RIO GRANDE, Ohio — National qualifying performances and personal records highlighted the University of Rio Grande men’s track and field showings at a pair of weekend meets.
The RedStorm participated in the Findlay Classic and Elite Throws, a non-scored event hosted by Findlay University, and Capital University’s Jessica Starks Open.
Junior Nikola Andjelic (Split, Croatia) and Connor Messer (Ashland, KY) finished first and second, respectively, in the Heptathlon at Findlay. Andjelic tallied 4,944 points over the course of the seven events, while Messer had 4,305 points.
Andjelic took first place in the 60-meter dash (7.27), Long Jump (6.41m), 60-meter hurdles (8.54) and 1,000-meter run (2:48.74), while placing second in the Shot Put (10.88m), High Jump (1.81m) and Pole Vault (4.20m).
Messer was first in the High Jump (1.84m), second in the Long Jump (6.40m) and 60-meter Hurdles (8.94), third in the 60-meter dash (7.61), Pole Vault (4.10m) and 1,000-meter run (3:24.65) and fourth in the Shot Put (9.30m).
Andjelic currently ranks first in the event nationally, while Messer is 16th. The top 16 point totals qualify for the NAIA Indoor National Championship.
Also at Findlay, freshman Cameron Haught (Elon, OH) placed 10th in the 3,000-meter race walk and reached the national “B” qualifying standard with a time of 14:26.85.
At Capital, freshman Tellis Horne (Canton, OH) recorded first place finishes in both the 60-meter dash (6.99) and 200-meter dash (22.88). His time in the 60 was a personal-best.
Senior Clinton Campbell (Malta, OH) also notched personal records in a pair of events, finishing second in the 200-meter dash (22.92) and seventh in the 60-meter dash (7.21), while freshman Sterling Smith (Reynoldsburg, OH) had a personal-best mark after finishing second in the Long Jump with an effort of 6.79m.
Senior Alex Nichols (Pickerington, OH) also met the “B” national standard in the Shot Put, placing fourth with a heave of 15.35m – a mark that ranks 22nd nationally.
Other top 10 performances from RedStorm athletes over the course of the weekend included freshman Mohamed Farah (Galloway, OH), who finished fourth in the 5,000-meter run (16:15.13); sophomore Zack Collins (Newark, OH), who was fourth in the weight throw with a toss of 14.25m; freshman Alan Holdheide (Fort Loramie, OH), who placed fourth in the 600-meter run (1:27.94) and fifth in the pole vault (4.30m); Smith, who was fifth in the 200-meter dash (23.05); freshman Zavien Parker (Pickerington, OH), who grabbed sixth place in the 200-meter dash with a time of 23.11; junior Kameron Carpenter (Newark, OH), who was ninth in the 3,000-meter run with a time of 9:29.02; and sophomore Joe Beegle (Racine, OH), who placed 10th in the shot put with a heave of 13.12m.
Rio’s 4×400 relay team – comprised of Campbell, Smith, Horne and Parker – finished second in a time of 3:30.44.
The RedStorm finished third among the 13 participating schools in the team standings, tallying 68 points. Cedarville took the team title with 166 points, while Mount Vernon Nazarene University was second with 95.5 points.
Rio Grande is scheduled to return to action on Saturday at Denison University in Granville, Ohio.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.