As the fall sports season at the Rock comes to an end, the winter season is right around the corner. The Men’s indoor track team is coming off a heartbreaking defeat to Shippensburg University at the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) championships last year. The men’s team lost by less than one point in one of the closest margins in conference championship history.
“It was tough losing a very close battle with Shippensburg last year,” head coach John Papa said. “We hope to be healthy and give everything we have to bring home a PSAC title”.
Papa will be looking to his seniors to lead the team and perform their best in their final indoor season at the Rock. In vault, Papa will have two strong competitors in seniors Andrew Koksal and Jordan Pacheco. Pacheco is coming off of an All-American outdoor season after he placed 12th at the NCAA national championships last year. Koksal placed fourth in the PSAC championships last year following Pacheco who won the event. Both vaulters will look to repeat their success.
In the distance events, senior Jeremy Parsons will try to ride his momentum from his third straight trip to the NCAA Cross Country Championships this fall. Parsons is also coming off a fourth-place finish in the 10,000-meter run at the outdoor PSAC championships last year. The 10,000-meter is not contested indoors but he will use his strength in the distance events in the 3000 and 5000-meter events.
It’s not just the seniors that Papa will be looking to though. He expects that sophomores Ian Nieves, Liam Okal, Daniel Janyska, and Dylan Colcombe will help the team significantly after successful freshman seasons last year.
The Rock men will start their season Dec. 1st at the YSU Icebreaker meet at Youngstown State in Ohio. Papa is looking forward to the Grand Valley Big meet hosted by Grand Valley State in Michigan. That meet has posted fast times on the track in the past because of the banked track and high-level competition. Other meets to look for big performances at are the YSU National Meet Feb. 2nd and 3rd at Youngstown State, and the PSAC Indoor Championships Feb. 24th and 25th at Edinboro University.