Competing in the SPIRE Midwest Open at SPIRE Institute this past weekend, the Slippery Rock University women’s indoor track team recorded 24 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) qualifying marks, one NCAA qualifying mark and 14 top 10 finishes.
The Rock’s performance was highlighted by the NCAA qualifying mark achieved by standout junior Kaitlyn Clark. Participating in the pole vault, Clark came in third place by matching her season best 3.65 meter clearance. Clark’s clearance is currently the best mark in the PSAC and is the 18th best clearance in all of Division II so far this season. Freshman Courtney McQuaide earned a PSAC qualifying mark and came in sixth place with her 3.50 meter clear.
In the high jump sophomore Sabrina Anderson and juniors Ashley West and Paige Kassab all cleared the PSAC standard by jumping 1.6 meters. Anderson came in third place, but West and Kassab cam in sixth and eighth respectively due to missed attempts. Along with fellow junior Sam Taylor, West and Kassab also reached the PSAC standard in the triple jump. Taylor came in fourth place with a 10.98 meter jump, West finished in seventh with a 10.71 meter jump, and Kassab landed in tenth with her 10.34 meter jump.
On the track, the 4×400 meter relay team impressed for the second week in a row. The team of juniors Jasmine Bailey, Cassandra Swartzbaugh, Lexie Nowakowski and sophomore Lauren Harvey ran the relay race in 4:00.67, their best time of the season. They finished in fourth place. Individually, Bailey and fellow junior Emily Moroco earned PSAC qualifying times in both the 60 and 200 meter dashes. In the 60 meter dash, Bailey ran a time of 7.83 second, good for fifth place. Moroco finished in eight seconds, which earned her 11 place. In the 200 meter dash, Bailey came in second place and was the first collegiate finisher in an event that had over 100 people competing. Bailey’s time was 25.16 seconds, which is the best time by any PSAC runner this season. Moroco finished in 15 place with a time of 26.07 seconds.
Bailey’s performances in the 4×400 meter relay, the 60 meter dash, and the 200 meter dash earned her the honor of being named the SRU athlete of the week. SRU head coach John Papa spoke highly of Bailey and her determination on and off the track.
“Jas is on a mission to do extremely well this year, and she’s highly motivated to get better each and every week,” Papa said. “She was the conference champ of the 200 meter last year in outdoor, so, she’s got a target on her back this year and she’s not afraid of that.”
Nowakowski and Swartzbaugh also had success individually, as they both reached the PSAC standard in the 400 meter dash. Nowakowski came in fourth place with a 58.57 run and Swartzbaugh finished in 12 place with a 1:00.49 minute run.
Three more Green and White runners reached the PSAC standard in the 60 meter hurdles. Sophomores Kennedy Evans and Anderson, along with junior Summer Weinheimer earned PSAC qualifying marks. Evans was in 11 place with a 9.255 second time, Anderson came in 17th with a 9.44 second time and Weinheimer finished in 20 place in 9.54 seconds.
The final PSAC mark on the track was earned by freshman Tessa Dombi in the 5,000 meter run. Dombi finished the run in 18:45.3, which was good for 11th.
“The newest girl to qualify for conference was freshman Tessa Dombi in the 5,000,” Papa said. “It’s a great personal accomplishment for her.”
The last six PSAC marks were reached in the throwing events, two in the weight throw and four in the shot put. In the weight throw, junior Breana Northcott came in third place with a 16.19 meter throw and senior Brittany Christiansen came in fifth place with a 15.53 meter throw. Christiansen lead the way in the shot put by coming in 11 place with her 11.69 meter throw. Behind her was junior Anna Frengel, who came in 14th with an 11.64 meter throw. Northcott finished in 19 place with an 11.25 meter throw and Sophomore Caitlin Whalen came in 20th with an 11.24 meter throw.
Papa is happy with what he’s seeing from his athletes and likes where the team is heading as a whole.
“I am pleased with the progress that a lot of our girls are making as we continue on towards the conference championships,” Papa said. “We’re more concerned with training than actual competition at this point with some of the girls. The goal will always be the conference championships on Feb. 28 and March 1 at Edinboro.”
The Rock will travel to Youngstown for the YSU National Invite on Friday and Saturday.