May 28, 2005
WAVERLY, Iowa - The Engineers' track and field unit finished among the top 12 at the NCAA Outdoor Championships for just the second time since 1989 and scored their highest point total in 16 years at Wartburg College over the weekend. Junior Uzoma Orji and Nate Ball earned All-America honors to propel the Cardinal and Gray.
Orji, a two-time National Champion whose career has been filled with highlights, enjoyed arguably his finest meet in an MIT uniform. During an incredibly competitive shot put competition, Orji moved up from his No. 6 seed with a season-best throw of 57'4.25" that paced the first flight in trials. After trading blows with Brandon Houle of Wisconsin-Oshkosh through the first four throws of finals, Orji blasted a 58'3" on his fifth toss to move back into second place by one centimeter. Houle failed to match Orji's effort in the final round, enabling Tech's field star to secure his seventh All-America honor.
Orji also earned All-America accolades in the hammer throw. Moving from the No. 7 seed to another second-place finish with five throws over 184' resulted in his best day ever for the event. Already in second place, Orji expanded his hold on the runner-up spot with a personal-best throw of 189'2" in finals.
Senior Nate Ball accounted for the remainder of MIT's 21 points with a fourth-place finish in the pole vault. Ball cleared 16'7.25" en route to his highest national finish ever and his second All-America nod of the season.
Zach Traina and Ben Schmeckpeper also made the trek to Waverly, but finished outside of the scoring. Making his first national appearance, Traina ran 22.34 in the 200 and placed 14th in the field. Schmeckpeper finished 15th in the 5000 with a time of 15:09.84.