The Slippery Rock University men’s indoor track and field team took third place at the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference championships this past weekend.
The two-day event took place at Edinboro University in the Mike Zafirovski Dome.
Shippensburg University won the event for the third year in a row, earning 197.50 points. Slippery Rock and East Stroudsburg University battled until the end, with East Stroudsburg edging out the Rock for second place with 119.50 points. SRU ended the meet with 111 points and a third place finish.
Head coach John Papa felt the team had several solid performances, but Shippensburg and East Stroudsburg simply had more.
“To compete and potentially beat Shippensburg and East Stroudsburg, we are going to need to win more events and have more athletes finish near the top,” Papa said.
Slippery Rock claimed four individual PSAC titles.
Senior Cameron Daugherty took the top spot in the pole vault with a clearance of 5.07 meters.
Finishing his final indoor season with a championship was exactly how Daugherty wanted to end his career at Slippery Rock.
“Even though I didn’t hit a new best, I couldn’t be happier with how PSACs turned out,” Daugherty said.
Senior Dan Hedglin defended his title in the 60-meter hurdles and posted a career-best time of 8.27 seconds. Senior Ethan Geisler joined him on the podium in second with a time of 8.45 seconds, and junior Jonathan Boyd finished fourth at 8.47 seconds.
Winning his first PSAC title was senior DJ Chisom in the 60-meter dash with a time of 6.91 seconds.
Chisom had a third-place finish in the 200-meter dash with a time of 22.10 seconds.
Sophomore Hunter Williams took seventh in the event with a time of 22.61 seconds.
Williams also took seventh in the 400-meter dash with a time of 49.90 seconds.
Williams, Geisler, senior Kevin Jewel, and junior Trevor Foley represented Slippery Rock in the 4×400-meter relay, posting a time of 3:19.24 to take third place.
The final title for SRU came from junior Derick Fiedler in the heptathlon. Fiedler went into the last event of the heptathlon in second place by 20 points.
Fiedler knew that he had to beat the athlete ahead of him by at least three seconds if he wanted to win.
“My only thought was that I wanted this more, and the pain of losing would hurt more than giving it everything I had,” Fiedler said.
He finished the 1,000-meter with a time of 2:45.16. The event-win gave Fiedler 4,902 points and pushed him to the top spot.
“Winning made me finally realize that all the hard work I put in had finally paid off,” Fiedler said. “I never imagined being in this position in my life. I can do anything I set my mind to.”
Junior Hans Lubich placed third in the heptathlon with 4,603 points and senior Andrew Greenslade took fifth with 4,355 points.
Junior Victor Santoyo earned points for Slippery Rock in the high jump and the triple jump. Santoyo took sixth in the high jump with a clearance of 1.95 meters and eighth in the triple jump at 13.45 meters.
Slippery Rock’s final points came from three athletes in the shot put.
Sophomore Trevor Miller and senior Kyle Toms both met NCAA qualifying marks in the event. Miller took fourth with a toss of 15.78 meters and Toms took sixth with a throw of 15.63 meters. Freshman David Reinhardt came in eighth at 14.92 meters.
The indoor season is over for the indoor team, but Daugherty will finish out his career at the Division II National Championships in Birmingham, Ala. March 8-9. Daugherty will be joined by freshman Ashley West and junior Julia Cain from the women’s indoor team.
Last year, Daugherty placed ninth at the indoor nationals with a clearance of 4.70 meters. He turned around and took first at the outdoor nationals, clearing 5.15 meters. Admitting that he choked at the indoor meet, Daugherty is determined to prove himself this year.
“There’s going to be a lot of pressure, especially after winning last year’s outdoor meet,” Daugherty said. “We’ve been focusing a few key things that will make me more successful overall, if we can continue to focus on those things I’ll be able to jump high. That’s all I can hope for.”
The rest of the team has shifted their focus onto the outdoor season and the opening meet on March 15-16 at Coastal Carolina.
Papa expects the outdoor season to produce better results and is confident the team will be successful.
“We gear our training towards the outdoor season,” Papa said, “so the expectations will be higher.”