The Golden Rams have competed three times within the last three weeks to prepare for PSAC’s this upcoming weekend. The Rams will be traveling to Edinboro on Feb. 26 and 27 for the PSAC Indoor Championships. WCU is ranked No. 9 in the Atlantic Region in the USTFCCCA Division II regional team rankings. It is the first time this season that WCU has appeared in the top ten.The Rams competed at the Bucknell Open and Multi Event inside Gerhard Field House in Lewisburg on Friday, Jan. 29. Tyler Real competed in the 60-meter dash, which qualified him for PSAC’s. Real finished with a time of 8.47 seconds, which gave him first place in the section two final. Of all three sections, Real had the fastest time in that event. He competed later in the prelims and won his heat, qualifying him for finals.
Ryan Karli placed fifth in the 60m finals, competing in section one, with a time of 9.13. Sean Sebeck came in second in the section one final of the 5000m. He placed fifth overall in that event with a time of 16:03.23.
Tim Thiry finished second in the 500 and third in the 400 that Saturday afternoon. Thiry finished in 1:06.49 and completed the 400 in 57.27. Nick Drozd placed fifth in the 500 behind teammate Thiry. Drozd completed the race in 1:07.71.
The Lady Rams hit three PSAC qualifying times at Bucknell the same day. Melanie Ruff and Sam Smarkola both won their heats in the 200, qualifying both of them for the PSAC’s. Ruff won heat two, completing the race in 26.28 while Smarkola finished in heat three at a time of 26.82.
Melinda Wentz did a great job in the Pentathlon, where she placed second and received 3.265 points. Wentz also won the shot put with a throw of 32 – 3 inches. She also placed second in the 60-meter hurdles, with a time of 9.48 seconds and placed third in the high jump (5 – 2 ¬).
The Lady Rams 4×400 relay team broke the previous school record on day two of the Bucknell Open. Melanie Ruff, Melinda Wentz, Smarkola and Nicole Smith crossed the line in 3:58.75, beating the old time of 4:03.4. Smith was named the PSAC Women’s Indoor Track & Field Athlete of the Week after this weekend.
Smith placed third in the 500 with a time of 1:20.47. Smith also won the 200, finishing with a time of 25.87. Brittany Foye, the only first place performance that weekend, came during her triple jump, where she leapt 36 – 9 .
The men’s and women’s track team traveled to East Stroudsburg the following weekend for the DeSchriver Invitational at Kohler Field House. The men’s 4×400 team consisting of Drozd, Adam Heath, Perry and Thiry finished second with a time of 3:25.1.
Real placed fifth in the 55 high hurdles (7.92), while Brian Pellechia, also placing fifth, with a distance of 43 – 8 in the weight throw.
The women’s team remarkably broke their school record from the previous week, finishing with a time of 3:58.07. Erin Spangler qualified for PSAC’s in the shot put, throwing a distance of 35 – 5 ¬. Foye won the triple jump, leaping 37 – 3 _.
On Feb. 11, both teams traveled to the New Balance Collegiate at the Armory in New York City. Leighon Johnson placed second in the long jump, leaping 22 – 4 . Meanwhile, the men’s 4×400 relay team, made up of Thiry, Perry, Drozd and Craig Espenshade, finished second with a time of 3:22.8.
Lady Rams’ runner, Lyndsie Ratasiewicz, won the mile with a time of 5:04.53. Smith won the 400, breaking the school record with a time of 56.9. Her time not only broke the school record, but is also an NCAA provisional qualifying time, and stands as the top time in the PSAC this winter, ranking her 17th in the country. Melanie Ruff finished in second place in the 400 behind Smith (58.12) and also placed second in the 60 (7.93). Smarkola placed fourth in the 400 (1:00.21).
Ruff received first place in the 200 with a time of 25.87. The two time record breaking women’s 4×400 relay team hit a national provisional qualifying time at the Armory (3:55.68). This just became the fourth best time in the PSAC this year.
The Golden Rams will compete at the 2011 PSAC Indoor Championships on Feb. 26 and 27 at Edinboro. They are currently No.9 in the regional ranking with 98.54 points and will be competing against top-ranked school in the Atlantic Region, Shippensburg, who has received 340.62 points.
Jillian Morgan is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies. She can be reached at JM652349@wcupa.edu.