The Oglethorpe men's track and field team returns this weekend, as their indoor season gets underway at the Emory Crossplex Invitational in Birmingham, Alabama. They will look to improve upon their seventh-place finish at the SAA Track and Field Championships in 2017, and have a wide variety of newcomers to add to the mix.
Robert Goldin will serve as the only senior on the squad, and he will return to compete in both the shot put and the javelin in 2018. Juniors Rodrigo Meade and Michael Paszek will also return to the Petrels from last year's squad.
The Petrels will bring a large number of distance runners into the fold, and they will look to carry over the success from their fourth-place finish at the SAA Cross Country Championships in the fall. Freshmen Jacob Hadden, Bill Lester and Mateo Villa all earned All-SAA honors at that cross country meet, with Villa taking All-SAA Second Team honors and Hadden and Lester earning All-SAA Honorable Mention. Lester also garnered the SAA Men's Cross Country Newcomer of the Year award with his performance. Oz Faal will be another talented freshman on the squad, as he will serve as a mid-distance specialist.
The Petrels will roll out an all-new sprint squad, with Marcus Alvarez, Chris Williams and Justin Hazel will anchor the unit, all three of them newcomers to the team. Williams will focus on the hurdles while Hazel and Alvarez will specialize in the long sprint events.
"I'm excited about this men's team!" said Oglethorpe head coach Kirk Shellhouse. "Our distance unit should be stout this year, as we bring over our group that did so well in cross country in the fall. Our all-new sprints team has a lot of potential, as well, and I look forward to seeing them compete starting on Sunday!"
The season begins Sunday with a trip to Birmingham, Alabama, for the Emory Crossplex Invitational. The Petrels will continue their indoor season with a trip to Sewanee, Tennessee, for the Tiger Indoor Invitational on Feb. 3, then they head back to Birmingham for the Southern Indoor Challenge, an unofficial indoor championship for southern Division III teams featuring participants from the SAA, USA South and American Southwest conferences. That event will take place on Feb. 12. The regular part of the indoor season will wrap up on Feb. 17, when the Petrels head back up to Tennessee for the Sewanee Indoor Invitational. If anybody from the squad is able to qualify, the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships are set to take place in Birmingham March 9 and 10.
Moving to the outdoor season, Oglethorpe will get started on March 3 at the Victor Icebreaker Duals in Mount Berry. After that, they'll head to Birmingham for the Southern Invitational on March 9 and 10 before heading across town two weekends in a row for the Emory Classic March 23 and 24, followed by the Emory Invitational March 30 and 31. The Petrels will then head into the final month of the regular season starting with another trip up to Mount Berry for the Berry Field Day Invitational April 6 and 7. Their final regular season meet will be back at Sewanee for the Mountain Laurel Twilight Invitational on April 13.
The postseason will get started on April 20, when the Petrels head back to Sewanee for the 2-day SAA Track and Field Championships. After that, the Petrels will head up Route 316 to Athens for the Torrin Lawrence Memorial on May 5, which will give them a last chance to qualify for nationals. The NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships will take place May 24 through 26 in La Crosse, Wisconsin.
"We've put together a challenging schedule," said Shellhouse, "and it should serve to get the team ready for the conference meet late in the season. We'll be looking to build momentum as the season goes on. I'm looking forward to getting this season started on Sunday!"