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Women’s indoor track gets off to a hot start

Karl Ludwig, Rocket Contributor

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The Slippery Rock women’s indoor track team travelled to Youngstown, Ohio on Friday for the season-opening YSU Icebreaker. Two members of the team also travelled to Edinboro, Pennsylvania for the Mike Kowal multi-meet on Saturday. The weekend was very successful for the Rock with 25 PSAC (Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference) qualification marks, two NCAA provisional markers, and a new school record.

The emergence of freshman sprinter/jumper Reagan Hess proved to be the highlight of the day at Youngstown State University. Hess set a Slippery Rock school record in the 60-meter sprint with a time of 7.70 seconds. A true freshman in not only her first collegiate meet but her first event broke the record formerly held by Janiece Rash and Jasmine Bailey. Hess was not finished and ended the meet with 3 separate PSAC qualification marks including the 60-meter and 200-meter sprint along with the long jump. Hess also ran the third leg of the third place 4×400 meter relay team.

“The fact that she broke it, broke our school record, is really exciting because we’ve had a lot of fast ladies here at the university,” Papa said, “but it wasn’t something totally out of thin air, I mean we knew that she had that ability.”

Strong performances from the sprinter and mid-distance runners led to 9 women reaching PSAC qualification marks in five separate events. Hess, sophomore sprinter/hurdler Emily Horstman, and freshman sprinter hurdler Amanda Oliver placed second, third and fifth in the 60-meter sprint with times of 7.70, 7.76, and 7.79 respectively. Hess, Horstman, and Oliver again placed one, two, three for the Rock and seventh, tenth, and eleventh overall in the 200-meter sprint with times of 25.68, 25.76, and 25.95 respectively.

Freshman sprinter/jumper Vanessa Shedlock, senior sprinter/hurdler Katie Teed, and senior sprinter/hurdler Aerial Dukes placed eighth, ninth, and tenth in the 400-meter sprint with times of 59.24, 59.95, and 1:00.00 respectively. Junior distance runner Madison Przicina and senior distance runner Caitlyn Janeda finished second and third in the 800-meter run with times of 2:17.93 and 2:18.74 respectively. Freshman distance runner Juliet Ryan placed second in the mile run with a time of 5:20.10. Dukes, Horstman, Hess, and Shedlock also placed third in the 4×400 meter relay with a time of 3:57.76.

If not for the historic day from Hess, the jumpers may have been the headline from the meet with two pole vaulters placing first and second overall and making NCAA provisional marks. Senior pole vaulter Courtney McQuaide and sophomore pole vaulter Maddy Marshall paced the meet at Youngstown with a first and second place finish in the pole vault with jumps of 3.75 meters and 3.65 meters respectively, not only meeting PSAC marks but NCAA marks.

“It’s kind of always been a tradition here, I know it’s somewhat of a sport that needs quality coaching,” Papa said, “…great coaching we’ve always had… we have been very fortunate.” Junior pole vaulter Roxanne Dunn, senior pole vaulter Maria Darling, and sophomore pole vaulter Erika Thomas placed seventh and tied for eleventh with times of 3.40 meters and a tie of 3.25 meters respectively.

“Our 800-meter runners, they ran significantly faster at the meet Friday than they had a year ago,” Papa said, “we knew they were quite capable, but I didn’t really think they were going to run that fast.”

Hess had another strong showing placing a second in the long jump with a distance of 5.54 meters. Freshman jumper Lexi Salopek placed ninth in the triple jump with a distance of 10.59 meters.

The throwers put up a strong showing with senior throwers Kaci Yale and Anna Frengel meeting PSAC qualifications in two events each. Yale, freshman thrower Jorden Jamieson, sophomore thrower Abby Way, and Frengel placed sixth, tenth, eleventh, and thirteenth respectively. Yale led with a throw of 14.62 meters followed by Jamieson with a throw 13.82 meters, Way with a throw of 13.72 meters, and Frengel with a throw of 13.66 meters. Frengel and Yale placed fourth and thirteenth in the shot put with throws of 13.22 meters and 11.39 meters respectively.

The Rock also had two athletes travel to Edinboro, PA on Saturday to participate in the Mike Kowal multi-meet. Senior multi-event athlete Kaelyn Keane and sophomore jumper Asia Broaddus competed in the pentathlon with Keane finishing second and Broaddus finishing fifth. In the five-stage event, Keane finished with 2,598 points while Broaddus finished with 2,248 points.

“This meet showed us that we are going to be the team we thought we were,” Papa said, “we are going to be contending for a title this year.”

The team will now be on break until the YSU Invitational on January 19th back in Youngstown, OH.

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Women’s indoor track gets off to a hot start