UPLAND, Ind. (Photos) -- Indiana Wesleyan University men's outdoor track and field began its quest for a third straight Mid-Central College Conference championship on Friday in Upland, Indiana.
The Wildcats opened up a 19 point lead after six finals event on Friday in the first day of competition at the MCC Championship. IWU has won the previous two conference titles and four of the last five.
Indiana Wesleyan scored 73 points to build a lead over second place Bethel (Ind.) College with 54 points. Spring Arbor (Mich.) University currently sits third with 47 points.
The top three finishers in each event are recognized as MCC All-Conference student-athletes. Indiana Wesleyan built their cushion with six individual All-Conference performances plus a relay team.
The Wildcats' best performance on Friday came in the Discus where IWU had three of the top scorers. James Allen claimed the MCC championship in the event with a throw of 155 feet 7 inches. Kyle Abney added a third place finish at 145-1 while James Schortgen was fourth at 139-4. The Wildcats scored a whopping 21 points in the Discus.
Schortgen had a better individual performance in the Hammer Throw. The senior tossed the hammer 194-7 for the individual conference title and the throw was the fourth best in the NAIA this season.
Indiana Wesleyan also gained 13 points in each of the jumping field events.
Nick Brown tied with two others for the highest mark in the High Jump at 6-7, but would take third place in the event. Then the next five jumpers all tied at 6-3.25. Darrian Mikell would claim fifth place while Caleb Miller tied for sixth.
Mikell would place even better in the Long Jump. His long leap of 23-4 was a runner-up mark while Desmond Sleigh added a fourth place finish at 22-5.75.
Indiana Wesleyan would garner runner-up positions in both track finals on Friday.
Ethan Laudermilch ran a time of 33 minutes 5.34 seconds in the 10,000-Meter Run and was less than eight seconds behind the leader. Matt Mitchell, Ethan Naylor, Hansen Martin, and Eric Brown also earned a runner-up finish in an exciting 4x800-Meter Relay race. The top four teams all hit a NAIA qualifying standard and were within two seconds of each other. IWU was second in a time of 7:45.34.
Indiana Wesleyan will look to build on their 19 point lead on Saturday in the final day of competition at the MCC Championship. The meet restarts tomorrow at 2 p.m.