COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – The Ursinus College men's track and field team looks to return to its traditional standard of top-four finishes as the Bears prepare to take on the Centennial Conference Outdoor Championships this Friday through Sunday at Johns Hopkins.
The Bears placed seventh at last year's outdoor meet, ending a streak of 11 consecutive seasons in which they landed in fifth place or better. Seven of those years culminated in at least a fourth-place showing, including a runner-up placement in 2005. Behind a balanced unit with a diverse array of point-scoring potential, Ursinus has its sights set on returning to its usual spot among the top half of a loaded conference.
Friday, May 5
The decathlon headlines a light schedule on the first of three days in Baltimore, but Ursinus will look to pick up points in a few events nonetheless. The Bears boast four of the top 10 times in the CC in the 10,000-meter run, led by junior Joseph Iuliucci's 33:06.50, which ranks fifth. Freshman Logan Mazullo (34:02.50), sophomore Andrew Voyack (34:17.26), and freshman Daniel Powell (34:22.77) will also contend for points.
Saturday, May 6
Senior Patrick Mekongo will have a busy Saturday, which features the prelims of all three sprints. Mekongo is the favorite in the 200-meter dash, where his time of 22.53 at the Widener Invitational stands slightly ahead of a pair of Hopkins challengers in Alexander Mollick (22.69) and Jesse Poor (22.73). The Bears have not had an outdoor 200 champion since Al Desiderio in 2009. Junior Jamie Casseus (23.52, 20th CC) and freshman Austin Bittenbender (23.70, 23rd) will join Mekongo in the 200.
The Bears have produced two of the last four champions in the 400, which will be contested by freshmen Codi Yhap and Andre Kelly, who rank 11th and 12th on the CC performance list. Mitchell placed sixth in the 100 and fifth in the 200 at last year's championship, but is not scheduled to participate in either this weekend. Casseus is slotted 11th in the 100 (11.49).
Mitchell figures to be a contender to earn points in the 400-meter hurdles; he and teammate Mitchell Kelly are ranked 8th and 9th, respectively, in the event.
Freshman James McDaid will represent Ursinus in the 800-meter run, where he is seeded 16th with a mark of 1:58.15.
Bittenbender is seeded 15th in the long jump (19-4.25).
The Bears hope freshman Carlo Telesco (131-11, 12th CC) and Myers (129-10, 13th) are able to make a move up the charts in the discus throw.
Sunday, May 7
Sunday's proceedings begin with the javelin, where Bittenbender is the Bears' top contender at 159-9 (good for sixth in the CC). Myers, seeded 15th at 143-10, has competed only once in the event this spring but placed seventh at the outdoor conference meet a year ago, while freshmen Matthew Gallagher (130-3), Cole Connelly (127-9), and Connor Lent (126-11) are slated to appear.
The Bears will be aiming for an early gold medal when Yhap, Mitchell, Mekongo, and Bittenbender test their mettle in the 4x100-meter relay; that grouping ranks second in the conference with a top clocking of 43.31 seconds to trail only Hopkins' 42.80 from the Penn Relays. Mitchell was a part of the gold medal-winning relay squad in 2015, while he and Mekongo formed half of last year's runner-up unit.
Myers will be looking to score in the shot put for the second consecutive year; he finished fifth last season and is seeded fourth this time around with a top toss of 46-6. Telesco is just outside the top 10 at 41-5.75.
The early afternoon slate also includes the finals of the 100, 200, 400, 100 hurdles, and 400 hurdles.
The meet concludes with the 4x400-meter relay, where Andre Kelly, Mitchell, Yhap, and Mekongo are projected to finish second. Last Friday, that grouping ran a 3:22.05 at the Penn Relays, Ursinus' lowest clocking in the event since 2015.
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