ESU’s Track and Field Crushes Quad Meet

Photo Credit/ Ronald Hanaki Freshman Ayanna Whittaker (left in red) and sophomore Jannae Bonds (right in red) compete in the 55 meter hurdles.

Ronald Hanaki

Staff Writer

It was another banner day for ESU Track and Field as the Warriors crushed the field at the Quad Meet. The women scored 117.50 points and the men tallied 166 points to beat their Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) rivals West Chester, Kutztown, and Bloomsburg last Friday night at Koehler Fieldhouse.

The men set seven new PSAC qualifying marks, and the women had six new PSAC qualifying marks at the Quad Meet. 

The field athletes were led by sophomore Justin Miller. His mark of 23 feet and six inches in the long jump provisionally qualified him for the collegiate national championships. 

“My whole goal was to get nationals for the long jump. I was just focused and jumped with everything I had,” Miller said. 

Miller credited God, his family and everybody else on the ESU Track team for his success. “They gave me hope, and I do everything for them”, he added. 

Senior Me’ Saj Closs led all weight throwers. She broke the old school record, and her weight throw of 55 feet and six-and-a-half inches is a new school record.

It was truly an ensemble performance by ESU on this day. Many Warriors turned in strong efforts which enabled ESU as a team to dominate the meet. 

Senior Tiana Webster won the women’s 55 meters and 200-meter dashes.

“I’ve actually never raced the open 200. I am a senior, so it was nice to run here. But it’s similar to the relays. It was good competition from the other girls and another season PR [Personal Record] for me,” Webster said. 

The Warriors finished one-two in the 800-meter run. Super freshman Austin Hamilton led the field wire-to-wire and finished the race in 1:57.82.

Senior Andrew Lopez was second in a time of 1:59.34. Senior Jeremy Smith and junior Nathan Senatore finished one-two in the grueling men’s 5,000-meter run. Senatore was just one second behind his teammate.

“It was a tough race. I just wanted to get out and qualify. At the end of the day, I am happy with what I came out with,” Senatore told the Courier. 

Sophomore Luke Valdevit’s time of 4:35.32 made him the runner-up in the men’s one-mile run. 

Junior Teddy Mostellar finished the event in fourth place with a time of 4:36.09. 

“It was good. I am usually used to doing distance events. I was fast in the mile, so this was a good change,” Mostellar said. 

The Warriors took the top seven spots in the men’s 200-meter dash.

Freshman Austin Nice came in fifth place in a time of 23.45 seconds. The ladies’ man had many women screaming for him as he crossed the finish line. 

“It was pretty good,” Nice said. “Last time, I didn’t get the time I wanted, but this felt a lot better.” 

Four Warriors took the top six spots in the men’s 400-meter dash.

They were led by sophomore Sean Roberts, who was the runner-up in a time of 51.24 seconds. 

Zandrew Bowe was fourth in a time of 51.73 seconds. 

Colin Crosbie finished in sixth place in a time of 51.83 seconds. 

“I got out and did what I wanted to. I am just happy to qualify. It helped me with my 800,” Crosbie said. 

Senior Sarah Klag and freshman Ariel Kyle took the top two spots in the women’s 400-meter dash.

Freshman Jada Whiteman finished in sixth place for the Warriors in a time of 1:04.24. 

“It was a tough race, but in the end, I passed the girl and leaned. So it was good,” Whiteman said. 

Senior Jenna Vledder was among the leaders in the women’s 5,000-meter run. But toward the end of the race, she fell and collapsed to the ground

Freshman Samantha Brawner was running the same race and saw the whole thing happen. 

“I wanted to keep her going as her teammate. She has high goals, so I hope she can still achieve them,” Brawner said afterward.

For Brawner, this was her first distance race at the college level. She improved her PR by ten seconds. She added, “It was my first 5K. I am a freshman, so it was nice. It’s a lot of laps and hard to keep track of it, but everyone is so motivating”.

The women’s 4×400 meter relay ended in dramatic fashion. ESU’s relay team had the lead going into the final lap, but they were bested by West Chester’s team at the finish line. Senior Allyson Stitzer ran the final leg for ESU. 

“That girl that I was running against is an All-American. She is seeded second in the pentathlon right now. She is amazing,” Stitzer said. “She got me in the end, but I still ran strong. It was just after I ran the 800, My legs are tired, but I am excited and looking forward to the championships.”

Joe Koch is the Head Coach of ESU Men’s Track and Field. “We won the meet on both sides. And being against conference schools, it was pretty good competition,” Koch said. “We are three weeks out from our conference championship, so we got to stay healthy. We are moving in the right direction. The kids are improving every week, so that is encouraging”. 

ESU Track and Field returns to action tomorrow at the Fast Track National Invitational hosted by Wagner University on Staten Island, N.Y. 

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