The Slippery Rock University women’s track team put on a good show for their home crowd at the SRU Open last Thursday, winning nine events.
“I believe that we are headed in the right direction,” SRU head coach John Papa said. “Despite some poor conditions, we still have athletes that have excelled so far this season.”
In their first home meet of the season, SRU athletes broke a school record, hit four NCAA provisional qualifying marks and reached 19 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) qualifying marks.
Papa said as much as the team enjoys competing close to home, it is important to compete on the road.
“We like to compete at SRU; we are familiar with the facility and we have confidence that we can perform well at home,” Papa said. “It is good to compete at other facilities, because we must perform away from home as well. Luckily, we have opportunities at home and on the road these next three weeks.”
At the head of the charge for SRU, senior thrower Brittany Christiansen broke her own program record in the hammer throw, won two events and hit an NCAA qualifying mark. She won the hammer throw with a throwing distance of 53.36 meters, beating her record throw from last year of 51.07 meters. Her new record throw currently ranks 20th in the nation and 11th among all Division II athletes.
“My dad always tells me to go big or go bigger, so each meet I try to do everything I have been working on that week,” Christiansen said. “Also, I have the best teammates. They always support me and push me to work my hardest. I am so proud to be on this team. We are going to do very well at the PSAC Championship meet.”
Christiansen also won the shot put event with a PSAC qualifying throw of 12.22 meters. Freshman Anna Frengel joined Christiansen in the shot put, coming in fourth place with an 11.53 meter throw.
The Green and White swept the top three places in the pole vault event, placed four in the top five, and had two NCAA provisional qualifying athletes. Freshman Courtney McQuaide and junior Kaitlyn Clark finished first and second on the podium, clearing 3.76 and 3.66 meters respectively, both over the NCAA mark. McQuaide’s clearance is currently tied for the fourth best in the country, while Clark’s ranks as the 10th best. McQuaide was also named the PSAC Field Athlete of the Week. Completing the sweep of the podium was sophomore Megan Matrisciano, who came in third with a 3.5 meter clearance and coming in fifth was junior Michaela Kasik with a 3.2 meter clearance. Both Matrisciano and Kasik’s clearances were of the PSAC standard.
The final NCAA provisional mark was reached in the javelin throw by junior Sam Taylor. Taylor found herself in a fierce battle with fellow All-American javelin thrower Mallory Sanner from Seton Hill. Taylor beat Sanner with a throw that traveled 44.68 meters, a mere .01 meter farther than Sanner’s best throw.
Taylor also reached the PSAC standard in two horizontal jump events. Taylor won the triple jump with a 10.95 meter jump and took third in the long jump with a 5.29 meter leap.
On the track, junior Jasmine Bailey took part in three event wins and reached the PSAC standard in all three.
The Rock ran the table in the 100-meter dash, taking all five of the top spots. Bailey placed first with a 12.28 second time, sophomore Kennedy Evan came in second with a time of 12.44 seconds. Taking third place was sophomore Taylor Scales with a run of 12.76 seconds and in fourth was freshman Katie Teed with a 12.78 second run. Sophomore Lauren Harvey rounded out the top five with a 12.9 second time.
Bailey also individually won the 200-meter dash with a time of 25.7. Bailey’s final event win came alongside Evan, Harvey and junior Lexie Nowakowski in the 4×100-meter relay. The team hit the PSAC mark with a time of 48.06.
The 4×400-meter relay team also found themselves on top of the podium with an event win. The team comprised of Teed, Harvey, freshman Ariel Dukes and junior Casaundra Swartzbaugh won the race with a time of 4:03.48.
The final PSAC qualifying marks were reached in the hurdle events. Evans (15.15) and freshman Sophie Mazza (15.37) took second and sixth place in the 100-meter hurdles and Swartzbaugh (1:06.14) beat the conference mark in the 400-meter hurdles coming in third.
“Since we only have three meets remaining till our PSAC meet, we have quite a ways to go,” Papa said. “However, I am confident that many of our athletes that still need to qualify for PSAC, will take advantage of the upcoming opportunities.”
The Green and White will compete in the Bison Outdoor Classic at Bucknell University Saturday before returning home to William Lennox Track to host the Dave Labor Invitational on April 18.