Going hard at home
Michael Bauer | reporter
The Pittsburg State Gorilla track and field teams returned home this past weekend to compete at the fifth-annual David Suenram Gorilla Classic on Saturday, April 13.
Both men’s and women’s teams put up solid numbers on a day when, unlike the PSU Invitational, the weather was more favorable.
“I was pleased with our teams’ efforts, we had some nice performers,” said Russ Jewett, head coach. “We had a few disappointing performances but those were outweighed by the good ones.”
The Gorilla women finished the day with nine individual victories, and the men had seven first-place finishers.
Larissa Richards was first place in her shot put event, throwing for 49 feet, .75 inches. She also did well in the discus throw, with a toss of 181 feet.
She took second in the hammer throw with a toss of 154 feet, 10 inches. Her performance was enough to get her named MIAA field athlete of the week for the third time this season.
But the women’s performances didn’t end with Richards. Ramie Grayson was victorious in the 100-meter dash and the 200-meter with times of 12.04 and 24.82, respectively.
“Ramie showed flashes of brilliance,” Jewett said. “This is quite possibly her best performance since joining us. She’s really coming into her own.”
Shannon Danaher was first in the 800-meter run and Amanda Callaway won the 1,500 meters. Emily Ballock took first in the 400-meter hurdles in a time of 1:00.73.
To round out the women, Amber Kloster was first in the javelin throw competition in a throw of 141 feet, 11 inches.
“Some races were tougher than others in terms of competition,” Jewett said. “The sprints were really tough, the throws were really good.”
On the men’s side, Kyle Utsey was victorious in the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.65. James Carter III won the 800-meter run with a time of 1:54.48, while Ryan Ramler won the 400-meter hurdles in 54.22 seconds.
For Utsey, it was a redeeming performance after finishing ninth in the long jump.
“I think Kyle had a great weekend,” Jewett said. “He had a subpar performance in the long jump but in the 100 and 200, he did great. He’s a team guy.”
Steven Mann won the long jump and Marquise Cushon took second in the triple jump with a mark of 50-0.5.
John Talbert earned an MIAA Men’s Field Athlete of the Week award with his throw in the discus in 186 feet, 8 inches. He finished with a throw of 183 feet, 11 inches in the hammer throw.
Jeff Piepenbrink was second in the pole vault with a clearance of 16 feet, 8 inches.
There were well over 800 athletes competing at the meet on Saturday. Jewett said to make it a success, there were many athletes from other PSU teams helping out with the events. Those ranged from raking the long jump sand pit to keeping times for the running events and measuring the throws.
“We almost had a thousand athletes competing,” Jewett said. “The meet was a success. Coach (Tim) Beck loaned us some football players on Saturday to help out. It’s really a team effort with athletics and everyone involved.”