Over this past weekend, the Slippery Rock University’s women’s indoor track team earned a third-place finish in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Championship, coming away with four event titles and 92 points.
On the first day of competition, The Rock women came away with 45 points, including two of the four individual titles of the weekend. The team’s strongest showing was in the pole vault where they swept the top-three positions and had a seventh-place finish, giving The Rock a total of 26 points, with junior Courtney McQuaide winning the title with a clearance of 3.77 meters.
Behind her were freshman Madeline Marshall with a clearance of 3.77 meters as well, then junior Maria Darling with a distance of 3.67 meters to round out the top three, all of which met NCAA provisional marks. Coming in seventh place was senior Megan Matrisciano with a clearance of 3.57 meters, also an NCAA provisional mark. Rounding out the top ten with a clearance of 3.47 meters was sophomore Julia Schuler. McQuaide and Marshall will be representing the team at the NCAA National meet in Birmingham, Ala.on March 10-11.
Also coming away from day one with a title was senior Sabrina Anderson, who recorded 3,252 points in the pentathlon event, which gave The Rock 110 points, despite having an early season ankle injury that kept her out of competition on the second day of the championship.
On Anderson’s performance, Rock head coach John Papa said, “She does well when the pressure is on. She had been struggling a lot this year, but she was able to put it all together this weekend. She’s a great team leader.”
Other notable performances on day one were the 4×800-meter relay team consisting of sophomore Madison Przicina, freshman Kacey Raible, junior Melissa Rains and junior Caitlyn Janeda, who came away with a third-place finish and six points at a time of 9:31.15. In the distance medley relay, the team consisting of freshman Makaila Banka, freshman Bri Witherel, freshman Courtney Nunley and senior Kaylee Haberkam recorded one point with a seventh-place finish at a time of 12:57.75. In the long jump, sophomore Cheyenne Troutman recorded one point with an eighth-place finish of 5.29 meters. The Rock women ended day one in second place behind the eventual winner Shippensburg.
On day two of the competition, the Rock women recorded 47 points, giving the team a third-place finish while recording two event titles. Helping the team win both titles was senior Kennedy Evans, who coach Papa dubbed the team’s “Most Valuable Athlete” for helping secure 28 points for the team.
Evans won the 200-meter dash with a time of 25.16 and finished second in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.62. She also anchored the 4×400-meter relay alongside junior Aerial Dukes, freshman Emily Horstman and junior Katie Teed, which won the event with a time of 3:55.63.
On her performance in the 200-meter dash, Evans said, “I’ve never won an individual championship event before, so I felt that all my years of hard work paid off.”
Evans also said her favorite moment from the meet was anchoring the 4×400-meter relay. She said, “The facility atmosphere was so intense, I couldn’t even think about how tough the race was. All my teammates were lining the home stretch cheering as loud as possible. I knew when I made the last turn it was over because there was no way I was going to let all my teammates down.”
Evans just missed qualifying for the National Championship by two one-hundredths of a second in the 60-meter hurdles.
In the 800-meter run, Janeda recorded a third-place finish worth six points with a time of 2:17.91. Senior Jenna Bracken recorded four points with a fifth-place finish in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.98. Horstman recorded five points with a fourth-place finish in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.82 and four points with a fifth-place finish in the 200-meter dash with a time of 25.67, which rounded out the scoring for The Rock.
Papa said his favorite part of the meet was “the general overall atmosphere as the meet developed. The athletes were cheering each other on, the men were cheering the women and the women were cheering the men, the coaches were excited and a lot of the kids had their season bests. It was like a firework presentation.”
As McQuaide and Marshall look to prepare for the National Championships, the rest of the team will begin preparing to carry their success over to the outdoor track season which starts with the Seahawk Invitational next weekend in Wilmington, N.C.