May 21st, 2014

BU's Sigler hopes to add one more chapter at nationals

Adam Pruiett

Bellarmine University Assistant S.I.D

BU's Sigler hopes to add one more chapter at nationals
photo by Jeremy Hopkins / from

ALLENDALE, Mich. – You know you've had a pretty satisfying spring semester of your final year in college when you're faced with a batch of worthy options to choose from when deciding your crowning achievement.

That "dilemma" could be posed to Bellarmine University student-athlete extraordinaire Seth Sigler. Since the turn of the new year, the Knights' senior has: qualified for and competed at indoor track and field nationals, the granddaddy of all college meets; been accepted to medical school at Ohio University; received Bellarmine's prestigious In Veritatis Amore award at commencement; and, on top of all that, secured a bid to outdoor track and field nationals, the collegiate sport's grandest stage that will begin competition on Friday.

"This has been the best spring I think I've ever had," Sigler exclaimed only a few hours before departing for Allendale, Mich., for the 2014 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

Of course, as monumental as this spring has been for Sigler, he could make it even better. Preliminaries at nationals in the 110-meter hurdles – Sigler's event – are scheduled to begin at 6:35 p.m., ET on Friday at host Grand Valley State and conclude with the finals at 5:55 p.m. on Saturday. For the Bellarmine standout, who will be the lone Knight competing at nationals, it's all about making sure his performance isn't limited to one showing.

"Obviously the goal is to make the finals. That would be huge," said Sigler, who was named to the All-Midwest Region team by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. "If I make the finals, that gives me the chance to be an All-American."

A top-eight finish in the finals is needed to gain such an esteemed status, but Sigler must first be among the nine hurdlers advancing out of the prelims. There are three heats and the top two from each heat plus the next three best times sew up spots in the finals. There are 20 athletes competing in the 110 hurdles, with the heats divided into groups of six, seven and seven. Sigler will contend in the second heat from the sixth lane.

As expected at nationals, Bellarmine's all-time record holder in the 110 hurdles will face a daunting challenge. Of the athletes in his heat, Sigler compiled the fifth-best seeding time at 14.28. The headliner in the heat is St. Augustine senior Ty'reak Murray, who carries the second-best seeding time overall at 13.92. Next in the heat is Minnesota State freshman Myles Hunter (14.06 seeding time) followed by Tamu-Kingsville senior Sergio Rios (14.15), Pittsburg State sophomore Andre Sanders (14.26), Sigler, West Texas A&M junior Arnau Erta (14.38) and Virginia State sophomore Justin Williams (14.42).

"I definitely have a chance, especially in the hurdles," Sigler said. "The 110s is a race where anything can happen. Usually nobody competes at their best at nationals. We're all so close. I definitely have a faster race in me for sure."

Sigler secured an appearance at nationals with his sparkling performance in the preliminary round at the Great Lakes Valley Conference Outdoor Championships. That's when he exploded to the 14.28 finish that would lead him from GLVC host Lewis to nationals host Grand Valley State. He obliterated his previous personal record of 14.70, which was also the school record.

"I didn't realize that I went that fast until my teammates rushed me," Sigler recalled. "They were excited. It was a big, big deal especially because it was outdoor, and I got a PR by about half a second to make it. Finally everything just clicked for once."

He was referring to track, of course, not life in general. In mid-March, Sigler competed at the NCAA Indoor Championships in the 60-meter hurdles. On the same day that his berth at nationals had been finalized, the Logan, Ohio, native received an email from Ohio University stating that he'd been accepted to its medical school.

"It was a good day," Sigler stated with knowing understatement and a wide grin.

The good days didn't end there. At Bellarmine's commencement ceremony on May 10, Sigler was presented with the university's In Veritatis Amore award, a distinguished honor that is named after BU's Latin motto (which translated means in love of truth) and is given to the best all-around male and female student.

"That capped off everything," Sigler said of garnering the exclusive accolade. "That's the one that my parents (Angela Freeman and Jim Sigler) are the most proud of – that's for sure."

The cherry on top of his accomplished career at Bellarmine would be an impressive showing over the weekend in Michigan. His appearance will be unprecedented for BU, as Sigler is the first Knights hurdler to qualify for nationals.

"I'm thankful for my coaches," said Sigler, who will be joined at nationals by program leader Jim Vargo. "It's big to be the first and pave the way for others. To end my career making it to nationals – it's the biggest thing you can do in track in college."

To view the NCAA Outdoor Championships schedule of events, click here. To view the men's heat sheets, click here.


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