Curtis Meyer reporter
Both men’s and women’s track and field took home the gold this past weekend, at the Rumble in the Jungle, with the men’s team scoring 230 points and the women’s team scoring 269 points. This was fueled by many individual performances, with 10 first-place appearances by the women and 8 by the men.
“I think we had a good day overall, of course we’re going to have some ups and downs, and we’re still trying to figure out some things, but I think our kids competed well. We had some really good marks from some young kids early on that did a great job,” said Head Coach Kyle Rutledge.
It was freshman Xaiver Carmichael that broke the school’s indoor track record in the 60-meter run, with a winning time of 6.62 seconds, breaking the previous record set in 2018 of 6.85 set by Juante Baldwin. He also posted the sixth fastest time in school history in the 200 meters, also winning that event.
Pitt State continued its domination of the meet with L. J. Kliner winning the long jump with a mark of 23-3.5, for third best in school history. In the men’s 400 meters they cleaned house with the top three runners in the crimson and gold uniforms. Braylen Brewer had the fast time of the race with a 47.36, with teammates Sam Tudor and Bailey Stone finishing behind him, respectively.
T. J. Caldwell with a 7.85 and Daylin Williams with a 7.90 finished one and two in the 60 meter hurdles. Makai Blades placed second in both the 60 meters and 200 meters and Diego Contreras won the men’s mile run with a time of 4:08.34, marking the fourth best in school history.
Finally, Konnor Swenson earned first in shot put, while also placing second in the weight throw. Fellow Gorilla Cole Sample won the weight throw, while taking second behind Swenson in shot put.
Team Captain Nizar Alarahshun credits the Gorillas success to mental preparedness, both before and during the competitions.
“So for me, I like to visualize, and see myself winning the race, yeah I like to visualize I’m a visual person and I like to see myself so when I’m in the moment it doesn’t surprise me. I kind of treat it like practice, so I practice the way I play. When we warm up I have one headphone in, I like to listen to gospel music, it gets me in the mood. If I ever get anxiety I just remind myself why I’m here and that whatever happens happens,” said Alarahshun.
The Pitt State women’s team also cleaned shop, with Sky Hagan posting the third fastest time in school history in the 60 meter hurdles, with Taniya Looney winning the 60 meter run and Jamiya Morgan winning the 200 meter run.
Allary Liberatore won the high jump, with teammate Erica Schamel placing second. Auna Childress earned first in the long jump and Mattie Flanagan placed second to give Pitt another 1-2 win. Kyla Davis won women’s pole vault, Camryn Williams won the shot put, and Abby Lasiter finished in first in the weight throw.
This performance by both teams bodes well as the Gorilla’s season continues, placing high expectations as the team continues to their next meet. With both men’s and women’s wishing to go to the national championship, the season could hardly have gotten off to a better start.
“Our goal is to be at the top of the conference, being very competitive, and taking the competition to nationals, where hopefully we are placing at the top. There’s a lot of things that can happen, but right now we’re just trying to get kids to get healthy, really see where we’re at and see what develops over the next couple of weeks,” said Rutledge.
Pitt State’s next meet will be the Wendy’s/Pittsburg State Invitational on Jan. 28 at the Plaster Center.