Another Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) title has been brought back to Slippery Rock University in the 2019-20 academic year as the women’s indoor track team recorded 99.5 points in the two-day PSAC Championships at Edinboro University.
This is the first indoor title since 2015-16, as they won their sixth indoor title. SRU head coach John Papa won his 18th title with the women and his 25th overall since he became head coach 33 years ago in 1987.
“Slippery Rock University is a great place to recruit athletes to come,” Papa said. “It’s an easy sell. People want to be here.”
The women finished Saturday in second place behind West Chester who led Saturday with 42 points. 10 points came in from the winning team of sophomore Lexie Firment, and seniors Bri Witherel, Jill Norris, and Kacey Raible. The team won the 4×800-meter relay in 9:26.60 in the last event of the day.
The Rock also left Saturday with points in the distance relay. Firment and Norris joined up with senior Courtney Nunley and sophomore Shelby Gluth to finish fifth in the distance medley relay in 12:44.47.
More points came Saturday as junior Reagan Hess finished fourth in the long jump with a 5.57-meter leap. Sophomore Olivia Sentle finished tied for fifth in the pole vault with a 3.19 clearance and seniors Jolene Yon (sixth) and Asia Broadus (seventh) both scored in the pentathlon.
Transitioning on to Sunday, the women stole the show by scoring in eight of the 11 events that took place on Sunday and winning over West Chester by 19.5 points. Papa and the team weren’t expecting to run away with the title as they expected it to be a four-team race for the title.
“We didn’t see that one coming,” Papa said. “There were four teams that we thought could win. We thought it would be the last event, come down to the very last event, luckily it didn’t because that takes a lot of stress off everybody.”
Sophomore Cecily Greggs had one of the performances of the day as she recorded her career-high and NCAA provisional mark in the high jump. Greggs won the event with a 1.68 meter leap. Papa had high praise for the young athlete.
“There might be other people that can jump higher than her, but when it down comes to it she competes extremely well and she beat some athletes that may be better than she was on paper,” Papa said. “But she likes to win, likes to compete, and that kind of summed up our team performance actually.”
Another big chunk of the scoring for the Rock came from the sprinters. Sophomore Morgan Donatelli finished third with her career-high 58.10 seconds. Behind Donatelli was freshman Lorna Speigle, who was fourth in 58.53 seconds. Finishing in seventh was senior Courtney Nunley who finished in 59.23 seconds.
As all of the women contributed to the PSAC championship, the indoor season might still continue for senior Maddy Marshall and Hess. Marshall is currently sitting at 20th in the NCAA Division II leaderboards for pole vault and Hess is 24th in the long jump. The two will find out later this week if they made the national team and will be traveling to Birmingham Alabama for the National Championships.
“If she [Hess] goes, It will be a great learning experience for her,” Papa said. “You never know, if they make it that’s great.