CASTLETON, Vt. – Coming off a second-place finish in the North Atlantic Conference Championship in its first season as an NCAA-sponsored sport, the Castleton men's track and field team is set to enter 2017 with a blend of key returners and strong newcomers.
Castleton captured second place at the inaugural Championship a year ago as one of just two teams to collect triple figures in points. Fueled by four Spartans landing atop the leaderboard, the team earned 126 points in the tournament to finish behind only Colby-Sawyer. Under the helm of head coach Dave Heitkamp, the team has 22 members making up this season's squad, including two first-place finishers from last season's NAC Championship.
Tayler Larmie played a key role in the first-year program's success. He set two records last season, with one of them being a 52-year old school record in the shot put. Larmie launched a 12.99-meter throw at the conference tournament to take second overall in the event, while placing first overall in the hammer throw. Overall, he finished in the top-five in shot put at five meets, top-five in hammer at four meets, and top-10 in discus at five meets on his way to earning NAC Rookie of the Year honors. The sophomore returns to the squad in 2017 and looks to pick up where left off in the field events.
Austin Beauregard is back in 2017 and looks to continue his presence as a weekly top competitor in the hurdles. Returning for his sophomore season, Beauregard set a new program record and personal best in the 110-meter hurdles at the NAC Championship with a first-place time of 16.15 seconds. He also competed in the 400-meter hurdles and brought home a second-place finish with a time of 1:01.59. Beauregard's time in the 110-meter hurdles qualified him for New England Division III Championships, where he placed 24th overall against the top competitors in the region.
"Tayler and Austin are both working hard to defend their respective titles. Through their leadership and example, we can build a strong and competitive men's team," said the second-year head coach.
Along with a core of First Team All-NAC returners, Castleton boasts a sound group of competitors coming off strong indoor seasons. Grandon Smith shattered several sprinting records in the winter, highlighted by his personal-best time of 1:24.11 in the 600-meter run at the New England Championships. Also running for the Castleton cross country team, Smith landed NAC Runner of the Year honors with first-place finishes at the NAC and ECAC Championships. Ryan Barry joins the outdoor team this season after setting a new program pace in the 200-meter dash during the winter. Both competitors look to lead the Spartans on the track this spring.
Morgan Rainville and Jermaine Coggins will also look to carry their indoor success into the outdoor session, while newcomers Moe Harris, Jack Schilder, and Nick Reca look to make an immediate impact on the upcoming season. The fusion of experienced veterans with a strong incoming class has Heitkamp thrilled to get the season started.
"Our indoor season was a stepping stone to the outdoor season. I hope the outdoor performances this spring will show the benefits established from the indoor season so we can build on both. I am excited to get the spring season underway with this competitive group," said Heitkamp.
Castleton is scheduled to open its outdoor season Saturday, April 8, at Smith College. The Spartans have three meets in total scheduled before traveling to Colby-Sawyer for the NAC Championship April 30.