The Slippery Rock University women’s outdoor track team carried their success from the indoor season and had a strong start to the new season this past weekend at the Coastal Carolina University Invite in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
The Rock women combined to hit two NCAA provisional qualifying marks and eight Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) qualifying marks in the season’s opening meet.
The top performances for the Green and White came in events that are not done in indoor competition (javelin and the hammer throw) from junior Sam Taylor and senior Brittany Christiansen. Both Taylor and Christian hit NCAA provisional marks in their events. Taylor, competing in the javelin, came in second place with a 45.41 meter throw and was named the SRU female athlete of the week. Christiansen competed in the hammer throw event and came in third place with a throw of 50.8 meters.
SRU head coach John Papa was pleased to see strong performances from his athletes in the new outdoor environment and events.
“I think we made a good transition into the outdoor season, and we were lucky to have good weather to compete in for the most part,” Papa said. “it was good to see strong individual performances from a couple of our ladies in some of our weaker outdoor events we competed in.”
Also in the throwing events, freshman Anna Frengel hit a PSAC qualifying mark in the shot put where she came in 15th place with an 11.39 meter throw.
The Rock’s distance runners had a strong showing, placing athletes in the top five of three different events.
In the 3,000 meter steeple chase sophomore Kaylee Haberkam came in second place with a time of 11:46.00.
Freshman Tessa Dombi came in fourth place in the 5,000 meter run with a time of 18:40.71. Senior Janine Powis hit a PSAC qualifying mark in the 800 meter run by coming in third place with a time of 2:19.11.
Two different 4×400 meter relay teams found success for SRU, finishing in fifth and seventh place.
The team of juniors Lexie Nowakowski and Jasmine Bailey, freshman Katie Teed and sophomore Lauren Harvey finished in 4:03.46 to come in fifth place.
Freshmen Josette Dawson and Aerial Dukes, sophomore Erica Hans and junior Casaundra Swartzbaugh formed the relay team that finished in seventh place with a time of 4:07.09.
While the weather was clear for most of the meet there was heavy rain during the 4×100 meter relay that gave SRU some problems.
The rain caused a baton drop that cost Slippery Rock a place in the standings as the team recorded a did-not-finish (DNF) in the event. Papa thinks that this was a minor problem and that the 4×100 team can have great success.
“Without the baton drop I think we would’ve been one of the top relay teams there, and if we can limit mistakes going forward, we can have one of the top teams in the conference,” Papa said.
Individually Bailey and Swartzbaugh also had success. Bailey and fellow junior Emily Moroco competed in the 100 and 200 meters dashes.
In the 100 meter dash Bailey finished in 10th place with a time of 12.3 and Moroco ended the day in 15th place with a time of 12.44.
In the 200 meter-dash both women hit PSAC qualifying marks.
Bailey came in eight place with a time of 25.45 and Moroco came in 16th place with a time of 26.2.
Swartzbaugh found success in the hurdle events where the Rock hit four PSAC qualifying marks as a team.
Swartzbaugh finished tenth in the 400 meter hurdles with a time of 1:05.77.
Also competing in the 400 meter hurdles were Teed who finished in 12th place (1:06.55) and sophomore Kennedy Evan who finished in 13th place (1:07.48). All three hurdlers hit the PSAC qualifying mark.
The final PSAC qualifying mark was hit by freshman Sophie Mazza in the 100 meter hurdles, where she finished in 18th place with a time of 15.62.
“We have a long way to go in a small amount of time, but we know what our goals are and we know how to achieve them.”
SRU will return to action on March 21 at the California Invitational in California, Pennsylvania.