Women’s outdoor track dominates California Invitational

Published by adviser, Author: Cody Nespor - Rocket Contributor , Date: March 25, 2015

The Slippery Rock University women’s track team accomplished an uncommon feat at the California University of Pennsylvania (Cal U) Early Bird Meet on Saturday by winning nine out of the 15 events that the team participated in.

At the meet, which was held in California, Pennsylvania, two Rock women won multiple events and the team as a whole earned 19 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) qualifying marks. SRU’s quality performance spanned both track and field events, as the Rock won five track events and four field events, as well as having top-five athletes in 12 total events.

SRU head coach John Papa knows that placings do not really matter at this point in the season, but he thinks this was a good confidence booster for the team.

“A meet like this will give confidence to a lot of the girls and show them that we are one of the better teams in the conference,” Papa said. “However, at this point in the season, it might be better to throw the shot put 42 meters and end in 10th place than to throw it 41 meters and finish in first.”

With possibly the best performance of her career, sophomore Jasmine Bailey won both the 200 and 400-meter dashes and participated on the team that finished second in the 4×100 meter relay. In honor of Bailey’s accomplishments, she was named the SRU athlete of the week and the PSAC track Athlete of the Week.

Papa spoke highly of Bailey’s feats from Cal U and of her continued success.

“Jasmine Bailey’s performances in the 200 and 400-dashes were some of our best from this weekend, and Jasmine was probably our best athlete,” Papa said. “If there was a handful of top athletes on the team, Jasmine would be in that group. She’s the conference champion and she continues to place high in every meet.”

Bailey came out on top of the 200-meter dash with a time of 24.78, just .12 seconds off of the Slippery Rock record. Junior Lexi Nowakowski finished in fourth place in 25.41, sophomore Kennedy Evans came in eighth place with a time of 25.66 and junior Emily Moroco rounded out the top-10 with a time of 25.68. In the 400-meter dash, Bailey (58.03) and Nowakowski (58.60) combined with sophomore Lauren Harvey (1:00.18) to sweep the podium for the Green and White, taking first, second and third place respectively.

Competing in the 100-meter dash, Moroco finished fourth with a time of 12.44 seconds.

In addition to their individual successes, Bailey, Evans, Nowakowski and Moroco combined to finish in second place in the 4×100-meter relay with a time of 48.89. The team was unable to finish in the last meet due to poor weather and a dropped baton, and despite the good placing this week the team was not without mistakes.

“There was some trouble with the first handoff this time around,” Papa said. “It was nice to get the baton around the track this time, but if we can iron out all the mistakes this team could knock another second or more off of their time next week.”

Evans also competed in the 100-meter hurdles where she finished in 47.86 to take second place. Also competing was freshman Sophie Mazza who came in fifth place in 15.42. In the 400-meter hurdles, freshman Katie Teed and junior Casaundra Swartzbaugh both finished in the top three. Teed won the event with a time of 1:05.91 and Swartzbaugh came in third in 1:06.19.

Teaming up to win the 4×400-meter relay for the Rock was Swartzbaugh, Teed, Harvey, and freshman Josette Dawson. This team finished the relay in 4:02.97 to clinch the win.

The final event win on the track came from senior Angelica Bagwell in the 800-meter run. Bagwell was the first to cross the finish line with a time of 2:26.85. In the field events Senior Brittany Christiansen thrived. Christiansen won the shot put event with a 12.01 meter throw and the hammer throw event with a 49.74 meter throw.

Two SRU athletes tied for the win in the high jump event as both sophomore Sabrina Anderson and junior Ashley West cleared 1.65 meters, 0.03 meters away from an NCAA provisional qualifying mark. Junior Paige Kassab also competed in the high jump, coming in fourth place and clearing 1.6 meters.

The final win for the Rock came in pole vault where freshman Courtney McQuaide took the event by clearing 3.5 meters. Fellow freshman Maria Darling finished right behind McQuaide in second place while clearing 3.2 meters.

This was the Green and White’s second outdoor meet of the season and they will continue competition on March 27 and 28 at the Raleigh Relays, hosted by North Carolina State University.

“If we started winning too often and too easily, we would never improve,” Papa said. “It’s good for us to go and get our butts kicked sometimes to see what level of competition we should be competing at. The team is solid right now, but this is not where they’re going to be at the end of the season.”


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