With a new coach and a first place finish already under their belts, things look very promising this season for West Chester University’s track and field teams.Aaron Keiser was hired by WCU over winter break to replace former head coach Jason Kilgore, who left to take an assistant coaching job at his alma mater Lafayette College. He will be coaching both the men’s and the women’s teams for the upcoming season.
Before coming to WCU, Keiser spent the fall as an assistant track coach at Limestone College. All told, he has over four years of coaching experience, though this is his first time as a head coach at the collegiate level.
Keiser brings a winning reputation with him to WCU. He is considered one of the nation’s top young coaches and has had success at every level. He worked with 23 conference champions, 66 all-conference performers, 41 NCAA Division II national qualifiers and four All-Americans during his career.
Keiser is a USATF Level 1 Coach and is certified as a strength and conditioning specialist.
Also over winter break, both the men’s and women’s track teams got their seasons off to a flying start at the Delaware Invitational as each team finished first in the Division II/III segment. The event was held on Jan. 10.
The men’s team scored 158 points to lead the field of seven teams, while the women scored 113 points to finish first in a field of six teams.
The men captured the top five places in the weight throw event, with Nic Biundo finishing first overall with a distance of 46 feet, 10 inches. Brian Pellechia finished in second with a 39 foot, 10 inch toss, while Jason Boff’s 38 feet were enough to earn him third place. Rob Johnson claimed fourth with a 37 foot, 5 inch throw and, finally, Ben Schober rounded out top five with 36 feet.
Johnson led the Rams to victory in the shot put event with a distance of 42 feet, 8 inches.
Leighon Johnson finished second in the long jump event with a distance of 21 feet 4 ¬ inches. He was victorious in the triple jump with a distance of 43 feet 2 1/5 inches. Boff placed second. Kyle Miller pole vaulted a height of 14 feet 3 ¬ inches to grab first place in that event.
The Golden Rams success wasn’t limited just to the field however, as they also managed a strong day on the track as well.
Matt Houser was victorious in the 400 meter race with a time of 51.74 seconds. His 23.08 second time was enough to earn him second place in the 200 meter dash.
Craig Espenshade finished second in the 400 meter race. His time of 52.16 seconds was behind only that of his teammate Houser. Espenshade also managed to place fourth in the 200 meter event with a time of 23.52.
As for the women, Brittany Foye finished third in the long jump event with a distance of 16 feet, 2 ¬ inches.
Melinda Wentz finished right behind teammate Foye with a distance of 16 1/2 feet.
Foye was victorious in the triple jump with a distance of 34 feet 11 _ inches.
Katie Butler won the high jump event after she cleared a height of 5 foot 3 inches. C.J. Jacob was second with a height of 4 feet 11 inches. Maria Baker finished third in the 60 meter hurdles with a time of 9.64 seconds. Sam Smarkola placed third in the 220 meter dash with a time of 1:02.85.
Both the WCU men’s and women’s teams will resume their seasons on Jan. 17 at the Orange and Maroon Classic, which will be held in Selinsgrove, PA. If their early success is any indicator, it could be a season to remember for these two teams.
Colin McGlinchey is a fourth-year student majoring in English with a minor in Journalism. He can be reached at CM646588@wcupa.edu.