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Men’s and women’s track striving for success at PSACs

Keegan Beard, Rocket Contributor

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The Slippery Rock men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams are in their last few days of preparation before the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Indoor Track and Field Championships. The Rock will be sending 56 athletes between the two teams to compete at Edinboro University this Saturday and Sunday.

Most of the athletes competing have hit standards in their individual events throughout the season, except for a few athletes who will be part of relay teams. The women will look to improve on their third-place finish at last year’s championship, while the men’s team seeks revenge after coming just a point and a half short of a title last year against Shippensburg University.

For the women’s team, sophomore Madeline Marshall in the pole vault and freshman Reagan Hess in the 60-meter dash will look to lead the team being the top-ranked athlete in their events. Marshall comes off an SRU record-breaking performance and NCAA automatic qualifying vault of 4.01 meters last weekend at the Edinboro Last Chance Meet.

Also on the hunt for a title is the 4×400 meter relay of sophomore Emily Hortsman, freshman Amanda Oliver, junior Madison Przicina and freshman Vanessa Shedlock. The 4×400-meter relay is ranked second with a time of 3:55.66 to the team from East Stroudsburg University by less than a second and is looking to repeat as champions after a win over Bloomsburg University last year. Sophomore Emily Hortsman is looking to make an upset in the 200-meter dash being seeded third less than half a second behind the first-place seed from Seton Hill. Senior Sophie Mazza will look to help bring home some points in the 60-meter hurdles where she is seeded in fourth.

In the distance events, senior Caitlyn Janeda will look to lead in the 800-meter event where she is seeded fourth with a time of 2:15.82. Madison Przicina will also compete in the 800-meter, she is seeded seventh with a time of 2:17.80. Freshman Juliet Ryan will look to make an impact at her first PSAC championship in a deep mile field. She comes in ranked seventh with a time of 5:20.10. Junior Sabrina Palmieri who comes into the 5000-meter event seeded 17th with a time of 18:57.90, only a little over 30 seconds out of a scoring position.

The Rock will also send a 4×800-meter relay that is tied for fifth, made up of Przicina, Ryan, Janeda and sophomore Kacey Raible. Finally, the distance medley relay of senior Melissa Rains, freshman Alexis Marchando, sophomore Brianna Witherel and sophomore Emily Johnson comes into the championships ranked fifth.

In the field, the Rock women will look to their vaulters to lead. Marshall will lead senior Courtney McQuaide who is seeded third with a vault of 3.86 meters. At last year’s championship, the Rock women took the top three spots with McQuaide and Marshall taking the top two spots, and current senior Maria Darling taking the third spot.

This year, The Rock will send six vaulters in hopes of completing another sweep. Reagan Hess will return in the long jump and look to take a second title where she is seeded fourth, .4 meters behind the number one spot. In the shot put, senior Anna Frengel and junior Rachel Demaria look to score with both omen coming in seeded at sixth. Finally, senior Kelci Yale will come into the weight throw seeded at ninth, just outside of a scoring position.

On the men’s side, it will be the 4x400m relay and graduate student Anderson Novalin in the shot put leading the way. The 4×400 relay is the top seed with a time of 3:17.35 while Novalin sits atop the shot put with an SRU record and NCAA provisional standard of 17.26 meters. Just behind Novalin is senior JJ Ollio who sits in third with an NCAA provisional 16.95 meters.

Ollio and Novalin will also compete in the weight throw where they are seeded fourth and seventh respectively. Sophomore Ian Nieves and junior Collin Darby will look to score in the 60-meter dash both being seeded at fifth with a time of 7.00 seconds. Nieves will then return in the 60-meter hurdles where he is seeded second with a time of 8.21 seconds. Junior Isaac Moodie comes into the 400-meter dash seeded with a time of 49.60 seconds which puts him in the number three spot. Moodie will also compete in the 200-meter where he is the Rock’s top seed at fifth.

In the distance events, sophomore Daniel Janyska will look to score coming in seeded at eighth with a time of 4:23.98, only six seconds behind the top seed. In the 5000-meter, senior Jeremy Parsons will try to grab an elusive title in his last indoor season.

He comes into the event seeded third with a time of 15:15.20. To take the title, Parsons will have to overcome Robert Moser from Shippensburg, who has a seed time of 14:45.50. The Rock men will send a 4×800-meter and distance medley relays to compete as well. The 4×800 relay will feature juniors Brandon Critchlow and Andrew Maxwell and sophomores Kyle Edgar and Gunner Coleman. Coleman and Edgar will return for the distance medley and will be joined by Daniel Janyska and junior Josh Rader.

Similar to the women’s pole vault, the men will look for a possible sweep of the top three spots with three Rock vaulters seeded in the top five. Senior Jordan Pacheco leads the trio seeded at third, while fellow senior Andrew Koksal is behind him in fourth. Sophomore Dylan Colcombe will round out the trio seeded at fifth. In the triple jump, freshman Jason Goodman will look to score at his first PSAC championship, coming into the event seeded fifth at 13.76 meters.

Finally, in the Heptathlon, the Rock men will seek another top-three sweep with junior Steve Girgash leading the charge with the top-seeded score of 4822. Colcombe comes in seeded second with a score of 4646, and senior Eric Lee is seeded fourth with 4549 points.

After the PSAC championships, most of The Rock will rest until spring break when the team travels to South Carolina to train and compete at Coastal Carolina University. But Those athletes that qualify for the NCAA National Indoor Championships will continue to train before competing in Pittsburg, Kansas, on March 9-10.

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Men’s and women’s track striving for success at PSACs