Men’s track and field make history at conference meet

By Farah Bassyouni Mar 3, 2023

Bloomington, Ill.  –  History at the Shirk Center as the 2022-23 Illinois Wesleyan men’s track and field team landed program-best second-place finish at the CCIW indoor championship on Feb. 24-25 with a point total of 102. North Central College swept the field as they took home the title on both the men’s and women’s sides.

The men’s second-place team finish bested the 2008 squad’s third-place effort by 11 points. Also bringing home silverware was the men’s track and field coaching staff led by Head Coach Todd Lowder. 

“Friday we had great performances in our field events and multi-events and you could see the rest of the team start to believe it could happen,” Coach Lowder said. “As Saturday unfolded one guy would step up and do something awesome and the next guy would feed off that energy and do something extraordinary.” 

Senior Christian Gatsos and first-year Isaac Whitaker kicked off the Titan rally on Friday as they were named co-champions in the pole vault and cleared a 4.45-meter bar. Gatsos tied his personal best, while Whitaker set a new career best and tied Gatsos for the fifth all-time pole vault clearance in school history. 

On Saturday, senior David Nguy finished the continuation of the heptathlon as he bested the competition in the 1000-meter race to garner a first-place finish in the heptathlon with a 4351-point finish. The only two heptathlon titles in IWU program history and the first since 2015. 

“In my 5th year at IWU I was excited and confident going into the meet and having the opportunity to compete for the title,” Nguy said. “This was by far the most fun I’ve had in a meet. I told our team back in August that we had a real shot at history. We all made memories we will remember for a long time.”

First-year Evan Lowder sprinted to a first-place finish with a career-best 49.52-second 400-meter race. Lowder was the only athlete to post a time under 50.00 seconds. His stellar performance put him at the second-fastest time in the program’s history which put an end to a 15-year drought as the last IWU title holder in the 400-meter came in 2008. Lowder followed up his race with a third-place finish in the high jump (1.88 meters). 

On the women’s side, junior Lauren Wong claimed the title in the long jump as she soared 11.46 meters. The Bloomington native got her revenge from last year’s second-place finish as she became IWU’s first title in the event since 2016. 

A total 28 IWU athletes garnered all-conference selections, 18 on the men’s side and 10 on the women’s. 

The Green and White will transition to the outdoor track part of the season as they will travel to Millikin University on Saturday, April 1. 

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