University of Southern Indiana Track & Field begins its indoor season on Friday afternoon when it travels to the University of Indianapolis Winter Break Meet in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Senior distance runner Bastian Grau (Höchstadt, Germany) returns to lead the Screaming Eagle men on the track, looking to defend his national championship in the mile run. Grau also earned All-America honors in the distance medley relay and mile as well as All-Region honors in the mile, 3,000-meters and DMR.
Also on the track, junior middle distance runner Tyler Kruse (Fort Branch, Indiana) earned All-America after competing in the DMR with Grau and sophomore Javan Winders (Mansfield, Tennessee). Kruse set the second fastest times in USI history in the 800-meters and 600-meters a year ago.
Junior Ian Graves (Indianapolis, Indiana) is the top-returning sprinter for the Eagles, while senior Daniel Gibson (Normal, Illinois) will lead USI in the field. Freshmen Dallace Jones (Indianapolis, Indiana) and Andrew Pierce (Muncie, Indiana) are also expected to make an impact in the sprints.
For the USI women, they are led by distance runners in senior Melina Gryschka (Garbsen, Germany) and junior Hope Jones (Cumberland, Indiana). Last year, Gryschka earned a pair of All-America honors in the 3,000-meters and mile at Eastern New Mexico University, while Jones won the Great Lakes Valley Conference 5,000-meter run. Both are coming off of strong cross country seasons.
Senior Jessica Lincoln (Palatine, Illinois) was USI’s top 3,000-meter runner a year ago, having earned an NCAA II provisional time in the event and placed fifth at the GLVC Championships.
The lone competitor in the field for the Eagles is sophomore pole-vaulter Rylie Smith (Floyds Knobs, Indiana). Her vault of 9 feet, 5.75 inches last year is second in program history.
The UIndy Winter Break Meet is the first of eight regular season events in the 2017-18 indoor track & field season for USI. Friday’s meet will primarily be for sprinters and field events, as USI’s distance runners will not be competing.
The GLVC Indoor Championships are February 24-25 in Indianapolis with the 2018 NCAA II Indoor Championships March 9-10 in Pittsburg, Kansas.