FOREST, Va. – A day after turning in a solid performance at the season-opening Liberty University Kickoff, the Bridgewater Eagles men's indoor track and field team was tabbed as the preseason favorite to hoist the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) championship in a vote by the league's head coaches.
Bridgewater edged out defending champion Lynchburg College for the league's top spot behind a 61 point total. The Eagles earned five of the nine first-place votes, while the Hornets garnered the other four first-place nods. Last season, the Eagles finished in the runner-up spot at the conference championships with 124 points.
The Eagles return a plethora of talented competitors, including the distance squad from the 2013 Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) men's cross country champions. Junior Luke Sohl returns to the mix after taking home Men's Athlete of the Meet honors a year ago. Sohl claimed the meet's top performer honor by finishing first in the mile run, the 3,000 meter run, and being a crucial leg in the first place finish for the distance medley relay. Crossing the line with a time of 4:19.21 in the mile, the sophomore set a new Bridgewater record, as well as a new ODAC Indoor Championship Meet record. In the 3,000 meter run, the Burke, Va. native took home the gold with a first place showing of 8:44.94, also shattering the current ODAC Indoor Championship Meet record of 8:45.94.
In the sprints and hurdles, Daryus Beale and Jacob Wright return in the sprints after picking up key points at last year's conference meet. Senior Ben Martindell also returns to the hurdles after finishing fourth in the 60 meter hurdles at last year's ODAC meet.
Finally, Bridgewater returns a number of jumpers, including point scorers Pete Monteleone and Stefan Vessels. Monteleone finished in a tie for fourth place in the high jump, while Vessels took home fifth-place points in the triple jump.
Behind the Eagles, Lynchburg College and Washington and Lee round out the league's top three selections. Eastern Mennonite and Virginia take home the fourth and fifth place spots, respectively.
Bridgewater returns to action at the beginning of the second semester. The Eagles are back in action on Jan. 17 at the Liberty University Open at Tolsma Indoor Track.
2013-14 ODAC Men's Indoor Track Coaches Poll
1. Bridgewater College (5) -- 61 pts.
2. Lynchburg College (4) -- 59 pts.
3. Washington and Lee University -- 47 pts.
4. Eastern Mennonite University -- 43 pts.
5. Virginia Wesleyan College -- 36 pts.
6. Roanoke College -- 28 pts.
7. Guilford College -- 26 pts.
8. Shenandoah University -- 16 pts.
9. Randolph College -- 8 pts.