It took four years for Mark Bridge to finish on top. This season, on his third attempt, the Indiana (Pa.) senior won the NCAA Division II championship in the javelin, outdistancing IUP teammate Noah Christian by 16 feet during national competition last weekend at Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas.
Bridge, a Baldwin graduate, finished first with a throw of 228 feet, 5 inches.
The victory represented a breakthrough at the national event for Bridge, who had finished second in 1999 and 2000 before being reshirted a year ago. As a sophomore in 1999, Bridge was edged on the final throw of competition.
Bridge is a three-time Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference champion and is the fifth IUP javelin thrower to win a national championship. The others are John Elliott (1973), David Maudie (1987), Jeff Neral (1990) and Bob Vranich (1993). Bridge’s national-winning throw fell short of his school-record toss of 237-2, accomplished in 2000, when he also qualified for the Olympic trials.
Christian, a graduate of Homer-Center, was making his first appearance at the national meet and marked his return to action after sitting out the PSAC meet with an injury. His throw of 212-5 was even feet longer than his previous best effort of the season.
Christian’s second-place finish gave IUP the top two spots in an event at nationals for the first time in school history.
Athletics directors from schools in the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference have approved a motion to move conference postseason men’s basketball games to campus sites beginning next season.
The motion, approved at the league’s annual meeting May 21, does not include any changes regarding seeding of teams. The top three teams in each division and the next two best records, regardless of division, will qualify for the tournament.
The top two seeds in each division will play host to quarterfinal games March 1. Semifinals March 7 and the championship game March 8 will be played at the site of the team with the highest conference winning percentage.
IT’S A FACT
Paul Young, a former Baldwin star, and JoAnne Connelly Raymundo were the latest Mercyhurst inductees. Young, who helped Mercyhurst to a 26-3 record and a No. 10 ranking in NAIA in 1978, is the second men’s basketball player to be included. Connelly Raymundo is a pioneer of the women’s soccer program, which began varsity play in 1987 and reached the NCAA playoffs a year later.
The IUP inductees are George Aggen, Barry Ruffner and the late Bob Prokay (football), Bob McFarland (football/baseball), Jack Benhart and Lee McCullough (men’s basketball), Margo Hinton (women’s basketball), Bob Killen (tennis), Ron Milanovich (golf), and Kim Schneider-Simpson (women’s track and field).