The Slippery Rock men’s indoor track team enjoyed plenty of success at the Youngstown State National Invitational on Friday and Saturday. The Rock men won four events, made three NCAA provisional qualifying marks and 28 PSAC qualifying marks. The team also had 11 top-five placements over the weekend.
Action started Friday afternoon with eight athletes participating in four events. Sophomore Noah Bostick was the headliner, sitting in second place after the first four events of the heptathlon. Along the way, Bostick hit three PSAC qualifying marks in the 60-meter dash (7.24 seconds), long jump (6.64 meters) and high jump (1.88 meters). On Saturday, Bostick closed the gap by hitting two more PSAC qualifying marks in the 60-meter hurdles (8.5 seconds) and the pole vault (4.25 meters). Bostick took home a win in the event while simultaneously hitting the NCAA provisional mark with 5,020 points, the best in the PSAC this year and 1 point shy of an SRU record.
SRU head coach John Papa thinks that Bostick still has yet to reach his full potential.
“Noah is a great athlete, he had a lot of injury issues last year so he couldn’t train as efficiently as he would have liked to,” Papa said. “He is still scraping the surface. Don’t be surprised if he blows the school record away next time out. Now he’s healthy and confident, some really good things are going to happen.”
Senior Steve Green was the only runner on Friday for The Rock, and he placed 19th in the 5,000-meter run, with a time of 15:34.57, good for hitting the PSAC qualifying time.
A trio of long jumpers all placed in the top eight while also hitting the PSAC qualifier. Sophomore Caleb Smithco led the group by placing 5th with a 6.75-meter jump. Senior Adam Leeper finished 7th with a 6.66-meter jump, and freshman Jesse Romanchak followed with a 6.58-meter jump, placing eighth.
The Rock rounded out Friday with three top-15 finishers in the weight toss. Once again, all three athletes hit the PSAC qualifying marks, led by junior JJ Ollio who finished eighth with a 15.89-meter throw. Graduate student Nick Garuccio and freshman Brendon Stamm followed with 12th and 14th place finishes, throwing for 14.56 and 14.39 meters respectively.
Saturday was a bigger day of competition, featuring 16 student-athletes across 11 events.
The 4×400 meter relay team was one of the highlights of the day. Junior Jacob VanHouten, Smithco, graduate student Monte Chapman and sophomore James Chandler had a fantastic performance, winning the event and missing the SRU record by less than one second. Their time of 3:16.87 hit the NCAA qualifying mark, and simultaneously was the best time in the PSAC this year, and 14th nationwide.
Papa had nothing but praise to give to the winning relay team.
“When you’re out there doing the best you can for your teammates, it’s something we call heart. We saw a lot of heart out there,” Papa said. “The guys won easily, it wasn’t like it came down to the wire. When they get in the situation at our conference championships they are going to be pushed so hopefully they can run with the same kind of intensity there.”
Leeper posted the third NCAA qualifying mark of the day, winning the triple jump with a 14.41-meter jump.
Senior Ryan Thompson rounded out the event winners for SRU Saturday, missing the NCAA provisional time by 0.24 seconds for the 800-meter run. Junior Tyler Palenchak also ran the event, finishing 5th with a time of 1:55.54. Both runners met PSAC qualifiers.
Junior Brandon Vanderbrook and Champan both hit PSAC qualifying times in two events, the 60-meter dash ( third and 13th place) and the 200-meter dash (15th and 7th respectively).
Three Rock runners met the PSAC qualifier for the 400-meter dash. Chandler and VanHouten finished fourth and fifth while senior Andrew Schroder rounded out the Rock runners placing 13th.
Freshman dual-athlete (football) Kyle Hall and senior Michael Hartos both met PSAC provisions in the 60-meter Hurdles, finishing 3rd and 11th.
Slippery Rock finished out the day with 4 more PSAC qualifiers in three different events. Sophomore Jeremy Parsons placed 13th in the 3000-meter run, senior Keiffer Reed finished fifth in the pole vault. Ollio and senior Jerrod Galloway placed seventh and 10th in the shot put.
With four event wins, The Rock had an overall great showing at the YSU invitational. While SRU did stand out in events like the 4x400m relay and the heptathlon, the team performed well all across the board with plenty of top-5 and top-10 finishes.
The Slippery Rock men’s track team has a long break until its next event on February 20th at the Kent State Tune Up.
“We’re happy to have this weekend off so we can rest,” Papa said. “We have our PSAC (championship) the week after so Kent is just a tune-up for us. We just want to make sure we have everything lined up to be able to give everything we’ve got at the PSAC (championship) the next week. That’s why we’re going there to so the best that we can.”