Abdinajib Liban

Special to the Denisonian

With just one week left before the 2014 North Coast Athletic Conference Indoor Track and Field Championship, Denison University’s men’s indoor track and field team posted a staggering six top three finishes at the annual Last Chance Meet.

On Friday night, spectators at the Mitchell Fieldhouse in witnessed Wallace Branche ‘16 gain first place in the triple jump. Branche, a native of Charlotte, N.C., gained victory after breaking the school record with a combined jump of 46’9.00”.

It is worth noting that the previous school record, which Branche broke by an inch, was set earlier in the season by Branche himself.

He states, “I felt really excited to break the record again, but not quite satisfied.  Breaking the record is a testament to hard work trumping talent.  And we sure do have a lot of hard workers on the track and field team”.

Branche prepared for the meet by changing his dietary habits. Branche explains, “I started drinking more water and eating salads at least once a day.” Branche’s self-imposed dietary regimen includes eating more fruits and avoiding all greasy food.

Additionally, there is one other factor which Branche believes improves his performance.

“I do believe that part of my success is a result of the team’s support and excitement throughout the season.”

He explains that the track and field team has grown a stronger bond throughout the season and this has motivated him to excel.

The night’s highlights did not end there. After clearing 5’8”, Quenton Richards ‘16 placed second in the high jump.

Richards would go on to deliver another silver-medal performance in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.04.

Richards states, “I felt solid about my performances. It’s always humbling to walk away from an event with a silver medal, but I’m always working towards gold.”

Like Branche, Richards points out the critical role that the team has played in his development this season.

“We definitely did a great job Friday supporting each other in all our events.”

Overall, Richards is proud of the performance of his fellow athletes.

“It’s always the goal to place as many men as possible. Since our team is not as large as some of our competitors in the NCAC, we really have to focus on quality over quantity,”  Richards states.

Jon Brachna ‘14 also delivered back-to-back silver-medal performances in the 800m and 4x400m relay.

Brachna ran the opening leg of the 4×400 with fellow runners Zach Cove ‘17, Ryan Keller ‘16 and Mitch Keller ‘16 to achieve a combined time of 3:35.86. Mitch placed fifth in the 800m with a time of 2:00.66, while Cove (2:01.45) and Ryan (2:01.49) took sixth and seventh, respectively.

Andrew Groff ‘16 secured third place in the 3,000-meter run with a time of 9:13.33. In the shot put, Andy Shaw ‘15 led the Big Red with a toss of 42’11.75” and placed fourth. Senior John Bute’s toss of 41’00.25” put him in sixth place. Bute would also go on to finish ninth in the weight throw with a toss of 37’9.25”.

The 2014 NCAC Indoor Track & Field Championship begins Friday at 12 p.m. in the Mitchell Fieldhouse.

As Richard puts it, “I think I can speak for the entire team in saying we’re extremely motivated heading into the NCAC Championship.”

Branche predicts: “This weekend is going to go well, and you can expect to see more personal records at the NCAC championship!”