Men's track and field places five on All-SAA first team; Etiwe wins pair of postseason awards

Men's track and field places five on All-SAA first team; Etiwe wins pair of postseason awards

The Oglethorpe men's track and field team placed five athletes on the sport's All-SAA first team, released Monday by the league office, while freshman Toju Etiwe earned both the SAA Men's Field Athlete of the Year and SAA Men's Track and Field Newcomer of the Year honors. Joining Etiwe on the all-conference first team were senior Rodrigo Meade, sophomore Jake Hadden, and freshmen Bryce McNealy and John Griner.

Etiwe became the first member of the men's track and field program to win a postseason SAA athlete of the year award, and the second in as many years to take SAA Newcomer of the Year honors. He was a part of two SAA event championships at the SAA Track and Field Championships April 26 and 27. He won the conference title in the long jump, leaping 22 feet, 4.5 inches. He then led the Petrels' 4-by-400 relay squad to their first SAA title the next day, as the team posted a time of 3:24.10. He also finished second in the high jump (6-2), fourth in the triple jump (45-2.5), and fifth in the 400 meters (51.01). He accrued the most points of any men's competitor at the meet, securing 27 by himself and having a hand in 37 of the team's 87 total points. 

Hadden earned his first individual SAA championship and his second straight All-SAA track and field honor, as he took top billing in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. He got around the track in 9:35.1 to earn the conference title. It marked his fourth win of the season, as he took top honors in the steeplechase at the Emory Classic, and in the 5,000 meters at the Berry Field Day Invitational and the 'Southern Invitational.

McNealy won his first SAA championship in the 400 meters, breaking an SAA Championships record with a time of 48.33 seconds. He also finished third in the 200 meters, posting a time of 22.63 seconds in that event, and played a part in the 4-by-400 relay win. He also won the 400 meters at the Emory Invitational, and finished second in the event at the Victor Icebreaker Duals and third at the 'Southern Invitational and the Tiger Indoor Invitational.

Meade earned first-team honors for his role in the 4-by-400 relay win, but he also posted a second-place finish in the 1500 meters, posting a time of 4:01.2. He earned top-three finishes in the 800 and 1500 at the Berry Field Day Invitational, finished second in the 1500 at the Emory Indoor Invitational, and came in third in the mile run at the NCAA indoor qualifier in Roanoke, Virginia. It marked his third career All-SAA honor, after he took second-team accolades in each of the previous two seasons.

Griner was also on the 4-by-400 relay team which won the SAA championship. In addition, he finished seventh in the 800 meters at the event (1:59.5). He finished second in the 800 at the Sewanee Indoor Invitational in early February.