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Men’s indoor track ends season with second-place trophy

Keegan Beard, Rocket Contributor

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The Slippery Rock men’s indoor track and field team finished off their season with another second-place finish at the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Indoor Track and Field Championships last weekend at Edinboro University. The Rock men came up short of the championship behind Shippensburg University who won the meet with 187 points. Out of the twelve teams that scored points, Slippery Rock was the only other team to score over 70 points, finishing with 123 points overall.

The Rock men were led by two event wins over the two-day championship. Senior Anderson Novalin had broken the SRU and Haitian national records for the indoor shot-put earlier this season and came into the meet as the heavy favorite. Novalin was able to verify that by winning the event with a throw of 17.11 meters, .12 meters ahead of fellow senior JJ Ollio who took second in the event with 16.99 meters.

The other event win came from junior Steven Girgash who took the title in the heptathlon with a score of 4969 points. Senior Erik Lee and sophomore Dylan Colcombe also scored in the heptathlon taking fifth and sixth respectively.

In the sprinting events, junior Collin Darby showed his value scoring in three different events. Darby took seventh in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.01 seconds to score two points, just behind sophomore Ian Nieves who took sixth with a time of 6.99 seconds. Nieves took fourth in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.24 seconds. In the 200-meter dash, Darby led the way with a second-place finish with a time of 22.17 seconds.

Junior Isaac Moodie followed in fourth with a time of 22.22 seconds, and sophomore Liam Okal took sixth with a time of 22.52 seconds. Darby’s final appearance came in the 4×400-meter relay where he teamed up with Nieves, Moodie, and senior James Chandler to take third with a time of 3:20.39. Chandler and Moodie also ran in the 400-meter dash and took sixth and eighth respectively.

In the distance events, it was senior Jeremy Parson leading the way with a fourth-place finish in the 5000-meter run with a time of 15:16.51. Sophomore John Marenkovic took seventh in the 3000-meter run with a time of 8:57.63, and junior Josh Rader took seventh in a tight mile race only eight seconds behind first place at 4:23.30. The Distance Medley Relay of Rader, and sophomores Gunner Coleman, Kyle Edgar, and Daniel Janyska took fourth with a time of 10:31.19.

In the pole vault, the Rock showed its dominance taking four of the top eight spots. Senior Jordan Pacheco led the way finishing second with a vault of 4.92 meters, and senior Andrew Koksal followed in fourth with a vault of 4.57 meters. Sophomores David Duffey and Dylan Colcombe took seventh and eighth respectively, both hitting a height of 4.27 meters. Junior Jesse Romanchak almost made an upset in the triple jump, holding the lead with 14.25 meters until Justus Norman from West Chester took his final jump and stole the title with a jump of 14.37 meters. Freshman John Goodman took fifth in the long jump with a jump of 6.63 meters.

Finally, in the weight throw, Ollio and Novalin returned to take third and sixth respectively.

The season is now over for most of the Rock men, as Anderson Novalin will be the lone Rock male attending the National Championships in the shot-put, March 9th and 10th at Pittsburg State in Kansas. Last year, the NCAA took 16 competitors for the shot-put event but this year they took the top 20, and Novalin was the 19th best throw.

The rest of the team will travel to South Carolina over spring break to compete at Coastal Carolina University. Head Coach John Papa foresees Shippensburg as the team to beat in the outdoor season as well and will be looking to the underclassmen to make improvements before the outdoor championships that will be held at Slippery Rock in May.

“We have some upfront seniors but we need the depth of our underclassmen in order for us to have a shot at Shippensburg,” said Papa. “They will be the team to beat this outdoor season”.

Another focus of the team, according to Papa, will be improving teamwork and making sure everyone encourages each other to reach their potential. The Rock returns to action at the Coastal Carolina Invitational March 9th and 10th at Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina.

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Men’s indoor track ends season with second-place trophy