The West Chester University track and field team trained for months to potentially qualify for the PSAC Indoor Championships. Many of the student athletes got to compete at PSAC’s including: Eric Atkins, Josh Bacon, Nick Drozd, Craig Espenshade, Adam Heath, Leighon Johnson, Ryan Karli, Mike Malejko, Brian Pellechia, Kyle Perry, Tyler Real, Sean Sebeck, Andy Tamez, Tim Thiry, Sean Devolites, Ed Brittingham, Dana Dietrich, Brittany Foye, Brigid Gallagher, Mary Gawbill, Leigh Gumlock-Silfes, Brigid Harron, Miriam Hughes, Mackenzie Lauro, Katie McAndrews, Kim McManus, Cherae McWilliams, Lyndsey Ratasiewicz, Melanie Ruff, Kamber Schrann, Sam Smarkola, Nicole Smith, Erin Spangler, and Melinda Wentz. Now that their distant goal recently became a reality, the Golden Rams can look back and be proud of their accomplishments.
“As a team, we know this [win] is capable of happening from all the hard work we put in every practice, learning from our mistakes, practicing till we get it right, and having a great coach guide our team to having outstanding performances this season, and many more to come,” Smith said.
The Golden Rams did an exceptional job at PSAC’s and as head coach Mike Murawski mentioned prior to PSAC’s, “I wish them the best of luck at this meet and we look to come home with a lot of season bests.”
Season bests weren’t all the team came home with. On February 26th and 27th, the Golden Rams competed in the 2011 PSAC Indoor Championships at the Mike S. Zafirovski Sports & Recreation Dome at Edinboro. Of the 16 male qualifiers, they participated in 10 events and a pair of relays. After the first day, the Rams sat in eigth place. Their rival, Shippensburg was in first place, followed by Lock Haven.
Leighon Johnson placed fourth in the long jump with a leap of 23 – 1 _ inches. Also, the 4×800 relay team placed sixth, with a time of 8:21.78. The 4×800 consisted of Mike Malejko, Kyle Perry, Sean Sebeck and Tim Thiry. Craig Espenshade ran the 400-meter in 49.98, qualifying for finals in the preliminary round. Tyler Real finished the 60-meter hurdles in 8.32.
The women’s track and field team sent 18 athletes, who competed in 13 different events and three relays at PSAC’s. After the first day, the Lady Rams sat in ninth place. Rival, Shippensburg sat atop first place, followed by Slippery Rock. Outstanding athlete, Melinda Wentz hit an NCAA provisional time in the pentathlon, finishing with 3,336 points. The 4×800 relay team placed fourth with a time of 9:34.65. Teammate, Brittany Foye finished in sixth place in the long jump with a leap of 16 – 6 inches.
Melanie Ruff qualified for finals in two of her events: the 200-meter and the 400-meter. Ruff finished in 25.60 and 59.13 consecutively. Nicole Smith qualified for finals in the 400-meter, as well, completing the race in 57.55.
During the second day of PSAC’s, Tyler Real finished in third place in the 60-meter hurdles. He crossed the line is 8.03 seconds. Also, Craig Espenshade finished sixth in the 400-meter with a time of 50.17. The men’s 4×400 relay team received fifth place, completing the race in 3:22.29. The 4×400 consisted of Nick Drozd, Kyle Perry, Tim Thiry and Craig Espenshade. Overall, the men’s team went home with an eighth place finish, totaling 21 points for their team.
The Lady Rams won the 4×400 relay that Sunday morning, finishing in 3:57.03. Melanie Ruff, Melinda Wentz, Sam Smarkola and Nicole Smith were the four athletes who claimed this 4×400 victory. Ruff was also the runner-up in the 200-meter (25.46) and placed seventh in the 400-meter (59.17). Smith placed third in the 400-meter with a time of 57.66. Also, Lyndsey Ratasiewicz placed fifth in the mile run (5:03.21). Overall, the women’s track and field team came home with seventh place, finishing with 46 points for their team.
The Golden Rams now have a new goal to reach: qualifying for the PSAC Outdoor Championships at Slippery Rock. Their outdoor season officially starts Saturday, March 19th when the men and women’s track team compete in their home opener at West Chester University.
Jillian Morgan is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies. She can be reached at JM652349@wcupa.edu.