The Slippery Rock University men’s indoor track and field team recorded 30 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference qualifying performances on Saturday at the Kent State Tune-Up, their final meet before the championship.
Over 30 schools attended the event, both Division I and Division II, most using it as a final preparation for championships. Many events had over 50 competitors.
Head coach John Papa was generally pleased with the team’s results because the added qualifiers provide the opportunity to earn more points at the championship.
“We had a few athletes that are not at their best at this point,” Papa said. “Our strength is that we typically save our best performances of the season for this championship.”
While the team’s focus is on the PSAC championship, the Rock also had two athletes, sophomore Hunter Williams and senior Cameron Daugherty, meet NCAA provisional standards at the Tune-Up.
Williams placed 13th in the 400-meter dash with a time of 48.88 seconds.
SRU also had three athletes meet PSAC standards in the event, sophomore Monte Chapman in 26th at 50.24, junior Trevor Foley in 27th at 50.30 seconds and sophomore Nick Shrift in 32nd at 50.92 seconds.
Senior Ethan Geisler said that the qualifications highlight the depth and talent of the team.
“We just need to focus and perform at our best,” Geisler said. “We want to compete at the highest level, so as a team we expect to be champions. Adding 30 PSAC qualifiers will definitely help.”
Daugherty ended his winning streak and fell to second-place in the pole vault with a clearance of 4.85 meters, tying with Ashland University’s Eric Klucar. Kent State University’s Jesse Oxley took the win in the event with a 5.00m clearance.
Joining Daugherty in the pole-vault and reaching qualifying standards were graduate student Ryan Camody and freshman Michael Shiverdecker. Camody and Shiverdecker tied for sixth-place with clearances of 4.55 meters.
In the 800-meter run, senior Kevin Jewel took fifth in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:54.20 and sophomore Tyler Melius placed 12th at 1:57.21.
Senior DJ Chisom met PSAC qualifying marks in both the 60-meter and 200-meter dashes. Chisom ran a 7.09 in the 60m (15th) and a 22.35 in the 200m (12th).
Slippery Rock had three athletes meet qualifying standards in the 60-meter hurdles. Senior Dan Hedglin led the group in 10th at 8.44 seconds, junior Jonathan Boyd took 17th at 8.62 seconds and senior Ethan Geisler placed 20th at 8.72 seconds.
Junior Victor Santoyo cleared 1.97 meters in the high jump for a third-place finish. Santoyo also took seventh in the triple jump with a mark of 13.28 meters.
The shot put produced four PSAC qualifications for the Rock.
Sophomore Trevor Miller threw for 15.47 meters (12th), senior Kyle Toms for 15.38 (13th), freshman David Reinhardt for 14.02 meters (19th) and senior Andrew Greenslade for 13.08 meters (26th).
Reinhardt felt the team had a solid performance at Kent State and will be able to be competitive at the upcoming championship.
“I feel the team is ready,” Reinhardt said. “Our training has led up to this meet and I feel the team is ready to stand up to the challenge.”
SRU’s athletes in the weight throw also saw PSAC success, adding the final six PSAC qualifying marks.
Senior Joseph Kelly and sophomore Nick Turk both threw for 15.16 meters (18th). Reinhardt threw for 14.48 meters (27th), Miller for 14.27 meters (28th), senior Devin Skinner for 13.98 meters (33rd) and sophomore Jerrod Galloway for 13.35 meters (36th).
With the Tune-Up over, the team faces their biggest challenge of the season, the PSAC Championships this weekend at Edinboro University.
Papa is optimistic about the team’s chances heading into the weekend.
“On paper, we’re not picked to win the meet,” Papa admitted. “However, we have great team chemistry and if our men have an outstanding meet, things could fall into place.”
Chisom has some goals in mind for this weekend.
“I wants to squeeze back into the Top-16 in the country to compete at the national level in the 60-meter dash,” Chisom said. “I also want to help bring home a first place trophy for Rock Nation. We have what it takes, we just have to go out and make it happen.”