Bittersweet weekend

Tyler Smith | reporter

Track team shines in Lincoln, drops the ball in Joplin

The Pitt State track and field team sent some of its athletes to compete at the Frank Sevigne Husker Invitational in Lincoln, Neb., for a Division I meet on Saturday while the rest of the team found itself in Joplin, Mo., for the Lion Invitational held at the Leggett and Platt Athletic Center.
In Lincoln, senior Emily Ballock placed a provisional qualifying mark of 2 minutes, 14.11 seconds in the women’s 800 meters while senior Adam Volkert ran for a sixth place spot in the men’s 5,000-meter race with a time of 14 minutes and 51.62 seconds.
For the men’s 800-meter race, Jordan Peters and James Carter III placed seventh and 12th with times of 1:57.35 and 1:57.50.
Head coach Russ Jewett said that the Division I meet means a lot to the qualifying athletes and it has a bigger feel to it, which should help the Gorillas as they look toward nationals.track
“It was a great experience for them in terms of level of competition,” Jewett said, “and the facility that if they do qualify to nationals, that will help them.”
While they could take only the athletes who met certain standards to be accepted into the meet, the rest of the team road-tripped to Missouri Southern where numerous athletes found success in the two-day event.track
“We had some disappointing outcomes at Missouri Southern, but I think a lot more positive,” Jewett said. “I feel like it was a lot better weekend than a week ago so I think we made progress from last weekend to this past weekend.”
Sophomore Jeffery Piepenbrink earned a second-place spot in the heptathalon, with victories in the pole vault, shot put, as well as a second place in the 60-meter dash.
“I like what our distance- and middle-distance runners did at Missouri Southern,” Jewett said. “Again, we had been a little lackluster up until that point and kind of came around and this is the time of the season that you need to start performing a little better.”
As for the coming outdoor season, Jewett said, several field athletes are eager to get the ball rolling.
“Some of those athletes are really excited because they don’t have an indoor event,” Jewett said. “The javelin throwers, the discus throwers, the hammer throwers, the 400 hurdlers, but we’re still focused on indoor track and field.”
Next up for the Gorillas is a trip to Norman, Okla., for the OBU Invitation this Saturday, Feb. 9.

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