The Track and Field team crushed the competition at the 21st annual Dick DeSchriver Invitational last Saturday in the Koehler Fieldhouse.
The men’s team won 12 events and set five new Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) qualifying marks.
The women’s team won 11 events and set seven new PSAC qualifying marks to complete a banner day for the track and field team.
Sophomore Justin Miller led the Warriors by winning the men’s triple jump.
He set a provisional NCAA qualifying mark with his gravity-defying jump of 49 feet and 5.50 inches.
Junior Dominic Walton was named the PSAC Field Athlete of the Week last week.
He and senior Me’Saj Closs dominated the strength events held at Zimbar Gymnasium.
Walton threw the shot put 56 feet and 3.75 inches to win the event and won the weight throw event with a throw of 57 feet and five inches.
Closs won the women’s shot put with a throw of 42 feet and 5.5 inches.
ESU grabbed the top two spots in the women’s weight throw event.
Closs’s winning throw of 53 feet and 3.5 inches was over four feet longer than senior Sam Giangrasso’s second-place throw of 48 feet and 11.75 inches.
In the other field events, freshman Hannah Frankenfield cleared a height of 10 feet and 11.75 inches to win the women’s pole vault.
Sophomore Juliana Schraer was third in the event.
The men’s team claimed the top five positions in the pole vault.
The Warriors were led by senior Dan Amari who cleared a height of 15 feet and one inch for first place.
In the high jump, senior Tatiana Williams cleared a height of five feet and one inch to win the women’s high jump.
Former ESU Track and Field standout William Berry came back to contest the high jump.
Four years ago, he cleared a height of seven feet and one-half inch.
This time, Berry cleared a height of 6 feet and 8.75 inches to retain his crown as the men’s high jump king.
Miller and freshman Austin Nice gave ESU a one-two finish in the men’s long jump.
Back on the track, senior Tiana Webster and sophomore Jeanette Jones led the way for the women’s track team.
Webster claimed the crown in the women’s 55-meter dash with a time of 7.19 seconds.
Jones ran the 55-meter hurdles in a blistering 8.80 seconds for first place.
Senior Sarah Klag returned to the track to take her star turn in the intermediate sprints.
The biotechnology major clocked a time of 1 minute and 0.20 seconds in the 400-meter run.
Klag finished an eyelash behind the first-place winner who ran the event in one minute and 0.13 seconds.
For freshman Mallory Rathon, the 200-meter dash was her first race back from injury.
“I was nervous at first, but my teammates were very supportive,” Rathon said.
The women’s distance runners also turned in strong performances.
Senior Allyson Stitzer won the 800-meter run in a time of two minutes and 32.82 seconds.
Senior Rachael Davalos was the runner-up in the 1,000-meter run. She came in 22 one-hundredths of a second behind the winner.
Senior Jenna Vledder was the top finisher for ESU in the 3,000-meter run.
Vledder finished fourth with a time of 11 minutes and 11.72 seconds.
“It was good,” said Vledder. “As the race went on, I found a girl to push with who came upon me.”
“I was really happy to get through it under the circumstances. I know I have a lot to work on, but I am very excited about the season.”
Junior Alex Race and senior Andrew Lopez train together for the distance events.
Race destroyed the competition in the 3,000-meter run with a time of 3.89 seconds, over half a minute ahead of the second-place finisher.
“I got off to a fast start,” said Race. “The coaches were giving me my splits every lap, so I knew what pace I had to run to get to the qualifying time which was 9:10. So, I knew I had to stay under that pace to qualify, and I got it done.”
Lopez was victorious in the 1,000-meter run with a time of two minutes and 41.54 seconds.
“I didn’t care about time today,” said Lopez. “All I cared about was competing and trying to get a good win.”
President Marcia Welsh was in attendance and professed her love for the relay events.
“The DeSchriver Tournament has been a tremendous legacy for this university,” said President Welsh. “Just organized chaos at its best.”
The Track and Field team did the university president proud as both the women and men swept all six relay events.
The 4×400 meter relay events produced some of the fastest times of the meet.
The women’s 4×400 meter relay team of freshman Ariel Kyle, Stitzer, Webster, and Jones ran the event in four minutes and 4.99 seconds to take first place.
Jones loves the role of being the closer for the relay team.
“I used the strength and energy of my team to push through,” said Jones.
The men’s 4×400 meter relay team was equally impressive.
Sophomore Jalen Bailey, sophomore Sean Roberts, senior Andrew Schumacher, and sophomore Mamadu Bari ran away from the field in a time of three minutes and 25.20 seconds.
The fantastic foursome credited their team chemistry for their success on the track.
Many alumni participated in this year’s alumni mile.
Former cross-country student-athlete Anthony Ruiz won the event comfortably in a time of four minutes and 49.35 seconds.
Ruiz graduated in 2016 and earned his law degree at George Washington University last year.
Ruiz is now a corporate attorney at AARP and is a volunteer coach for George Washington University’s track and cross-country teams.
“Coming back and representing ESU one more time is the best feeling in the world,” Ruiz said.
Ford was beaming with pride after the meet.
“We are just continuing the legacy that Joe [Koch] and [Chris] Merli have put toward the program. They were my coaches when I was here,” said Ford.
Koch was also proud of his student-athletes.
“It’s obviously always fun competing at home for the kids,” said Koch. “Their family is here, and their friends and roommates are here. We always seem to do well–a lot of PRs. We’d like to bottle it up and take it everywhere.”
The Track and Field team returns to the competition tomorrow when the Warriors host the Quad Meet beginning at 6 p.m. at Koehler Fieldhouse.
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