The Slippery Rock men’s outdoor track and field team will send 43 athletes, including five top seeds, to Millersville for the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Championship after concluding their regular season Friday at the SRU Last Chance meet.
Three-time PSAC champion senior Cameron Daugherty cleared 5.19 meters at the Last Chance meet, breaking the 10-year school record.
“It’s a great feeling, especially after trying to get it for the past few years,” Daugherty said. “It’s been a long, hard road and I couldn’t wish for a better senior year.”
Nick Wilpula previously held the record with a clearance of 5.18 meters, set in 2003.
Daugherty’s clearance is the best among PSAC athletes this season, fourth among all Division II athletes, and was a quarter of an inch away from the all-time PSAC record.
Even with the all-time record within reach, Daugherty said he is just focused on helping the team.
“For now the goal is just to bring home another victory,” Daugherty said. “I’ll be at PSACs for my team, maybe at nationals I’ll start worrying about doing something crazy.”
Head coach John Papa feels that Daugherty sets the standard for the Rock vaulters and is in a good position heading into the championship.
“Cam really enjoys pole vaulting,” Papa said. “He’s a great competitor and his confidence has increased this season. He feels he can vault even higher and he’ll be tough to beat at PSACs and nationals.”
Senior Kevin Jewel, a two-time PSAC champion, is favored to win the 800-meter run. Jewel, who broke the school record for the second time at the Ashland Invitational, took third at the Last Chance meet in the 400-meter dash with a time of 50.54 seconds.
Jewel, like Daugherty, sits at fourth in the nation in his event.
Slippery Rock also received top seeds in the 200-meter dash, 100-meter dash, and 110-meter hurdles.
Sophomore Hunter Williams takes the top seed in the 200-meter dash, having recorded a time of 21.40 seconds.
Weather conditions last week prevented the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash, and the short hurdle times from being counted towards records and national qualifying standards.
“The lap events were a bit challenging with the wind that we had,” Papa said. “No one missed out for the PSAC due to the wind. Wind-aided marks count for PSAC qualification, just not for school records or national qualifying marks.”
Papa explained that sophomore Katelyn Wetzel, on the women’s outdoor track and field team, missed out on a school record and national provisional mark because of the wind.
Senior DJ Chisom enters as the top seed in the 100-meter dash with a winning time of 10.49 seconds. Chisom’s time was the best in the PSAC this season and 19th-best in the nation.
The Green and White’s final athlete holding a top seed is junior Jonathan Boyd in the 110-meter hurdles. Boyd recorded a time of 14.46 seconds last Friday to earn the top seed.
Senior Ethan Geisler hit NCAA provisional marks and took the win in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 53.05 seconds. Geisler is seeded fourth in both the 110-meter and 400-meter hurdles heading into PSACs. Junior Trevor Foley took second in the event with a time of 53.75 seconds and is seeded right below Geisler.
Junior Morgan Elliott took the win in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:57.18.
SRU took wins in the discus, hammer throw and shot put.
Freshman David Reinhardt won the discus with a throw of 45.80 meters (seeded seventh), senior Joseph Kelly won the hammer throw at 49.67 meters (seeded sixth) and senior Kyle Toms won the shot put at 15.91 meters (seeded second).
Reinhardt is also seeded tenth in the shot put, eighth in the hammer throw and fourth in the javelin. Toms is seeded 13th in the discus and 15th in the hammer throw.
Daugherty feels the team’s performances this season have been a result of their chemistry and work ethic.
“The chemistry we have as a unit makes it so much easier to give your all for your teammates,” Daugherty said.
Junior Victor Santoyo is the only Slippery Rock athlete to be seeded in the high jump (seventh), long jump (seventh), and triple jump (sixth).
Senior Andrew Greenslade will represent SRU in the decathlon as the second seed with 6,103 points.
In the 3,000-meter steeplechase, senior Eric Geddis is seeded sixth with a time of 9:28.21.
Slippery Rock’s 4×100-meter relay team of Williams, Chisom, senior Mason McLaughlin and junior Hans Lubich take the second seed at 41.49 seconds.
The 4×400-meter relay team of McLaughlin, Foley, Williams, and sophomore Monte Chapman seeded fourth. The 4×800-meter relay team of Elliott, Jewel, sophomore Tyler Melius, and freshman Dalton Zebrak is seeded sixth.
Papa is confident in his team’s abilities heading into the championship and feels they are peaking at the right time.
“We’re going there with the intent to win,” Papa said. “We’re not favored at this point, but we are peaking at the right time and are all ready to perform well.”
Four distance runners traveled to Hillsdale, Michigan for the Gina Relays on April 26.
Geddis took 13th in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 9:28.21.
The remaining SRU athletes met standards in the 10,000-meter run. Junior Travis Arrigoni recorded a time of 32:27.94, freshman Steven Green at 32:46.46, and sophomore Chris Grooms at 32:48.75.
The PSAC Championships will be held from May 9-11 at Millersville University.