The Slippery Rock University women’s indoor track and field team took fifth place at the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Championships that finished Sunday at the Mike Zafirovski Dome at Edinboro University.
Shippensburg won its fourth consecutive team title with 125.25 points. Edinboro sneaked by Kutztown on the final event of the day to claim second with 93 points.
Kutztown finished with 91.75 points for third, with East Stroudsburg finishing in fourth with 83 points, and Slippery Rock in fifth with 75.25 points.
Head coach John Papa was satisfied with his team’s performance and is really expecting them to excel in the upcoming outdoor track season.
Papa pointed to performances by Julia Cain, Ashley West and Stephanie Case as particularly outstanding.
“On paper, we were expected to finish fifth, so we competed as expected,” Papa said. “Obviously we wanted to finish higher up in the standings.”
The only Rock individual title came in the pole vault on the first day of competition, when junior Julia Cain broke the facility record with a clearance of 3.81 meters. Her performance also earned her All-Region honors and is one of two athletes to earn a trip to the national championship.
“The feeling is a little surreal,” Cain said, “It’s an amazing feeling to stand on top of that podium and finally see that all of your hard work has paid off.”
Also in the pole vault for SRU, freshman Kaitlyn Clark and senior Angela Schroeder tied for fifth, with a clearance of 3.42 meters. Clark joined Cain in earning All-Region honors.
The majority of the Rock’s points at the meet came in the field events on both days. The Rock placed three women in the top eight in the high jump and two in the triple jump to highlight the second day.
Freshman Ashley West tied for the top spot in the high jump with a clearance of 1.72 meters, but placed second based on total number of misses. Joining West in the event were freshman Paige Kassab and junior Jamie Rylands, who tied for sixth with a clearance of 1.57 meters.
West received All-Region honors as well as the opportunity to compete at nationals with Cain.
“I only lost by misses,” West said, “So I was a little disappointed, but I’m ready to do better at nationals.”
Freshman Mariah Burns, who also scored in the long jump on the first day, finished fourth in the triple jump with a jump of 11.41 meters. Joining her was freshman Bronte Soul claiming sixth place with a leap of 11.11 meters.
The final point earned in field events for Slippery Rock on Sunday came in the shot put, where freshman Breanna Northcott took eighth with a throw of 11.38 meters.
Sophomore Katelyn Wetzel ran an NCAA provisional qualifying time to place third in the 200-meter dash in 25.50 seconds.
Senior Stephanie Case picked up points in the 3,000-meter run. She placed third in 10:06.82 after also placing second in the 5,000-meter run on the first day. Case received All-Region honors in both the 3,000 and 5,000 meter runs.
Papa believes that Cain and West have a tough road ahead of them at nationals, but have a good chance to come out as All-Americans.
The PSAC meet was the final competition for most of The Rock’s indoor team, who will turn their focus to the outdoor season opener March 15-16 at Coastal Carolina. The national meet is scheduled for March 8-9 in Birmingham, Ala.