PAINESVILLE, OHIO – For the first time in the program's four-year history, the Lake Erie College men's track and field team has broken into the national Top 25, currently ranking 23rd in the latest United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) poll released Tuesday (Feb. 15).
Ranked sixth in the Midwest Region for the fourth straight week, the Storm rose from 29th in the national polls after the 4x400-relay team provisionally qualified for the NCAA Division II Indoor Championships and the team set four school records at the Grand Valley State University Big Meet over the weekend.
"We felt going into this year we had the talent and commitment from the kids to put forth a good team," said head coach Bryan Harmon. "The kids have earned it. This is not a coaches' poll, there's no voting. These are strictly based on performances we've had this season and a computer program ranks them accordingly.
"It's rewarding to see that we've earned this spot based on what we've done – not on what other people think or perceive us to be," Harmon continued. "Being ranked 23rd is great and hopefully over the next two weeks if we can improve our spots, run a little faster and jump a little higher, we could move up and improve our spot."
To date, four individuals – sophomores Chris Burrows (Trotwood, Ohio/Trotwood Madison) in the 200-meter dash, Eric Klucar (Medina, Ohio/Highland) in the pole vault and Isaac Snyder (Salesville, Ohio/Buckeye Trail) in the heptathlon and freshman high jumper Jamil Dudley (Massillon, Ohio/Massillon) – have either provisionally or automatically qualified for March's NCAA Championships along with the 4x400 relay team of Burrows, Snyder and sophomores Quinton Harley (Rochester, N.Y./Edison Tech) and Ethan Snyder (Salesville, Ohio/Buckeye Trail).
"These are all young guys who are in the top 16 in their respective events and Chris and Ethan were outdoor All-Americans as freshman," Harmon said. "If our program can continue to grow and progress like it has so far, we should be in good shape in the next few years to continue to move up the national board."
Lake Erie's men and women will both be in action this weekend at the Kent State University Tune-Up on Saturday, Feb. 19, in their final preparations for the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Championships at the end of the month.