multitude of qualifiers for the NAIA Indoor Nationals Meet in Brookings, South Dakota, the Taylor Trojans are looking to round out a competitive indoor season.

The weekend of February 16 and 17 was a massive weekend for the Trojan’s men’s track and field team as they faced the entire Crossroads League at a single meet for the first time in the Crossroads League (CL) Indoor Championship.

The competition was split into two days of events, the first of which focused on field events as well as long-distance relays.

Senior Jake Thompson led the day off with a first place finish in the long jump, as well as a second place finish in the high jump, totaling 17 points for the Trojans.

Thompson’s performance would round out the outright championships for the first day of competition. However, there were many more notable performances.

Both sophomore Josh Forbes and senior Isaac Brown combined for 11 total points in the pole vault as Forbes took the runner-up position and Brown finished in sixth.

Then, moving to the relays of the day, the Trojans took scoring positions in the 5000-meter race, the 4x800-meter relay, and the distance-medley relay (DMR).

After falling back early in the race a late surge led sophomore Luke Harber to clutch out a point for the team in eighth place.

The 4x800-meter team consisting of senior Nathan Brainer, sophomore Keenan Clegg, senior James Bates, and senior Nate Conkel took the third spot on the podium and finally, the DMR team consisting of sophomore Bryce Nobel, junior Bradley Braxton, senior Ben Eiffert, sophomore Joel Mumaw took fifth place.

The second round of events on Saturday, February 17, was led off by sophomore Ryan Hanak and his first place finish in the 3000-meter race followed by Alex Ortiz taking fourth.

Taylor also scored in the 800 meter as Conkel took second place and Brainer took seventh totaling 10 points for the team.

Following the full weekend's events, the Taylor Trojans found themselves in third place with multiple athletes heading to South Dakota at the end of the month.

One such athlete, Forbes, who also earned a 2024 All Crossroads League honor following his performance at the CL Championship Meet, commented on his experience as a young athlete in the championship meet looking on to competing on the national level.

“I can't lie about the nerves beforehand,” Forbes said, “but the best thing about track is having teammates and coaches you can rely on and trust to help you do your best.”

Forbes elaborated on how great the bond is between the members of the track team, and how creating said bonds has been a goal of the team’s since last year. 

“You can see athletes going up to each other and asking how they did,” Forbes said, “and trying to understand the events they do. By doing this, we are able to support and encourage one another and help everyone do their very best.”