The indoor track and field season came to a head this weekend, as the best in the PSAC came together for a star-studded clash at Edinboro’s Mike S. Zafirovski Sports and Recreation Dome. It would be the Red Raiders who’d steal the spot light this Sunday, though brining home conference championships in both the men’s and women’s events.
The competition looked stiff for both teams heading into the weekend, but it wasn’t enough to trip up these Raiders. Whether it was the confidence in a senior heavy lineup, or the result of some late heroics, the teams figured out how to get it done, claiming the 2015 PSAC Indoor Track Championship.
The Men’s team came into the weekend with 14 seniors and 40 seeds among the league’s top 8 performances. It’s this experience that coach Dave Osanitsch believes contributed to their success,
“I think so many have been there before, so they go in there and they’re not kind of shell-shocked by the overwhelming PSAC atmosphere,” Osanitsch said in an SU Sports Information release, “We’ve done this before; we know what to expect. And I think that really helps.”
They certainly did perform like they’ve been there before. The Raiders handled the competition by scoring 190.5 points en route to a 57-point win over second-place Slippery Rock.
The win is highlighted by performances from Shippensburg’s LeQuan Chapman and Brayden Burleigh, who took the Field MVP and Track MVP, respectively.
Chapman claimed the title in the triple jump for his second straight year, providing 20 team points along the way.
Burleigh set a meet-record in the 3k posting a time of 8:14:66. The performance was good enough to propel him to 13th on the national list in the event.
The Raiders posted four event wins, 13 all-conference finishes, and had 33 athletes contribute to the team score this weekend. With the win, the Raiders men’s team claims their fifth consecutive league title and set the tone for the spring season.
The women’s side of things offered a little more drama than the men’s side, featuring stiff competition between the Raiders and Slippery Rock. Things got heated down the stretch, as the Raiders traded leads with Slippery Rock though out the day,
“It was pretty wild at the end of the meet,” Osantisch said, “People kept running back and forth checking the scores of the two events.”
It would be the 4x4 relay that pulled through once again. The team of Bri Fells, Kiana Tucker, Lindsay Sheehan, and Megan Lundy pulled through with a close win with a time of 3:54:85. It was no issues for these ladies however, because they held the all-time PSAC indoor record.
Other notable performances came from sophomore Sarah Hunt who won her first PSAC championship in the triple jump, and senior Liz Ross and the rest of the throwers who were so instrumental to the win.
With the win the Raider improve upon a 3rd place finish the previous year.
“It’s pretty darn exciting,” coach Osanitsch said of the win. “I’m extremely proud of this great group of women.”
The season is by no means over, as some of the Raiders best will travel to the NCAA indoor championships in Alabama in two weeks to see if they can keep the magic going.