Men’s track perseveres through tough weather

Published by , Author: Justin Kraus - Contributor, Date: April 5, 2016
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Saturday at the Dave Labor Invitational, Slippery Rock worked to seven event wins, one NCAA provisional mark and 16 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) marks, all through 39 degree temperature and wind gusts of up to 44 mph.

SRU head coach John Papa said that the weather was typical for Slippery Rock.

“Slippery Rock is our personal wind tunnel. We were more ready for it than anyone else was,” Papa said. “We knew it was going to be windy up here and we know exactly how it gets. Even if it’s 60 degrees and sunny at the field house, it can be 45, cold and windy at the field.”

The cold and the wind did not seem to bother sophomore Andrew Koksal.

Koksal hit the NCAA provisional mark for pole vault, clearing 4.82 meters whilst winning his event.

Senior Keiffer Reed joined his teammate by finishing second in the pole vault, clearing 4.40 meters.

Slippery Rock dominated events all over the track and field on Saturday. This was most apparent in the long jump, where three Rock jumpers took first, second and fourth.

Sophomore Noah Bostick won the event with a 6.71 meter jump, barely edging his teammate, freshman Trevor Salopek, who leaped 6.68 meters.

Sophomore Jared Geist finished fourth with a 6.52 meter jump. Bostick added another win in the 110 meter hurdles with a 14.85 second finish.

Papa was glad with the performances his athletes turned in.

“Noah is a great athlete, there is no doubt about that. He’s a sophomore this year, he has been around a year and knows what to expect and what it takes, so we’re excited about what he can do in the future,” Papa said. “Andrew Koksal had a really nice vault in those poor conditions. In the long jump, Tervor Salopk did a great job, he’s new for us but he had a great jump. Jerrod Geist qualified for the first time in the long jump.”

One more jumper led The Rock to an event win on Saturday. Freshman Lance Thornton tied for first with a 1.90 meter high jump.

The 100-meter dash was another event full of green and white in the top five. Freshman Collin Darby and junior Brandon Vanderbrook both finished in 11.00 seconds, but Darby just barely edged Vanderbook by an impossibly small margin. Graduate student Monte Chapman was not far behind, claiming fifth with a 11.18 second time in the dash. The team of Chapman, Darby and Vanderbrook were joined by junior Erik Record to win the 4 x 100 meter relay with a time of 42.71 seconds.

Darby said he has a great relationship with the other relay runners.

“One thing that I like that keeps being said is that we’re built, not bought. At our school a lot of us aren’t on scholarship,” Darby said. “I feel like we have the most heart and will to win. It’s more or less that we’re going to perform the best. We practice hard and our coaches help us reach the best of our abilities.”

Junior Jacob VanHouten finished the day on the track with a win for Slippery Rock, this time in the 400-meter hurdles. VanHouten finished in 56.08 seconds and was directly followed by senior Andrew Schroder, who took second with a 57.29 second time.

Out on the field, junior JJ Ollio added three top-five finishes to his resume. In the discus, Ollio took fourth with a 45.37 meter throw. Ollio added a fifth-place 45.75 meter toss in the hammer throw. Finally, Ollio took home fourth in the shot put with 15.51 meters. Senior Jerrod Galloway added an eighth-place finish in the shot put, throwing 13.61 meters.

Slippery Rock will next compete at the Liberty Invitational April 8 and 9, and then at the PSAC West competition at Indiana University (Pa.) on the 10th.

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