Track and field squads split up, dominate two outdoor competitions

Category:  Sports
Wednesday, April 4th, 2018 at 5:10 PM

The men’s and women’s track and field teams returned to outdoor action after a week off. The teams’ top runners competed at the Fred Hardy Invitational in Richmond, Virginia, while others, including stars in the field, competed at the Wooster Invitational in Wooster, Ohio.

Highlighting the weekend for the Fighting Scots in Richmond was Corey Wefing, who would shave half a second off his 800-meter run provisional time, winning the non-Division I race in 1 minute, 51.28 seconds. That time currently ranks third among Division II runners. He also won the 1,500-meter run with a PSAC-qualifying time of 3:51.36, which narrowly missed the NCAA provisional mark.

Previously, Wefing was named the first PSAC Men’s Outdoor Track Athlete of the Week for the season on March 27 after posting an NCAA provisional time in the 800 at the 49er Classic on March 17 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“Corey is rolling right now,” Head Track and Field Coach Anne Cleary said of the runner’s recent success. 

“Unfortunately, last year he competed in the first two meets and was looking really well and then he got injured and had to medical redshirt, which was pretty crushing for him,” she explained. “But he definitely picked up where he’s left off, and that’s great.”

Eugene Baritot also placed at the Fred Hardy Invitational, finishing second in the non-Division I 3,000-meter steeplechase, with a time of 9:21.34, which is a PSAC-qualifying mark.

For the women, freshman star Jasmine Fehr continued her hot start to the outdoor season, finishing second among non-Division I runners in the 800 with a PSAC-qualifying time of 2:14.12.

Cleary said Fehr was unable to qualify for the indoor conference meet in the 800 due to a lack of opportunities later in the season, so they wanted to give her the races to qualify at the beginning of the outdoor season.

Senior Erin O’Brien qualified for the PSAC Championship meet with a fourth-place finish of 1:06.75 in the 400 hurdles. That mark was also a personal best for O’Brien. She came close to qualifying in the 400 dash, but still set a personal record of 1:00.99 in the race.

“When we went two weeks ago [to the 49er Classic, O’Brien] just ran relays, so that’s really exciting that in the first time she got an opportunity to really run for herself, she had a huge weekend,” Cleary said.

At the Wooster Invitational, the women finished second out of 10 teams despite missing their top runners.

Junior Gabby Schultz shined in the field events for the Fighting Scots. She won the shot put and discus events with NCAA provisional distances. She also set a stadium record with her 14.40-meter shot put throw, which currently ranks ninth among Division II throwers. Her 44.81-meter discus distance ranks 18th in Division II.

Cleary had glowing words for Schultz. She acknowledged there was still room for improvement in her marks, but said she expects her to be able to qualify by the end of the season.

“Gabby gets it done every weekend it seems like, doesn’t it?” she said.

Olivia Rowe also took home a first-place finish in the 100-meter dash with a PSAC-qualifying time of 15.60 seconds. She placed fourth in the long jump with a distance of 5.31 meters, also a PSAC qualifying distance.

Abbey Lang rounded out the Fighting Scots’ first-place finishes with a 4:49.61 time in the 1,500, which qualifies her for the conference meet as well.

The men had a pair of top-five finishes in the javelin throw. Trae Smith finished third with a 48.91-meter (160 feet, 5 inches) throw, while Devon Brown had a 44.56-meter (146-2) throw, good for fifth place.

Cleary said the cold, wet weather in Edinboro has prevented the team’s throwers from properly preparing for outdoor competition, leading to mostly less-than-desired performances.

The Fighting Scots also had five men finish in the top-10 in the 1,500, including Eduardo Tapia, who won the race in 4:06.32, missing the PSAC qualifying time by less than half a second.

Joel Lohr also narrowly missed qualifying for the conference meet when he finished second in the 400 with a time of 50.81 seconds. He missed the qualifying mark by .12 seconds.

Cleary said Lohr is on pace to qualify for the conference meet sometime soon, and mentioned that he didn’t qualify for the conference meet last year until halfway through the season.

“Joel is dropping his times every week as expected,” she said. “[If] you look at his times compared to a year ago, he’s ahead of pace for us right now, so we’re very happy with that.”

The team will get their next chance to drop times Saturday when the men and women are scheduled to participate in the Dave Labor Invitational hosted by Slippery Rock University.

Cleary said she hopes the weather is more cooperative in the coming weeks, particularly the snow and rain forecasted to hit the region.

“And I know that’s the complaint from every spring sport right now, [so] we’re far from the only ones, but we’re hoping just for a little bit nicer weather just so we can get outside,” she explained. “The dome is a huge blessing, but right now we would rather be outside.”

Christopher Rosato Jr. can be reached at sports.spectator@gmail.com

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