On Feb. 27th and 28th, the men’s and women’s track and field team participated in the 2010 PSAC indoor track and field championships at Edinboro University. Fourteen different schools attended the event, including 16 male athletes from West Chester University as well as 16 female athletes. All the attendees worked hard individually to receive the PSAC team crown.
The male track and field team came in fifth place overall at PSACs with 52 points. Their fifth place finish is the highest the Golden Rams have placed, as well as the most points received since 2007.
The male athletes that competed at PSACs were Eric Atkins, Josh Bacon, Craig Espenshade, Andrew Furst, Matt Houser, Leighon Johnson, Rob Johnson, Ryan Karli, Matt Langdale, Kyle Miller, Jacob Perry, Kyle Perry, Tyler Real, Kevin Selinsky, Shawn Smith and Tim Thiry.
This weekend, Johnson competed in the long jump, bringing home a conference title as well as hitting an NCAA automatic qualifying distance with a jump of 24 feet, ¬ inches. Johnson’s win in the long jump was the third time in the last five years that a West Chester athlete conquered that event.
“When they announced that I qualified for the NCAA Championships, it didn’t cross my mind until after the meet that I was going to New Mexico,” Johnson said. “I was just thinking about my teammates and all the support that they gave me.”
On Saturday, Johnson qualified for the finals in the 60m dash and the 200m by finishing in first place during each event. At the conclusion of PSAC’s, Johnson finished fourth in the 200m and the 60m, running 21.97 seconds and 7.01 seconds consecutively.
Real competed in the 60m hurdles, as well, placing first in his heat with a time of 8.36 seconds on Saturday. Overall, Real placed second at PSAC’s in the 60m hurdles bettering his time to 8.32 seconds.
Houser was a double-finals qualifier in the 200m and the 400m on Saturday. His time for the 400m was 48.74 seconds, which gave him an NCAA provisional qualifying time as well as making him the number two qualifier for the finals. After competing in the finals, Houser finished seventh in the 400m, right behind his teammate, Craig Espenshade, who placed sixth.
The 4x400m relay team finished third at PSAC’s, crossing the line at 3 minutes, 19.76 seconds. The team consisted of Espenshade, Houser, Kyle Perry and Thiry.
The men’s 4x800m team, consisting of Langdale, Jake Perry, Selinsky and Thiry, finished eighth overall. The team completed the race in 8:09.82, which is third all-time in West Chester University history. The men’s 4x800m relay team, as well as its distance medley relay team earned points for WCU.
As of Saturday, the West Chester men sat in sixth place with 21 points. The returning first and second place teams, Shippensburg and Lock Haven, were tied for first place with 39 points. Also, East Stroudsburg was in third place with 33 points. However, the Rams managed to come through strong in fifth place with 52 points, right behind, Lock Haven, East Stroudsburg, Shippensburg and Indiana.
After competing in PSAC’s, Johnson went on to compete in the NCAA Championship in Albuquerque, NM. Johnson received an All-American certificate for his eighth place finish at nationals. His jump was 23 feet, inches. However, the champion, Nafee Harris, from Indiana won the national title with a leap of 25 feet, 7 ¬ inches. All of the competitors’ jumps were close in proximity.
“I’m happy that I was able to place with my jump and I’m really proud to be a WCU candidate,” Johnson said. “New Mexico was a great experience. I would do it again in a heartbeat.”
The female athletes did a phenomenal job at PSAC’s as well. The Lady Rams that competed at PSACs included Katie Butler, Dana Dietrich, Brittany Foye, Mary Gawbill, Leigh Gumlock-Silfies, Brigid Harron, Danielle Howell, Miriam Hughes, Liz Jackson, Jess Joseph, Lindsay Nygren, Lyndsey Ratasiewicz, Nicole Reaves, Kamber Schrann, Samantha Smarkola and Melinda Wentz.
The Lady Rams finished ninth at PSAC’s with 19.75 points. Brittany Foye finished fourth in the triple jump. Foye’s jump was 37 feet, 10 _ inches, which hit an NCAA provisional mark and set a new WCU school record. Dietrich placed ninth in the event, with a jump of 36 feet 1 inches.
On Saturday, Nicole Reaves placed seventh in the long jump with a leap of 17 feet, 6 inches.
Wentz competed in the pentathlon, finishing in fourth. She scored 3,328 points for the team which is an NCAA provisional qualifying score. Wentz also qualified for finals in the 60m hurdles with a time of 9.31 seconds, placing her in eight. Her time is also the fourth-best all-time in West Chester University history. Overall, Wentz finished eighth in the 60m hurdles with a time of 9.50 seconds.
The 4x400m relay team finished seventh, completing the race in 4:03.43. The relay team consisted of Howell, Hughes, Smarkola and Wentz.
The 4x800m relay team, consisting of Gawbill, Gumlock-Silfies, Nyrgen and Ratasiewicz, placed seventh at the championships with a time of 9:53.14. The distance medley relay team also helped earn points for the team, completing the race with a time of 12:51.45.
Joseph competed in the 5000m, finishing in 19th with a time of 18:52.46. Her rank puts her in seventh place on the all-time list for WCU.
Ratasiewicz also finished ninth in the 1600m with a time of 5 minutes, 17.37 seconds.
As of Saturday, the Lady Rams sat ninth overall with 11 points. Defending champion Slippery Rock was in first place with 67.5 points, Shippensburg was in second place with 48.5 points and Indiana University of PA was in third place with 31 points. At the conclusion of PSAC’s WCU stayed in ninth place with 19.75 points, followed by champions, Shippensburg, along with Slippery Rock, East Stroudsburg, Indiana, Kutztown, California, Lock Haven, and Mansfield.
Jillian Morgan is a third-year student majoring in communication studies. She can be reached at JM652349@wcupa.edu.