BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – With the help of more gold medals on the second day, Belmont Men's Track and Field went on to take fifth overall at the 2020 Ohio Valley Conference Indoor Championship on Thursday at the Birmingham CrossPlex.
Seniors led the way to gold in the field events. Corey Claiborne (Milton, Ga.) clinched gold in the shot put with his throw of 18.20m, setting both a new PR and a program record in the event. After top-three finishes in nearly every event in the heptathlon helped classmate Drake Mitchell (Nashville, Tenn.) took gold in the event with a total of 4,815 points. He also placed fifth in the triple jump, scoring additional points for the Bruins.
"Knowing I had the top mark this far, I tried to anticipate that the competition would outperform their seed marks in a major way by planning to constantly put down pressure every round and not giving in to a sense of security," Claiborne said.
"It's not easy to come into the conference meet with the farthest throw this season," noted Assistant Coach Joe Frye. "You've got a target on your back the whole meet and Corey has learned how to deal with that very well, as was shown today.
"I've known he's capable of big marks, but to go over 18-meters for the first time in prelims, and then do it again on his last throw was huge. He continues to not get complacent and is always looking for ways to get better, and that mentality is contagious to those around him."
In a deep high jump field, sophomore Noah Grimm (Brighton, Mich.) collected his first medal of the meet, earning silver with a mark of 1.98m.
"I'm really proud of this team and our performances. With that said, there are many areas we can improve on. We can use this momentum to push us through into the outdoor season," Mitchell said.
"Drake finally getting the win in the multi was huge. He's been grinding for years and it's nice to see all that hard work pay off. He's a big part of what the men's team does so it definitely set the tone for the rest of day two," said Associate Head Coach Cameron Harvey. "When you see a guy come in and develop his craft over the years, you can only hope that younger athletes will see this and follow his lead."
On the track, sophomore Jacob McLeod (Soperton, Ga.) notched a second title, earning gold in the 3000m with a time of 8:08.76, just three seconds shy of the record he set earlier this season. Junior Ben Naeger (Ste. Genevieve, Mo.) placed sixth in the event with a time of 8:24. 71 and senior Declan McManus rounded out the BU presence in the event, taking 12th (8:38.75). In the mile, freshmen Finn Birnie (St. Austell, United Kingdom) and Harrison Grzymkowski (Commerce, Mich.) notched top-10 finishes.
"It certainly motivates the rest of the distance guys heading into outdoor," said Belmont's Director of Cross Country and Track & Field. "We have three high quality guys who did not run indoors so we are looking forward to helping bring home a track title in May."
The Bruins will have a few weeks off before starting their outdoor season March 13 at Margaret Simmons Invitational, hosted by Murray State.
Belmont Only Results
1. Drake Mitchell 4,815 pts
5. Drake Mitchell 13.63m
2. Noah Grimm 1.98m
1. Corey Claiborne 18.20m*
400m Dash Finals
8. Kaden Kieffer 49.89
12. Declan McManus 8:38.75
6. Belmont 3:22.90