Aldana Leads 1-2-3 Hurdles Sweep, DiGangi Wins Vault to Lead Hood Men at WVU
MORGANTOWN, W.Va.--Sophomore Nick Aldana led a 1-2-3 sweep of the 60-meter hurdles to highlight the Hood College men's track and field effort at the State Farm Games, hosted by West Virginia University on Saturday.
The Middletown High School grad won in 8.83, just 0:01 off his career best, in leading teammates Tyree Wilson (9.02) and Naseem Zietoon (9.27) across the line. Senior vaulter Chris DiGangi, a two-time Capital Athletic Conference champion in the pole vault, captured his specialty with a lead of 13' 7.25". Sophomore Steven Powell set a new personal best of 12' 7.50" in earning fourth. His effort should provide the Blazers with the top two spots in the vault when the CAC rankings appear on Tuesday.
"The sweep was really neat," said head coach Brent Ayer. "This doesn't happen very often. Three years ago, I was despairing over where we would find some hurdlers. Now we are just rolling.
"Chris is working a nearly full-time job and taking 18 credits this semester," observed Ayer. "He has had almost no practice. This is just testimony to his knowledge of the event. Steven is making incremental improvement nearly every week."
Mike Beidleman continued his strong sprinting capturing second in the 60-meter dash (7.16) and fourth at 200 meters. He was hampered by drawing lane one, the least advantageous lane for running sprinting events around a curve. Junior distance captain Brett Shelley matched Beidleman in recording a runner-up finish in the 5000 and coming back to take fourth in the mile.
Junior transfer Jordan Acton picked up a new school record in the 500, finishing third in 1:14.51, in the aftermath of a bout with mononucleosis that cut into this training. Chris Catalfamo was close on his heels for fourth in 1:14.84, also under the old record.
The Hood College "A" team of Dan Jacobs, Beidleman, Action and Zietoon finished fourth in the 4 x 400 meter relay. The Hood "B" team consisting of Stephen McNamara, Powell, Wilson and Aldana placed sixth.
"Our ability to do well in the technique events, like the hurdles and the vault, is a direct result of the experience that assistant coaches Jack Griffin and Dwight Scott bring to the program," concluded Ayer.
The Blazers took a limited squad of 11 men to the meet, which was scheduled over semester break. They will return to full strength next Saturday at the Hagerstown Community College Invitational. The first event begins at 10 a.m.