The Slippery Rock women’s outdoor track and field team found the silver lining in a dreary day, recording 21 PSAC qualifications, four NCAA provisional marks and breaking a school record at the Dave Labor Invitational last Friday night.
“Since we practice in similar conditions, we’re accustomed to the rain, cold and wind,” head coach John Papa said. “Since we don’t have that many opportunities to compete and the weather could be just as bad at the next track meet, our athletes do their best to take advantage of every opportunity.”
Junior Brittany Christiansen, who set the school record for the weight throw during the indoor season, set the record in the hammer throw with a toss of 51.07 meters.
The events are similar but differ based on the object being thrown. The indoor weight is roughly 20 pounds and has a short handle. The hammer throw weights 8.8 pounds and is on a long wire.
“Brittany is an outstanding leader for us,” Papa said. “She continues to improve as a thrower and sets a good example for the other throwers.”
The record of 49.39 meters was previously set by Erica Timmons in 1997. Christiansen’s throw earned her the 15th-best throw in all of Division II and first place at the meet.
Christiansen’s next goal is to get to nationals.
“(Nationals) is something I’ve been striving for all along,” Christiansen said. “Getting the school record is just another step in the right direction. I’ve been working hard at practice with my coach, tweaking little mistakes and watching a lot of film.”
SRU swept the standings in the pole vault. Senior Julia Cain won the event with a NCAA provisional clearance of 3.86 meters. Cain was followed by sophomore Kaitlyn Clark, who also hit NCAA marks, in second with a clearance of 3.66 meters. Clark’s clearance is the 13th best in Division II. In third place with a clearance of
3.20 meters was freshman Megan Matrisciano.
“Even with the poor weather conditions, we had several outstanding performances,” Papa said. “It’s a tribute to the athletes and coaches for not allowing poor conditions to become an excuse to perform poorly.”
The Rock’s fourth NCAA mark came from sophomore Sam Taylor in the javelin throw. Taylor threw 40.16 meters, earning second place. Taylor has already secured an automatic NCAA mark with a previous throw of 46.68 meters, the fourth best in Division II.
Freshman Ava Bonetti qualified for PSACs in both the discus and shot put. She finished second in the discus with a throw of 37.82 meters and second in the shot put at 12.19 meters. Freshman Caitlin Whalen also qualified in the shot put, finishing fourth with a throw of 11.83 meters.
Sophomore Ashley West took third in the high jump with a clearance of 1.63 meters.
The Green and White met several PSAC marks on the track.
“At this point in practice, most of the conditioning part of the work is done,” Papa said. “It’s time to refine technique in the vents and time to focus on the variables that will make a difference when it’s time to compete at the PSAC Championships.”
In the 100-meter dash, sophomore Jasmine Bailey finished second with a time of 12.30 seconds, sophomore Emily Moroco came in fourth at 12.62 seconds and freshman Julie Galante placed fifth at 12.79 seconds.
Bailey also finished second in the 200-meter dash with a time of 25.12 seconds. Junior Katelyn Wetzel came in third at 25.25 seconds. Moroco placed fourth at 25.66 seconds.
Junior Angelica Bagwell took third in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:21.65. Sophomore Creanna Martin placed fourth in 2:21.85.
The team is focused on improving their skills and aiming at another PSAC Championship, Christiansen said.
“I’m so proud of everything that I’ve seen being accomplished,” Christiansen said. “Another PSAC Championship is definitely on everyone’s mind and I think it’s possible to bring another trophy home. The team, as a whole, has come so far.”
Slippery Rock will split their athletes up this weekend and send distance runners to Bucknell University for a two-day meet and other athletes to George Mason University on Saturday.