The Pitt State women’s track and field team finished in eighth place while the men brought home thirteenth at the 2019 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships Saturday, May 25.
Head Coach Russ Jewett is extremely proud of both teams.
“Well when you think about things in perspective, we love to win anything we compete in but when you talk about the national championship and there is… well over 250 school in the division I think (and) finishing eighth and thirteenth is pretty good. I was really pleased with our women’s team. We had a couple of individual national champs. That is ten points each for the team on your way to the eighth-place team total and that is pretty cool when you get individual event titles along the way, especially the young ladies that got those, so it was really cool. Our guys really performed much better than we were ranked coming in as did the girls, but it was really good (and) a good way to end the season.”
Jewett has a couple of favorite highlights of the season.
“… Well, we love the conference championships and so if you think of the whole outdoor season certainly winning the women’s conference outdoor championship, albeit by the narrowest of margins, was certainly a highlight of the season because championships are not easy to win in this conference and they are very important to us,” Jewett said. “Then I think the national championships, both genders, were a highlight… Haven Lander winning the pole vault is a big highlight, especially jumping 14 feet to do it. Courtney Nelson winning the 100 Hurdles after being runner up several times was really cool, especially the way she did it with a lifetime best by a bunch… Those were big season highlights.”
According to Jewett the teams have both grown as athletes and as people over the course of this season.
“When you look at one season, you definitely see growth,” Jewett said. “You see growth athletically and that is what you recognized that in terms of when they performed better than they did earlier in the season. But really the most important kind of growth that we see as coaches is their human developmental growth. They develop as stronger humans, stronger people. They are tougher, they appreciate work ethic, and they grow together more as teammates and eventually as lifelong friends. That is a really cool thing to experience too as a coach.”
Jewett is especially proud of the men’s team who have struggled with different things a lot this season.
“…I have been doing this a long time and I would say every year you deal with adversity with a team,” Jewett said. “I think this year especially the men’s team probably (had) way above average adversity with different things but I was really proud of our men’s team. We did not win a championship this year, but I was awfully proud of the way the guys that were on the team fought and really did their best to honor their tradition… We had some things happen that we not in our control that really got in our way… so I was really proud of our men’s team and our women as well.”