Rain doesn’t hinder Gorillas

Michael Bauer | reporter

The Pittsburg State track and field team had to compete against more than just the other schools at the Wendy’s PSU Invite on Saturday, March 30: They also had to face Mother Nature.
Inclement weather heaved a three-hour delay on the athletes. That did not stop the Gorillas from competing hard as head coach Russ Jewett says he was pleased with the way the athletes performed, despite the conditions.
“I think our kids handled that delay pretty well,” Jewett said. “Sometimes that can distract your athletes, especially the way it happened. We didn’t know it was going to be over a two-hour delay.”
In trying to cope with the delay, Jewett says it is a matter of simply trying to relax the athletes.
“You have to decompress, especially if you’re about to compete,” Jewett said. “You have to relax and get out of harm’s way, and then just stay loose. You get away from the intensity of the competition.”
The PSU men’s 400-meter relay team was victorious in their event, winning with a time of 40.23 seconds, which was a meet record, while the men’s 1,600-meter relay team won with a time of 3:19.22.
Distance runner Adam Volkert won the 1,500 meters with a time of 3:55.45.
“I thought he did really well,” Jewett said. “He’s not a miler by trade. He can run a good 1,500 but he’s more of a long distance runner but he did a good job of taking the lead and not relinquishing it.”
In the hammer throw, John Talbert took first with a toss of 190-11, and took third in the discus.
Luke Wilson was second for the Gorillas in the hammer with a throw of 176-2, while Aaron Dean took second in the javelin.
Jeff Piepenbrink was first in the pole vault with a clearance of 16 feet, 7.5 inches. Josh Phillips was third in the pole vaults by going 15 feet, 3.75 inches.
“Our 400 hurdlers did pretty well and our throwers competed pretty well,” Jewett said.
On the women’s side, Emily Ballock finished second in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:00.56. Amanda Callaway was third in the 800 meters in 2:17.59 while Casey Epps finished third in the 1,500 meters in a time of 4:47.86.
Hannah DeVries finished third in the 5,000 meters in a time of 17:59.65 and Lauren Ouderkirk placed fourth in the 400-meter hurdles.
Both of PSU’s track teams may have done well, but Jewett says there were some athletes who were injured on the women’s side, one in which triple jumper Jalexis Peterson was affected, harming her performance.
The 1,600-meter relay team of Ballock, Hillary Dickey, Ouderkirk and Ramie Grayson raced to victory in 3:55.78.
In the field events, Larissa Richards won the shot put with a throw of 44-2.5, and was second in the hammer.
Randi Pierce finished third in the high jump, in a jump of 5-5.75, while Amber Kloster was fourth in the javelin. Tessa Westhoff placed fifth in the javelin.
“I think our kids handled (the weather) all right and in the overall picture, our team did pretty well,” Jewett said.
The Gorillas will next head to Emporia for the Emporia State University relays on Saturday, April 6.

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