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Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student

sports little 500

Luke Naas, Judah Thompson top 2024 Little 500 men’s Individual Time Trials

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Blink and you’ll miss it. That was the reality of the photo finish between Sigma Alpha Epsilon junior Luke Naas and CUTTERS sophomore Judah Thompson in the men’s Little 500 Individual Time Trials on Tuesday at Bill Armstrong Stadium, with Naas taking home the victory by only .14 seconds. 

Beyond the two top racers, 172 other riders competed in the ITTs for the bragging rights of fastest in the Little 500. ITTs are a four-lap event that each rider competes in, whether one’s team successfully qualified for the Little 500 race or not. The riders begin on four separate corners of the track from a stand-still position, attempting to reach the fastest time once the horn sounds. 

Entering the event, the 8:35 p.m. heat was the one to watch — the four riders were the top returning finishers from last year’s ITTs. The group consisted of Naas, Thompson, Sigma Phi Epsilon senior Will Pitts and Delta Tau Delta senior Josh Herbst. 

After four of the quickest laps of the entire night, Naas edged out Thompson for the No. 1 spot with a time of 2:26.61 while second place finished with 2:26.75. Even after suffering such a narrow defeat, Thompson, who finished third in the ITTs last year, felt more than satisfied with his performance. 

“I raced the guys in the fall, I was happy to come out with the win,” Thompson said after his run. “Getting that second today, I’m happy with it. I had a lot of nerves coming into this, wanting to reclaim that title, but I’m happy with second.” 

The two remaining members of the heat were not far from the top: Herbst (2:28.16) and Pitts (2:28.87) finished third and fourth overall, respectively. With such a talented group, Naas said he believes the battles between the four riders have brought the best out of them while also strengthening their friendships. 

“We’ve had a really high level of competition this year,” Naas said after his run. “You want to obviously be better than your opponents on the track, but off the track, we’re all friends. It’s all fun competition.” 

After a second-place finish in the 2023 ITTs, Naas’ name is now in the record books as the 2024 ITTs champion. However, the junior hopes this is not the end of his — or his team’s — success. 

“It means a lot,” Naas said about winning the ITTs. “My dad also won it back in the ‘90s, so it’s kind of an SAE tradition. I’m really happy I can have that title for this year, and hopefully it converts to a 2024 Little Five champion.” 

Before Naas and Sigma Alpha Epsilon can compete for that Little 500 championship, they will have a chance to continue their success in the upcoming “Spring Series” events. Miss N Outs will take place April 6 and the Team Pursuit on April 7, with the championship race concluding the festivities April 20. 

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