The Slippery Rock University men’s indoor track and field team started their season strong at the Youngstown State University (YSU) Icebreaker Invitational last Friday evening.
Athletes also competed on Saturday at the Kent State Golden Flash Gala. The men’s team tied Duquesne University for first place, followed by teams from Point Park, Youngstown, Grove City, West Minster and Indiana at YSU.
The team had a total of 21 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) qualifying performances, as well as three National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) provisional qualifying marks.
“We started out on a good foot for the beginning of the season,” SRU head coach John Papa said. “If we want to win the PSAC this season, we have to work hard. The competition is fierce this year.”
SRU seniors Hunter Williams and Monte Chapman, sophomore Jacob VanHouten and freshman James Chandler all met PSAC standards in the 400 meter dash. Those four men also ran in the 4.400 meter relay, finishing first out of 12 teams with a time of 3:20.97. VanHouten added another PSAC performance to his day in the 60 meter hurdles, finishing in 8.75 seconds. Chapman qualified in the 60 meter dash in a time of 7.22 seconds, joining sophomores Erik Record and Brandon Vanderbrook with times of 7.03 and 7.12 seconds. Record also met the PSAC qualifying standard in the 200 meter dash with a time of 22.65 seconds.
The men’s jumps squad finished the meet with three PSAC qualifiers and one NCAA provisional performance. Freshman Shawn Lacue met the PSAC qualifying distance in the high jump clearing 1.90 meters, finishing sixth overall. Freshman Caleb Smithco had a successful first collegiate track performance on Friday, qualifying for the long jump with a jump of 6.50 meters, as well as qualifying for PSAC’s and meeting the provisional mark in the triple jump with a first place distance of 14.76 meters. On top of this, Smithco also broke the school indoor triple jump record, set by former Rock runner and current assistant coach Terrece Draper. A few hiccups during the long jump event with flights and the amount of warm up shook up a few of the athletes, but Smithco said that he was able to still do his best.
“I’m hoping to go to nationals this year and at least get the experience of it, so I know what to expect in years to come,” Smithco said. “Breaking my coach’s record in the triple jump was also a fun moment to share with him.”
The men’s pole vault squad had a total of three PSAC qualifiers as well as one NCAA provisional mark. On top of winning the pole vault Friday night, sophomore Jordan Pacheco met the PSAC qualifying standard as well as the NCAA provisional standard, clearing 4.80 meters. Freshman Andrew Koksal and junior Kieffer Reed both joined Pacheco in meeting PSAC heights of 4.40 and 4.25 meters finishing in second and fifth places. The men’s throws had a successful first day of their season, with six qualifying distances and one provisional distance. Seniors Trevor Miller and Jerrod Galloway were joined by junior David Reinhardt in the shot put for three qualifiers in the event. Miller placed second with a throw of 16.05 meters, meeting the PSAC and NCAA provisional standards. Miller was followed by Galloway and Reinhardt in fifth and sixth places with throws of 14.77 meters and 14.28 meters. Miller and Reinhardt also qualified in the weight throw, with distances of 16.15 and 15.75 meters. Junior Nick Garuccio joined the two men in qualifying with a throw of 15.33 meters.
Two multi athletes, who competed at Kent State, also had a successful day with freshman Noah Bostick placing seventh overall, with a score of 4,711, reaching the NCAA provisional qualifying mark. Junior Nate Zigler finished ninth with 4,281 points.
“I think we are on the right track to doing well in the PSAC,” Smithco said. “I’m not too familiar with distance and sprinting events in track, but watching them Friday, it all seemed very well put together and I’m sure we will get better as we move along in the season.”
Papa said he is excited about how the men competed this past weekend, and that he is excited for all the men this season.
The team will continue to train over winter break and will return to Slippery Rock early for the Edinboro Invitational on Jan. 17.