The Slippery Rock Men’s indoor track and field team started competition last weekend at the YSU Icebreaker meet at Youngstown State University, and at the Mike Kowal Multi Meet at Edinboro University.
The YSU meet was highlighted by senior Andrew Koksal and sophomore Ian Nieves hitting NCAA provisional marks in the pole vault and 60-meter hurdles respectively. Koksal took second in the pole vault with a clearance of 4.82 meters. Nieves was second in the 60-meter hurdles just missing his SRU record of 8.18 in the event, running a time of 8.21 seconds.
Nieves also performed well in the 60-meter dash running 7.00 seconds to take fifth. Fellow sophomore Liam Okal took tenth with a time of 7.13 seconds. Senior James Chandler was right behind in 13th with a time of 7.17, and junior Collin Darby followed closely in 7.19 to take 14th.
In the 200-meter dash it was Chandler leading a tight pack of Rock runners taking fifth with a time of 22.41 seconds. Junior Isaac Moodie was next taking seventh with a time of 22.55, then Okal in eighth in 22.55 as well, and junior Jeff Bailey in ninth in 22.56 seconds. Moodie also took sixth in the 400-meter with a time of 50.36 seconds.
Darby, Bailey, Okal, and Nieves combined for a 4×400-meter relay that took second with a time of 3:21.75.
In the distance events sophomore Daniel Janyska took fifth in the mile with a time of 4:28.19.
In the field events senior Jordan Pacheco placed fifth in the pole vault behind Koksal with a clearance of 4.62 meters. Senior JJ Ollio took third in the shot put with a throw of 15.76 meters, and senior Anderson Novalin took fifth with a throw of 15.41 meters. Ollio also competed in the weight throw taking sixth with a throw of 16.17 meters.
Head Coach John Papa has high hopes for the team this season after their first meet.
“Our pole vaulters and throwers look to be ready to make a big contribution to the team,” Papa said. He also says that the sprints and hurdles team is doing well early on as well. As for the distance runners, Papa is looking for improvement throughout the season as they are just coming off cross country. “The distance runners have potential and we hope that group will develop as the season progresses,” said Papa.
At Edinboro, the Rock swept the podium in the heptathlon event with junior Steve Girgash leading the way taking first with a score of 4,846 points, which puts him at fifth in the nation so far. Sophomore Dylan Colcombe took second with 4,671 points which matches the NCAA provisional mark, and senior Eric Lee took third with 4,573 points.
“At Edinboro we had some great performances by our multi event athletes in the heptathlon,” Coach Papa said. “We have seen some indicators that we have a competitive team, but we still have a long way to go,” Papa said.
The Rock will break for the holidays before returning to Youngstown on January 19th.