Senior runner Ryan Thompson broke the Slippery Rock school record and Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) record with his 4:05.72 time he ran in the mile this past weekend when The Rock men’s track traveled to Allendale, Mich. for the Grand Valley Big Meet at Grand Valley University.
“It’s one of the most significant performances we’ve had on our team since I’ve been here,” head coach John Papa, who is in his 30th year of coaching, said.
Thompson crushed the previous SRU record held by Jeff Weiss back in 2009 when he ran a 4:09.33 in the mile. The senior’s effort in the mile also broke the PSAC record held by Mansfield’s Mike Robinson, who ran a time of 4:06.27 back in 2014 at the same meet.
“I was surprised that I broke the PSAC record,” Thompson said. “My main goal was focused on breaking the school record, so I was pretty surprised when Coach Papa told me right after the race that I broke the PSAC record as well.”
Thompson placed third in the event, as he was surrounded by elite talent from many different schools. Papa said Thompson and a few others will sit out this coming meet in order to rest up for the PSAC championships the following week.
“The PSACs are some of my favorite races,” Thompson said. “I’m really excited to go against some more great competition.”
The Rock was able to come away with three more NCAA provisional marks over the weekend. In the 4×400-meter relay, sophomore Collin Darby, fifth year Andrew Schroder, senior Jacob VanHouten and freshman Noah VanHouten set an NCAA mark by placing fifth with a time of 3:16.68.
“Those guys did a real nice job out there,” Papa said. “They continued to compete and push, showing great teamwork.”
Graduate student David Reinhardt continued to top his personal best for the fourth consecutive time in the weight throw when he tossed a distance of 17.88 meters. Reinhardt’s effort placed him fifth in the event, setting another NCAA mark. The final NCAA mark of the weekend came from senior Adam Leeper, who placed second in the triple jump with a height of 14.45 meters.
“He’s (Reinhardt) getting the time in,” Papa said. “So it’s no surprise Dave is getting better and better.”
Senior JJ Ollio topped his personal best in the shot put with a distance of 15.67 meters, placing him sixth in the event and giving him a PSAC mark. In 60-metereter dash, Darby and senior Brandon Vanderbrook both recorded times of 6.99, placing them ninth and 10th in the event. Both athletes then competed in the 200-meter dash, where Darby placed 15th with a time of 22.36, while Vanderbrook placed 26th with a time of 22.54. In both dashes, both athletes hit the PSAC mark.
In total the Green and White racked up 12 PSAC qualifying marks, four NCAA provisional marks and a new school and PSAC record for the mile this past weekend. The Rock will travel to Edinboro, Pa. this weekend for their last meet before the PSAC championships to compete in the Edinboro Last Chance on Friday. Edinboro will also be the site of the PSAC championships the following week, Feb. 25 and 26.