Senior Erik van Ingen is set to travel to Texas A&M University this weekend to compete in the mile at the NCAA Indoor Championships. This is the fourth time in his career that van Ingen has advanced to an NCAA Championship. He previously ran in last year’s NCAA Indoor meet and the past two NCAA Cross Country Championships.
Last year at the NCAA Indoor meet, van Ingen finished 11th with a time of 4:03.72, missing USTFCCCA (United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association) All-America honors by three places. This past fall at the Cross Country Championships, van Ingen placed a personal-best 43rd out of a total of 246 runners, but once again missed All-America honors by only three places.
This is the fifth year in a row and the sixth time in seven years, that Binghamton University will be sending a male track athlete to the NCAA Championship meet. Besides van Ingen, pole vaulter Rory Quiller advanced to the 2005, 2007 and 2008 championships and won the national title in 2008. Current senior Cazal Arnett also competed in the 400 in 2009.
Unlike previous seasons, USTFCCCA All-America honors will be assigned into first and second teams for all events, both individual and relay. USTFCCCA First-Team All-America honors will be awarded to the top eight finishers in an individual event or relay. The individual and relay runners that finish between ninth and 16th place overall (including ties) will be awarded USTFCCCA Second-Team All-America honors. The title of Honorable Mention All-American will be awarded to those who do not fall into the categories above, but participate in at least one round of an event. The final list of All-Americans will be released Monday.
This year, van Ingen is the fifth overall seed in the mile and is scheduled to compete in the the second heat of the preliminary race at 5:15 p.m. today. The top four finishers from each heat, as well as the runners with the next two fastest times, will then advance to the final race. The final is set to take place at 6:10 p.m. tomorrow.
This year could quite possibly be the most successful year van Ingen has had in his four-year collegiate career. On Feb. 12, he set a school record in the mile at the Boston University Valentine’s Meet with a time of 3:57.11. He was one of five runners to break the four-minute mark in the event. One week later, at the America East Indoor Championships, van Ingen was named the Most Outstanding Men’s Track Performer after crossing the finish line first in both the 5,000 and 1,000. With those finishes, he helped Binghamton place second overall at the meet. Lastly, earlier this week, he was named the USTFCCCA Northeast Region Men’s Track Performer of the Year. Van Ingen has an impressive résumé going into the meet this weekend and hopes to come home with First-Team All-America honors for the first time in his career.
This two-day event is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. today at the Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium in College Station, Texas.