The Pitt State track and field teams participated in the Washington University Invite and the Oral Roberts University (ORU) Invite from Friday, March 29 to Saturday, March 30.
Head coach Russ Jewett believes the team performed well at the Wash U Invite.
“…They did really well I thought for the most part,” Jewett said. “Sara Kernodle had a lifetime best in the 5k. Katren Rienbolt I think was right at her lifetime best. (She had) a really strong competitive race as well. Then I thought Piper Misse came along and did better at that meet than she did during the indoor season I think so she is rounding into shape I guess, fitness and competitiveness…”
During this competition, the teams were faced with poor weather conditions.
“They just raced well in a big crowd,” Jewett said. “There were 50 people on the track in each of those races which is a huge number of people to put on the track for 5,000 meters. The reason they did that was (because of) the storms that were coming in. They just had to get it going (and) just kind of receded things and made bigger sections but they did well with that I thought.”
At the ORU Invite, the teams were faced with poor weather conditions.
“… The weather was not good. It was really cold, windy, (and) on the first day it rained so I thought that our teams did a pretty good job of adjusting to the conditions if you will,” Jewett said. “Not all of us did, we had some that probably did not compete very well… Overall it was a pretty good outing for us down there at ORU considering the conditions.”
Despite the weather, there were two individual event victories. Renee Rhodes won the pole vault and Colin Webber won the 800 meters.
“I think Renee Rhodes probably had the performance of the meet for the women at least,” Jewett said. “She won the pole vault, vaulted 13 feet, and really not very good conditions. It was very cold, and it is hard to pole vault very high when it is cold and breezy, so she really did a great job. (It was her) lifetime best, strong… (I was) really proud of her. The other vaulters did well too. I thought Nia Lunn had a good meet and… competed really well. All of our hundred hurdlers, Jones, Penne, Mosby, I thought did really well. All three of those had PRs again in really cold weather. Jena Black did hammer throw.”
Several competitors on the men’s team stood out to Jewett.
“On the guy’s side, (there were) not a lot of great performances there,” Jewett said. “Big competitive efforts I would say from Payton Copher in the sprint, he is a freshman on our team. I think Colin Webber won his section of the 800 and did a great job… It is hard to tell with the weather the way it was, adverse conditions and the surface was really slick for those guys. Probably on the men’s side, the best performance was probably the javelin throw for Kameron Swenson. He threw 207 feet in really cold (weather, with) not good conditions. So, I think that is really good (and) that is his best for us. Jerod Toogood… has not competed for two year because of injuries so this was his first meet ever at Pitt State...”
Competitors from the track and field teams will travel to Angelo State Thursday, April 4 and Friday, April 5 then to Southwest Baptist Saturday, April 6.
“We are actually splitting the squad again,” Jewett said. “We are taking the sprinters, jumpers, hurdlers, throwers down to Angelo State for a really meet down there and hopefully much better weather than we had this last weekend. Then we are taking the distance runners over to Southwest Baptist. We do this because we find the best competition for each group on occasion and this is one of those occasions. The distance races are much better at Southwest Baptist and then the sprints and all the other events are much better at Angelo State. What we are looking for is starting to get some qualifying times to nationals and performances to nationals to get on the list. You always have the chance to get accepted into nationals …we are splitting squads to try and accomplish that. That is our main objective, I think, for this weekend.”