The Kent State Tune Up was a perfect opportunity for the Slippery Rock men’s track team to correct any mistakes and polish its form before the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) championships this upcoming weekend. The Rock did not squander this opportunity, hitting 21 PSAC qualifying marks and placing in the top 10 six times.
“Since we had the weekend off before this, a lot of the guys needed that one competition to get back in the groove and get the rust off,” Rock head coach John Papa said. “I know a lot of guys didn’t do all of their events, some guys just did a few of their things, some not at the usual intensity that they do, but knowing that we have this event this weekend, everyone did everything they could to set themselves up to be the best this weekend.”
Senior and former Rock football player Marcus Carter was one of the best performers of the day, placing sixth in the long jump with a 6.70-meter performance. Two Rock jumpers also finished in the top 10, this time for the triple jump.
Senior Adam Leeper and freshman Jesse Romanchak placed seventh and 10th respectively. Sophomore Noah Bostick and freshman Lance Thornton placed top 15 in the high jump as well.
While the event was unseeded, sophomore Andrew Koksal finished third in the pole vault, tying his season-best vault of 4.60 meters.
Two Rock runners finished top 10 in the mile on Saturday. Senior Ryan Thompson placed 9th, finishing the mile with a 4:20.95 time. Thompson was followed by junior Tyler Palenchak, who placed tenth.
Slippery Rock added eight more PSAC qualifiers across four different track events. Bostick was joined by freshman Kyle Hall and senior Michael Hartos in the 60-meter hurdles, all placing top 25. Junior Brandon Vanderbrook and freshman Collin Darby were both top 15 in the 60-meter dash. Sophomore James Chandler and graduate student Monte Chapman continued their success, placing top 15 in the 200-meter dash. Track performances were rounded out by senior Andrew Schroder finishing 22nd in the 400-meter dash.
Junior JJ Ollio led The Rock in throwing competitions, placing 20th and 22nd in the weight throw and shot put, respectively. Senior Jerrod Galloway added on a solid performance, placing 20th in the shot put. Freshman Brendon Stamm placed 31st in the event and graduate student Nick Garuccio finished 24th in the weight throw to round out throwing performances.
With another week of experience under their belt, the track team is ready to go for the PSAC championships on Feb. 27 and 28.
“Even though our main goal is to do our very best at the outside championships in May, this is a good test for us,” Papa said. “We get to see where were at, get to see some of the competition. Some of these teams we never see except for this meet, so well get to see some of the athletes from the other teams so well know what to expect in outdoor.”