Muhlenberg College

Allentown, Pa.
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Sunday, February 25, 2007
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The second day of the Centennial Conference Indoor Track and Field
Stuart Udis
Udis was involved in a photo finish in the 800 meters. The top three runners were separated by less than three-tenths of a second, with Udis (left) taking second place. He came home from the meet with a gold and two silvers.
Championships began with a rousing win for the Muhlenberg men and ended with an honor for a Muhlenberg woman. In between, a story of perseverance provided one of the meet’s highlights.

When it was all said and done, the Mule women were third in the standings, just a half-point from their third runner-up finish in a row. The injury-plagued Mule men were fourth, snapping a string of six consecutive top-three finishes.

“I think we feel really positive about the meet,” said senior Rachel Drosdick, who was third in the 55-meter high hurdles and fourth in the long and high jumps. “We weren’t supposed to score as many points as we did, so we exceeded expectations. A lot of people feel this was one of our best conference meets.”

Freshman Alex Faust was one of two recipients of the Most Outstanding Performer award for field athletes. Faust competed in only one field event, winning the pole vault with a meet-record height on Saturday. She also placed in the top five in four running events, anchoring the 4x200 team that finished second and the 4x400 squad that came in third.

Including the indoor and outdoor championships, a Muhlenberg female has won Outstanding Performer honors four years in a row. Faust is the second Mule to earn the recognition as a freshman.

Hesselink-Hicks improved her standing at the CC indoor meet all four years, from 10th to sixth to fourth to first.
In the first race of the day, the men’s 4x800 team of sophomore Stuart Udis, senior Stephen Rothwell, freshman Patrick Thornton and senior Lex Mercado defended the Mules’ 2006 title. Prior to last year, Haverford had won every 4x800 in CC history.

Muhlenberg trailed Haverford for most of the race, but Thornton did an excellent job in the third leg keeping pace with the Fords’ runner. Mercado took the baton about three seconds behind and passed the leader down the homestretch.

The Mules’ only other gold medal of the meet came from senior Katie Hesselink-Hicks in the high jump. Just three weeks after failing to clear a height at East Stroudsburg, Hesselink-Hicks was successful at her third try at 5-4¼, missing the school record by three-quarters of an inch and the NCAA provisional standard by even less.

Lex Mercado
Mercado makes his move on the final stretch of the 4x800. He placed in the top eight in five events, winning a gold and two silvers in relays.
“That was a thrilling moment,” said Drosdick. “Most of the people in the field house were watching her because they saw her clearing heights that no one else did. When Katie cleared the last height, obviously, Muhlenberg had a huge reaction to her, but everyone in the field house let out a big cheer.”

Led by Hesselink-Hicks and co-silver medalist Erika Koop, four Muhlenberg athletes scored 22½ points in the high jump, accounting for nearly a quarter of the team’s total of 97½.

“A similar situation occured last year, when we had five high jumpers place,” noted Drosdick. “We interact well with each other. We can encourage each other and still remain competitive.”

The Mules combined to break two school records on the second day. After a near-miss in the second week of the season, freshman Debra Crockett eclipsed the mark in the shot put, winning a silver medal with her throw of 36-8½. Sophomore David Chorney set a school record in the 3,000 meters.

Senior Matthew Sallese missed the school record in the shot put by an inch, but he did place a career-best third with one of 15 ECAC-qualifying performances for the Mules during the meet.

Click here for Muhlenberg highlights.
Click here for complete women’s results.
Click here for complete men’s results.

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Last updated February 25, 2007