The Rams competed in the WCU Invitational at John A. Farrell Stadium on Friday, April 9 and Saturday, April 10. The Golden Rams captured many wins and have moved a couple steps closer to competing in the PSAC Championships in May.”I feel that the outdoor season is going well for both men’s and women’s teams,” junior Dana Dietrich, who finished first in the triple jump Friday, said. “There have been great individual performances so far, and I expect several athletes to improve and peak closer to PSACS. On the women’s side the hurdles and jumps are extremely strong this year, and I see a lot of points coming from those events at PSAC’s. For me personally, I am hoping to continue to improve each week with triple and long jump, and to improve my placing at PSAC in the triple jump.”
Also on Friday, Kyle Miller took first place in the pole vault competition, which helped to highlight the men’s track and field team that day. Miller cleared 14 feet, 1 ¬ inches. Right behind Miller, Zack Sharrah finished fourth, clearing 12-1 .
Ed Brittingham finished third in the men’s 5000m, completing the race in 16:15.28. Sean Sebeck finished behind Brittingham in the 5000m in fifth place with a time of 16:31.14.
Josh Bacon placed third in the triple jump leaping 42-8 ¬. Rob Johnson finished fourth in the men’s hammer throw with a toss of 128-4.
Dietrich’s leap that put her in first place was 34 feet, 11 inches. Following close to Dietrich, Hughes finished second with a distance of 34-5 ¬, Mackenzie Lauro finished third (33-09 ¬), Reaves placed fourth (33-01/2) and Aimee Sitch came in fifth (32-9 _).
The female jumpers are racking up a lot of points for the Golden Rams. Dietrich has high expectations for herself and the rest of the jumpers for the remainder of the season.
“A specific goal I have set is to break 37 feet in triple jump, and for next indoor season to qualify for Nationals,” Dietrich said. “The women’s team is also looking for another national qualifier from Brittany Foye who jumped over 37 feet in indoors and Katie Butler in high jump. Also, a lot of promise is shown in freshmen jumpers Miriam Hughes and Nicole Reaves.”
Melinda Wentz came in first place after day one of the women’s heptathlon. On Friday, Wentz had 2,512 points for the team after four events.
On Saturday, the men’s and women’s track and field team continued to impress their opponents, as well as make a positive name for themselves as individuals and as a team.
On day two, the men’s team tallied five event winners at the WCU Invitational. Of the winners, Craig Espenshade won the 800m with a time of 1:56.58. Espenshade’s time helped him to qualify for next month’s PSAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
Jacob Perry finished close behind Espenshade with a time of 1:58.88, which put him in third place. Matt Houser was a runner-up in the 400m, completing the race in 49.85 seconds.
Tyler Real took the gold in the 400m hurdles with a time of 55.71. Real finished second in the 110m hurdles with a time of 15.27 seconds. Eric Atkins finished fifth in 16.37 seconds and Dan Smith finished seventh in 16.67 seconds. Mike Malejko came in fourth place in the 3000m steeplechase with a time of 10:22.07.
Andrew Furst competed in the high jump competition, clearing 5-10 _ which put him in fourth place. Leighon Johnson leapt 22-10 in the long jump. Shawn Smith finished right behind Johnson with a distance of 22-1. Also, Josh Bacon finished third in the triple jump with a leap of 42-8 ¬.
Smith also contributed to the 4x100m relay team, along with teammates Johnson, Bacon and Houser. The four guys completed the race in 42.52 seconds, which offered them a first place spot.
The 4x400m relay team came in first as well, completing the race in 3:19.70. The relay team consists of Johnson, Kyle Perry, Houser and Espenshade.
The women’s team recorded four first-place finishes on the second day of the WCU Invitational.
Katie Butler won the 110m hurdles, completing the race in 15.82 seconds. Brigid Gallagher came in second, right behind Butler, with a time of 16.67 seconds.
Butler won the high jump, as well, clearing 5-2 . Brigid Harron came in second place (5-0 ) and Andrea Lengal finished in fourth place (4-6 _).
Nicole Reaves and Miriam Hughes tied for second place in the long jump both leaping 16-1. Dietrich came in sixth place with a distance of 15-10 .
Jess Joseph won the 3000m with a time of 10:57.49. Lindsay Nygren won the 400m hurdles, finishing the race in 1:07.36. Danielle Howell finished in second place, behind Joseph (1:08.08), Brigid Gallagher came in third place (1:08.13) and Melinda Wentz finished in fourth place (1:09.88).
However, Wentz finished first in the women’s heptathlon with an impressive 4,039 points. Lyndsey Ratasiewicz placed third in the 800m with a time of 2:23.27. Mary Gawbill finished fourth, close behind Ratasiewicz with 2:24.60. Kim McManus completed the 800m in 2:28.29, putting her in fifth place, and Leigh Gumlock-Silfies finished in seventh (2:29.95).
The women’s 4x400m relay team crossed the finish line in 4:07.19, which helped them earn second place. The 4x400m team consists of Gallagher, Howell, Nygren and Gawbill.
The PSAC Championships are less than a month away. The Golden Rams will continue to prepare for the event by practicing hard and doing well in there upcoming meets.
“Right now we are still training hard through a couple meets by lifting and running hard,” Dietrich said. “We are starting to focus a lot more on technique, and will soon start tapering our training down. Overall, I think that the WCU track and field team will have an excellent showing at the 2010 PSAC championships this year.”
For the rest of April, some of the Golden Rams will compete at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia on April 22, 23 and 24. The remaining Golden Rams will be competing at their last home meet before PSAC’s.
The Rams will compete at Lock Haven on May 1, as well as competing at Penn State on May 8. The Rams battled to win points for their team at the Widener meet this past Friday and Saturday. The Rams hope to continue their success the rest of the season, in hopes to reach their goals at the PSAC Championships May 13-15.
Jillian Morgan is a third-year student majoring in communication studies. She can be reached at JM652349@wcupa.edu.