February 8 2018
The Wheaton Men’s Track team saw strong performances in their second meet of the season. The team competed at University of Chicago’s “Windy City Rumble” last Saturday, Feb. 3. They secured third place overall against a competitive 11-team field. Hope College’s men captured first with 126.5 points, and University of Chicago came in with 118.5 points to take second place. Wheaton followed closely with 101 points. Aurora took fourth place, scoring 88.5 points and Chicago State racked up 48 points to secure fifth place.
The Thunder placed in events all throughout the track and field competition on Friday. Wheaton junior Leif Van Grinsven won the heptathlon event, scoring a total of 4,919 points. This victory established a new Wheaton record and Van Grinsven’s score currently ranks third in Division III this season. The Thunder’s 4×400-meter relay team consisting of of freshman Andrew Lauber, freshman Matthew Faber, junior David Dischinger and freshman Max Veth captured first place with a time of 3:25.79. Faber and Veth also competed in the 200-meter dash with Faber placing third in 23.32 seconds and Max Veth placing fourth in 23.34 seconds. In the 60-meter hurdles, sophomore Andy Margason posted a time of 9.18 seconds to capture third place. Senior Marcus Smith placed fourth in the open 60 meter dash with a time of 7.20 seconds. Freshman Jonah Jones ran the one mile in 4:24.53 to take home a third-place victory.
In the field events, senior Collin Gray won the men’s high jump, leaping 2.07 meters. Junior Nathan Cruz vaulted 4.26 meters to capture third place in the men’s pole vault. Sophomore Drew Smith competed in the men’s shot put and took third with a throw of 13.24 meters.
Coach Scott Bradley expressed his excitement at the teams’ continued work and improvement, “Overall, it was a positive meet. Most people who ran the same events showed improvement, and that is really the name of the game right now.” Coach Bradley also discussed how the team captains this year, David Harris, Nathan Cruz, Seth Spykstra and Hudson Thomas, have enhanced the track team experience. “They are a great group of people and they are doing a great job with our team. They do a lot behind the scenes to help the coaches and their teammates have a better experience. I am very grateful for them.”
Team captain and junior Nathan Cruz shared some of his thoughts on last week’s meet. “I’m not disappointed in how I did last week. There’s always things to improve on, but it’s good to see some consistency on the pole vault runway. As a team, we placed well for such a large field. There were many strong performances, especially from our younger guys: Andy Margason, James Zeller, Robert Smith, Matthew Faber and Andrew Lauber (to name a few of many). I’m really pleased to see the hard work that all of our guys have been consistently putting since September is coming to fruition.” Cruz also talked about his favorite parts of being a team captain: “I enjoy being in a position to speak from experience and encourage athletes who are feeling down. I also love spending time with the boys, and co-leading a small group. A theme of the guy’s small group is to grow in understanding of what it means to worship God through athletics. You’ll constantly hear us praying: “Lord, let us worship you with our bodies today,” but what does that imply? What are we really asking? As a captain, I am most excited to serve my teammates, and also to help continue to cultivate a loving, encouraging, edifying and Christ-centered team.”
The Thunder’s Men’s Track and Field team will continue striving towards its goal as they compete in three more meets before NCAA Division III Indoor Track Nationals and then move into the outdoor season. The team will return to action on Friday, Feb. 9 at the North Central College Invitational meet in Naperville.