The Oglethorpe men's track and field team returns for the start of their spring season this weekend at the Emory Crossplex Invitational in Birmingham, Alabama. The season will last all the way until at least the SAA Track and Field Championships in Conway, Arkansas, April 26 and 27, with several competitors likely looking to qualify for the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships in late May in Geneva, Ohio.
The Stormy Petrels come off a sixth-place finish at the conference championship in 2018, and will return a pair of All-SAA performers to this season's squad. Senior Rodrigo Meade took second place in the 1,500-meter run at the SAA meet in Sewanee, Tennessee, last May, posting a time of 4 minutes, 2.8 seconds. Sophomore Jacob Hadden also returns after placing second in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the SAA Championship, where he recorded a time of 9:39.5. Meade also served as part of the 4-by-400-meter relay squad that finished second at the meet with a mark of 3:22.61, while Hadden had an outstanding cross country season, finishing eighth individually at the South/Southeast regional and qualifying for the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships.
Those two will head a Petrel squad that features 14 returners and 13 newcomers. A large crop of middle-and-long distance runners will make up the returners, with Meade and Hadden being joined by juniors Andrew Aycock, Nick Berardi, Jonathan Carden, Nick Evans, Jonathan Vernon and Mateo Villa; as well as sophomores Alex Araya, Lindsey Green and Bill Lester. Senior Michael Paszek joins sophomores Hayden Hazen and Deauntee McDuffie as returners on the sprint side.
The indoor season already got underway with the BSC Panther Indoor Invitational in Birmingham on Nov. 30, where the men's team finished 18th after a fourth-place finish from Meade in the mile run (4:28.3). After Sunday's Emory Crossplex Invitational, the Petrels will compete in a pair of meets in Sewanee, Tennessee, on Feb. 2 and 15 as well as the Southern Indoor Challenge back at the Birmingham Crossplex on Feb. 11. The NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships will take place March 8 and 9 in Roxbury, Massachusetts.
As the calendar turns to March, the Petrels will begin to focus on their outdoor slate, which gets started on March 2 with a trip to Mount Berry, Georgia, for the Victor Icebreaker Duals. It will be the first of two outdoor meets at Berry, with the other coming April 12 and 13. The remainder of the March schedule will be taken up by the Southern Invitational in Birmingham March 8 and 9, the Alan Connie Shamrock Invitational March 14-16 in Conway, South Carolina, and a pair of meets at Emory over two weekends from March 22 to 30. The Mountain Laurel Twilight Invitational in Sewanee will round out the regular season on April 19, leading into the SAA Championships the following weekend.