Curtis Meyer reporter
The Gorillas men’s Track and Field program continued to impress, once again proving its position as number one in in the weekly rankings for the USTFCCCA. The women hold a spot at No. six overall, down one from their ranking a week ago.
Both teams had a strong showing this week, starting with three Pitt State athletes being named for MIAA Athlete of the Week Honors. Junior Auna Childress and junior L. J. Kiner, both jumpers, as well as sophomore hurdler Cordell Tinch all earned MIAA weekly honors for their performances last week at the 8th annual Indoor Gorilla Classic.
Tinch, in particular, was named the NCAA Division II Men’s Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Week for the second week in a row. Tinch broke the NCAA division II record in the 60 meter hurdles last week at the Gorilla Classic, besting the previous mark set in 2016. He also posted the third best mark in Division II this season in the high jump, breaking Pitt State’s school record.
Kiner posted the third best mark in Division II in the triple jump, holding the Pitt State school record in that event. Childress holds the best mark in Division II triple jump for the women, breaking the previous Pitt State school record she set.
Both teams had their last event of the season before the MIAA indoor championships on Feb. 24 at the Arkansas Qualifier. Hosted by the University of Arkansas, Pitt State athletes were given an opportunity to perform against Division I schools.
The Gorillas were up to the challenge, posting respectable times in multiple events, in what amounts to a good tune up before the championships. A good handful of athletes recorded personal bests, giving them momentum as they head into the week before the real competition begins.
Starting with sophomore Cole Sample, who posted a 60-10.75 in the men’s weight throw, sophomore Braden Zaner and senior Diego Contreras with times of 4:05.89 and 4:05.99, respectively. In the men’s mile run, sophomore Antoine Evans Jr. with a 21.43 in the men’s 200 meters, senior Tevin Wright-Rose with a 6.77 in the men’s 60 meters. And freshman Kinleigh Hall with a 56.12 in the women’s 400 meters all posted their personal bests.
Zaner and Contreras were second and third in the men’s mile run, and Hall was third in the 400 meters. Freshmen Taniya Looney matched her personal best in the women’s 60 meters with a 7.51, still good for third fastest in Pitt State school history.
Tinch, fresh off his back to back performance as NCAA Division II athlete of the week, won the elite long jump competition with a jump of 25-8.75. With this performance Tinch now holds the top marks in Division II this year, while no other Division II athlete has cracked 25-6 to date this season.
Sophomore Octavia Duncan posted a best mark of 53-7.75 in the women’s weight throw, while freshman Makayla Watson had a best mark of 18-4.25 in the women’s long jump. Freshman Jentrie Alderson ran 4:59.77 in the women’s mile run, which was just off her personal best of 4:59.19.
The Gorillas will host the MIAA Indoor Championships next, from Feb. 24-26. From there it’s the NCAA Division II Indoor National Championships, where the Gorillas will hope to take both men’s and women’s teams in an effort to win it all.