The Slippery Rock University outdoor track and field teams took home six wins this weekend at California University of Pennsylvania for the Cal U Early Bird meet. The team sent a limited roster as the rest of the team took the weekend off in preparation of the upcoming Trojan Challenge meet in North Carolina.
The women won four events and the men won two, they also combined for 15 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) qualifying marks.
On the track the SRU won the 1,500-meter run as junior Daniel Janyska finished in 4:05.71 for the men’s lone track win. As for the women junior Kacey Raible, she also won the 1,500-meter run in 4:48.88, both her Janyska’s mark qualified for the PSAC. Freshman Megan Miller finished out the track wins as she just missed the PSAC mark with her 1:08.29 time in the 400-meter hurdles.
On the field junior Elaina Powell took home the win in the javelin throw with a 40.19 meter throw. Senior Rachel Demaria also put up a victory as she won discus with a 38.22 meter throw. Junior Abby Way finished second with a 11.48 meter shot put to end out the day for the women.
For the men, freshman John Eakin took the top spot in shot put with a 14.07 throw. Eakin was followed by four other throwers who got PSAC marks. freshman Dylan Close finished in third in the javelin with a 54.28 meter throw, finishing just ahead of sophomore Austin Labesky, who placed fourth with a 52.82 meter throw. Sophomore Alec Morris also took third as he threw a 43.23-meter hammer throw and sophomore Ryan Ferner placed fifth in the discus with a 41.24-meter throw. Head Coach John Papa thinks that moving outdoors, from indoors, has definitely helped jump start this early season success.
“I think a lot of the athletes had a really successful indoor season which is giving everybody confidence and gets everybody excited and hopeful for a great outdoor season as well,” Papa said.
Speaking of confidence, during spring break senior Caleb Smithco got his first long jump win of the season. Smithco has had past knee issues so this win meant a lot for him so early in the season.
“It means a lot actually. Being able to come out and start jumping again makes me feel good and confident about how the rest of the seasons going to go,” Smithco said.
Moving into the Trojan Challenge in at Mount Olive University, the team is sending 30 men and 36 women to take part in the two-day meet. The top two highest entries for SRU in each event so far this season are the athletes that are participating in the meet.
“We are going down there for some great performances,” Papa said. “Everyone that’s going are looking to have a significant performance.”
Papa said the transition from indoor to outdoor for some of the athletes that struggled during the indoor season.
“I think that some of the athletes that didn’t do as well indoors are finding that their time is yet to come for this outdoors season,” Papa said.
After the meet in Mount Olive University, the Rock will host the Dave Labor Invitational at Mihalik Thompson Stadium on April 6.