Curtis Meyer reporter
The Pitt State Gorillas had a strong outing at home this weekend, with their first home outdoor track and field event of the young season. Fueled by strong performances on both men’s and women’s teams, the Gorillas are off to a strong start.
“I thought we did good. We had great weather, of course any meet you’re gonna have your ups and downs. We had some really good performances like our 4×100 men’s broke the school record and did a great job,” said head coach Kyle Rutledge.
The men’s 4×100 smashed the school record, as well as the stadium record. Consisting of junior Dre’Shaun Sanders, sophomore Makai Blades, freshman Xavier Carmichel, and senior Tevin Wright-Rose, they combined for a blazing 39.76 seconds.
Two others in the men’s team won their events, sophomore Caleb Calvin in the javelin throw with a 228-0 and junior L. J. Kiner in the long jump with a 24-5.75.
“As a team those guys always do great. We have got a ton of good athletes so I’m just happy to be a part of a team that has so much depth and has so much talent at every single event,” said senior Konnor Swenson.
In other men’s action senior Diego Contreras placed second in the 1,500m (3:53.12); freshman Britton Gage finished third in the pole vault (15-11.75); sophomore Hunter Jones placed third in the 110m hurdles (15.07); Wright-Rose finished third in the 100m (10.55); and Sanders finished third in the 200m (21.33).
On top of this, sophomore Cole Sample finished fourth in shot put, Swenson posted fourth in hammer throw, sophomore Braden Zaner finished fourth in the 1500 meter, and freshman E’lan Moore finished fifth in the discus.
On the women’s side, freshman Taniya Looney won the 200 meters with a 23.83 and senior Allay Liberatore won the women’s high jump with a 5-6.5. Junior Erica Schamel and freshman Rachel Wilson placed second and third, respectively, in the high jump.
Freshman Makayla Watson placed second in the long jump, senior Camryn Williams placed second in the shot put and third in discus throwing. Sophomore Nakiya Marshall finished second in the 100-meter hurdles while freshman Kinleigh Hall finished second in the 400 meters.
“I think it went awesome. We had definitely a couple of weeks of hard training, so it was kind of nice to get that payoff. I know a lot of the people around me got some new PRs, I got two myself, it was nice to to see that hard work pay off,” said sophomore Mattie Flanagan.
Finishing out the women’s side, sophomore Rylee Garrett, junior Madison Reese, and freshman Shelby Sogard placed third, fourth, and fifth in the javelin throw, respectively. Sophomore Erin Hammeke placed third in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, and freshman Kaci Singer placed third in the 5,000 meters.
With less than a month of school left, events like these become more about preparing yourself for the conference and NCAA tournaments upcoming. Athletes look to reset as they transition from outdoor to indoor track and field and try to capture another national title for Pitt State.
“We’ve got a good veteran group that they feel fine, and they know, they’re not too worried about it. Starting to come out of it and get refocused for the outdoor season. That’s natural though, you can’t go through that and expect to jump right back into this thing and be fine. Even as coaching staff you’re still trying to get your head wrapped around it mentally that there’s another season,” said coach Rutledge.