Mount Union men win indoor title on last event

Mount Union celebrates
The Mount Union men's indoor track team celebrates its first-ever Walnut and Bronze, joining the outdoor title it won in 2014.
Photos by Ryan Coleman, d3photography.com
 

Mount Union claimed its first-ever men's indoor track and field team title at the 2018 NCAA Division III Championships on at CrossPlex on March 10 in Birmingham, Alabama.

The Purple Raiders tallied 41 points to edge out North Central (Ill.) by a single point (40) while Rowan (37 points) and UW-Eau Claire (24) rounded out the top four spots.

2018 men's indoor track standings

1. Mount Union 41
2. North Central (Ill.) 40
3. Rowan 37
4. UW-Eau Claire 29
5. UW-La Crosse 28
6. Benedictine 26
7. UW-Stout 22
8. Christopher Newport 19

It is the 16th national title for the school as Mount Union has a record 13 titles in football, including this past year, the 1974 men's cross country title and the 2014 outdoor track and field title.

Similar to 2014, everything came down to the last event -- the 4x400 meter relay -- and just like 2014 the Raiders won the event and the title.

Senior Tyler Neff, juniors James Roth and Clark Etzler along with sophomore AJ Digby posted a season-best time of 3:13.77 to get the win and the final 10 team points, as the Purple Raiders foursome edged runner-up North Central by 0.71 seconds.

Mount Union also got a win in the 60-meter hurdles from sophomore Mason Plant, who posted a school-record time of 8.00 seconds. It was his second All-American finish in the event as he placed third in 2017.

The Raiders were just 0.01 from picking up another event win as Louis Berry was second in the 60 meter dash with a time of 6.79 seconds. It was his second career All-American place in the event as he was sixth in 2016. He also won Walnut and Bronze with the Purple Raiders football team this past fall, where he was a starting defensive back.

A pair of sophomores completed the scoring for Mount Union in field events in Sean Sherman and Matt Keim.

Sherman became an indoor All-American for the first time as he finished fourth in the shot put with a throw of 56 feet, 3 inches. Sherman also played for the Purple Raiders football team in the national championship game win vs. Mary Hardin-Baylor, on the offensive line. On Friday, Keim had a mark of 16-foot, 6.75-inches in the pole vault to place second and claim All-American honors for the first time in his career.

North Central's Dhruvil Patel emerged victorious in the 5,000-meter run. In third place for most of the final mile, Patel darted inside race leader Darin Lau of the UW-Eau Claire, the Division III national cross country champion last fall, and took the lead with one lap remaining. Patel surged away to win in a personal-best time of 14 minutes, 22.48 seconds.