The 2016–17 indoor track-and-field season officially got underway this past weekend with a strong showing by Shippensburg University at the Bison Opener hosted by Bucknell University.
SU earned 52 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) qualifying marks over the two-day competition. It also had seven NCAA provisional qualifiers.
The women’s team achieved 25 PSAC qualifying marks, and two NCAA provisional qualifiers.
The highlight of SU’s NCAA provisional qualifiers was senior jumper Sarah Hunt. Her jump of 19 feet 2 inches was the best in NCAA Division II competition thus far.
Hunt’s triple jump was measured at a distance of 37 feet 11 1/4 inches, good enough for third in the competition and another NCAA Division II provisional qualification.
Hunt’s strong performance in the field continued on the track where she led the Raider charge with a time of 7.81 seconds in the 60-meter dash preliminary race.
Another first-place finisher in the Bison Opener for SU was junior Kali Hepner, who competed in the pole vault. Hepner soared to a height of 11 feet 5 3/4 inches to tie for first in the competition and earn a PSAC qualification.
Freshmen Raiders made the most of their indoor debuts for SU, most notably being Mary Ramsden. Ramsden earned two PSAC qualifications and led the way for the Raiders in the 200-meter race, posting a time of 26.34 seconds. She also ran a time of 8.09 seconds in the 60-meter dash.
Another freshman standout in the competition for SU was Christen Kelly, who earned a PSAC qualification by running 1:01.13 in the 400-meter race.
The men’s indoor track-and-field team also had some big performances as well.
The team posted five NCAA provisional qualifiers and 27 PSAC qualifiers.
On the track, sophomore sprinter Chris Craig earned an NCAA provisional qualifier by finishing with the top time of 22.01 seconds in the 200-meter race.
Another NCAA provisional qualifier for SU was junior jumper Tra-C Davis, who jumped a height of 6 feet 10 1/4 inches in the high jump competition — the best jump of the meet, as well as the best in NCAA Division II at the time it was recorded.
SU shined in the shot put event, earning two qualifiers. Junior Alec Rideout had a new personal best throw of 56 feet 2 1/2 inches, which earned him an NCAA provisional qualification. Senior Caleb Bartlett rounded out SU with a PSAC-qualifying throw of 46 feet 10 3/4 inches.
The Raiders also had a strong outing on the track, achieving 13 PSAC qualifiers in all six track events. Those events included the 60-meter race, 60-meter hurdles, 200-meter race, 400-meter race, 800-meter race and the 4x400 meter relay.
The 4x400 meter relay was a highlight for SU, as it won the event. Junior Ricky Meriwether, sophomore Austin Shupp, senior Tim Usher and freshman Keir Miner ran for the Raiders. They earned a PSAC qualification and won the event with a time of 3:24.39.
The Bison Opener is the only indoor meet SU will compete in during the fall semester. The Raiders will now step away from competition for six weeks, until heading to Bucknell again to compete in the Gulden Invitational on Jan. 21.
The Gulden Invitational will be the second meet of the season. The Raiders will then travel to Penn State University to participate in the National Invitational. SU will look to build on its success before heading to the PSAC Championships on Feb. 21 at Edinboro University.