Men's Track & Field: Mount Union Wins National Championship at NCAA Track & Field Championships

Men's Track & Field: Mount Union Wins National Championship at NCAA Track & Field Championships

DELAWARE, Ohio -- Mount Union's men's track and field team won its first national title in school history at the 2014 NCAA Division III Track & Field Championships at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio.

It is the 13th overall national championship for the Purple Raiders -- who have 11 football championships and the 1974 men's cross country championship.

The team title came down to the final event as the Raiders that entered today as the No. 1 seeded team after the prelims.  The quartet of juniors Chase Swisher (Lewis Center/Olentangy Orange) and Tyler Mettille (Canfield/Canfield) along with sophomores Tyler Sparks (Norwalk/Norwalk) and Chad Gentry (Louisville/Louisville) swept both indoor and outdoor national titles in the event with a school record and stadium record time time of 3:09.81.

Mount Union tallied 47 total points which was five points ahead Wisconsin-LaCrosse while North Central (Ill.) was in third place with 35 points.

Swisher, Mettille, Gentry and Andrew Shrewsbury (Woodville/Woodmore) also earned All-American honors with a fifth place finish in the 4x100 meter relay.

Swisher and Mettille each picked up a third All-American finish on the day as Mettille was third in the 400 meter hurdles (51.03) and Swisher was sixth in the 400 meters (47.89).

Junior Sean Donnelly (Willoughby/Willoughby South) followed up national titles in the shot put and hammer throw with a third All-American finish for the weekend with a seventh place finish in the discus (170-9).

Mount Union head coach Kevin Lucas is in his fourth year as men's head coach and said this about the title.

"I'm kind of speechless … this just means so much to our program. We've never won a championship in track and field, so it is incredible."

"Sometimes, at the national meet, things might not go the way you want them to. However, our guys believed they could do this. Everyone stepped up whether it was the 4x400 team winning their race, our 4x100 team getting fifth out of lane one … All the way down the line, they stepped up."

Junior Gerardo Vargas (Painesville/Harvey) earned All-American honors as well with a sixth place finish in the pole vault as he matched his season-best mark at 16-0.75. 

Other performances at the meeting included, senior Alex Kovalik (Aurora/Aurora), who scored a total of 6,539 points to finish in 12th place finish in the decathlon, freshman Zach Wukotich (Salem/Salem) just missed All-American honors as he finished ninth with a mark of 6-feet, 9-inches and sophomore Tyler Orewiler (Bucyrus/Colonel Crawford) placed 11th in the pole vault.