Feb. 26 – YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Bethany College men’s indoor track & field teams received a solid all-around team effort, including 17 top-eight finishes and four individual championships to capture their first ever Presidents’ Athletic Conference Indoor Track & Field Championship on Thursday evening.
The Green & White dominated the field on the day, finishing the event with a total score of 109.5, 32.5 points higher than second-place St. Vincent (77).
Along with the team championship, both junior Umar Moore (Coraopolis, Pa./Moon) as well as Head Coach Andy Upton were honored by the conference after the meet.
“Both our men and our women performed extremely well today,” commented Upton. “Everyone fought out there and did what they were supposed to do. I could pick out any single person on this team and look at what a great job they did. The list just goes on and on.”
Moore had perhaps the best meet in recent memory as the junior took home first place in both the long jump and triple jump events. In the long jump, Moore captured the PAC Championship Meet record with a distance of 22’10.5”, breaking Nic Jones’ mark of 22’5” which was set at last year’s meet.
Moore then went from the long jump to the triple, where he also captured first in a field of 16 competitors. Sitting in third place on his final jump of the evening, Moore ripped off a leap of 46’4.25” to capture the championship in the event.
Showing how multi-faceted he can be, Moore also competed in the 60-meter dash, capturing a third-place finish in the finals while still in the middle of the triple jump competition. In the 60-meter, Moore finished with a time of 7.12.
“Umar came to the championships last year as the favorite, but wasn’t able to capture both events,” commented Upton of his junior. “This year, his focus was to capture both. He had that mindset heading into the events, and he just went out and did it.”
For his efforts, Moore earned both the Field Athlete MVP and the overall MVP awards at the meet. The field MVP was awarded to the field athlete with the most points (20), while the overall MVP was voted on by the nine head coaches of the conference.
“He was extremely deserving of the award,” remarked Coach Upton. “However, it wasn’t only for his performance on the field, but he also led the way for the team emotionally. He really got behind the other athletes and got everyone motivated today.”
Joining Moore in the winner’s circle for the Bison, was sophomore Bobby Bush (Pittsburgh, Pa./Baldwin), who came in unranked in the weight throw and walked away with not only a PAC Championship, but also the meet record as he uncorked a throw of 47’1.5”. The mark also set the Bethany record.
“Bobby came in this year with a completely new attitude,” said Upton of his sophomore thrower. “He has been working very closely with coach (Carolyn) Kitchens, and I think that a mix of her coaching and his willingness to work has paid off extremely well for him.”
Along with Moore and Bush, junior Kyle Minger (Richmond, Ohio/Edison Local) had a great day. Minger first broke his own meet record, taking first in the 400 meter run with a time of 49.50. He also set the school mark in the 200-meter dash, taking third with a mark of 22.54.
Minger was also a member of the 4x400 meter relay squad that brought home a second-place time, posting a school record 3:26.29 which broke the 2013 record of 3:27.59. Joining Minger on the relay team included Andre Butler (Poolesville, Md./Poolesville), Anthony Thompson (Colquitt, Ga./Miller County) and Cam Hill (Pittsburgh, Pa./Penn Hills).
Other top-three finishes for Bethany included the high jump duo of Shae Long (Steubenville, Ohio/East Liverpool) and Aaron Frye (Vandergrift, Pa./Kiski Area), as well as Austin Williams (Euclid, Ohio/Euclid) in the 60-meter hurdles.
Long captured a second-place mark in the high jump with a height of 6’4”, coming one-inch short of the PAC Championship. Frye tied for third on the day with Grove City’s Tom Kocur, finishing with a height of 6’0”.
In the 60-meter Hurdles, Williams notched a time of 8.94 for fourth place in the qualifying round. He then bettered that time to an 8.73 in the finals, capturing a third-place finish.
Overall, Bethany saw had 17 different point scorers on the day to help accumulate their 109.5 points, giving the Bison their first Indoor team championship. Thanks to the team’s efforts, as well as his own, Coach Upton was honored with the PAC Coach of the Year award for the second-consecutive season.
“It is an honor to win the award, especially since it is given to me by my peers,” remarked Upton. “However, winning Coach of the Year doesn’t touch how it feels to win the team championship. I’m very proud of what all of the athletes on both the men’s and women’s sides were able to accomplish today.
“I’m happy and honored to have won the Coach of the Year award because it brings recognition to Bethany as a whole, but winning the championship was the main focus today.”