PITTSBURGH, Pa. — Tellis Horne and Connor Messer spearheaded an all-around team effort and the led the University of Rio Grande men to a team title in the River States Conference Track & Field Championships, Friday afternoon, at the RMU Island Sports Center.
The RedStorm captured their fourth straight conference title, tallying 201 points to outdistance Point Park University, which finished 190 points.
West Virginia University-Tech was third with 107 points.
The top six finishers in each event scored points toward the team totals, while the top three finishers in each event were named All-Conference.
Horne, a freshman from Canton, Ohio, was named Outstanding Track Athlete of the Year and Newcomer of the Year after winning both the 100-yard dash (10.74) and 200-yard dash (21.60) and being a member of Rio’s champion 4×100 and 4×400 relay teams.
The 4×100 unit, which also included freshman Sterling Smith (Reynoldsburg, OH), senior Clinton Campbell (Malta, OH) and freshman Zavien Parker (Pickerington, OH), crossed the line in a time of 41.57 and met the “B” qualifying standard for next month’s NAIA national championship meet.
The 4×400 team, which finished in a time of 3:20.86, also included freshman Alan Holdheide (Fort Loramie, OH), sophomore Keshawn Jones (Mansfield, OH) and Campbell.
Messer, a sophomore from Ashland, Ky., was named Outstanding Field Athlete of the Year after winning the pole vault (4.45m) and javelin throw (48.85m), finishing third in both the 110-meter hurdles (15.93) and high jump (1.95m) and taking fifth in the triple jump (12.24m).
Rio had four other individual first-place finishes.
Senior Alex Nichols (Pickerington, OH) had two of them, winning both the shot put (15.76m) and discus throw (44.67m), while sophomore Keshawn Jones (Mansfield, OH) won the 800-meter run in a time of 1:55.19 and sophomore Zack Collins (Newark, OH) took top honors in the hammer throw with a heave of 48.00m.
The RedStorm’s other scoring finishes came from Campbell, who finished second in both the 100-meter dash (10.92) and 400-meter hurdles (53.65); Parker, who was second in the 400-meter dash (48.75) and fourth in the 200-meter dash (22.66); Smith, who was third in the long jump (6.75m), fourth in the 100-meter dash (11.07) and fifth in the 200 (22.94); sophomore Joe Beegle (Racine, OH), who was third in both the shot put (13.01m) and hammer throw (42.89m); sophomore Adam Champer (Malvern, OH), who was third in the discus throw with a heave of 42.16m and fourth in the shot put with an effort of 12.50m; sophomore River Spicer (West Milton, OH), who took fourth place in the 10,000-meter run with a time of 35:38.46; freshman Dean Freitag (Magnolia, OH), who hit the “B” national qualifying standard by finishing fifth in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 25:32.55; sophomore Daniel Everett (Fletcher, OH), who was fifth in the hammer throw (38.50m) and sixth in the discus throw (37.98m); Nichols, who was sixth in the hammer throw with a heave covering 38.38m; Collins, who was sixth in the shot put with an effort of 12.18m; sophomore Ethan Greenawalt (Orlando, FL), who was sixth in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:04.91; and freshman Cameron Haught (Elon, OH), who was sixth in the 5,000-meter run after crossing in 26:35.19.
Rio’s 4×800 relay team — comprised of Holdheide, Greenawalt, Jones and freshman Isaiah Lester (Gallipolis, OH) — also finished second in a time of 8:26.86.
Rio head coach Bob Willey also earned Coach of the Year honors, while senior Adrian Shields (Fleming, OH) was the RedStorm’s representative on the league’s Champions of Character Team.
A handful of RedStorm athletes will return to action when they participate in the Ohio Open hosted by Ohio University on Friday.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.