The majority of the Shippensburg University men’s and women’s track-and-field athletes opened this weekend at the Fred Hardy Invitational at the University of Richmond in Virginia.
The two-day meet was a success for most of the athletes, with several strong performances earning qualifying times in every event group.
There were a lot of non-Division I first-place finishes from the men including junior Cam Strohe in the men’s shotput, throwing 1.66 meters. Strohe returned to the circle to take first again, reaching 54.49 meters in the hammer throw.
Strohe was pleased with his performance and the effort put in by the rest of the team.
“I think we are in a very good spot,” he said. “We have been working very hard at practice and it has started to pay off with many new personal bests this week and many PSAC qualifiers.”
Senior Abby Wagner took first in the triple jump with a 12.71-meter jump, continuing her impressive performances from the final stretch of the indoor season. The mark was also a new outdoor best for Wagner.
Freshman Aaron Arp Jr. took first at the meet in the 400-meter dash, running 47.47 seconds and breaking the school record in his first race of the new season. The time was also a qualifier for the NCAA Division II standards.
“I’m going to keep working hard and try to break this record as many times as I can. Also, I’m looking forward to running fast times in the 200 and the 4x4,” Arp said.
The jumpers had some first-place finishes, as freshman Shamar Jenkins picked up where he left off in the indoor season in the triple jump, reaching 14.83 meters for a national qualifier.
Fellow freshman Jordan Winslow finished well in the high jump with 1.90 meters, placing fourth with a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) qualifier.
Junior Thomas Haas was first in the men’s javelin with a 63.05-meter throw, earning an NCAA-provisional mark. Senior Johnathan Stiles ran 53.17 seconds in the men’s 400 hurdles, narrowly beating out junior Charles Bowman by one-hundredth of a second. Both Raiders earned national qualifiers with their finishes.
Bowman came back the next day to compete in the 110-meter hurdles, running 14.64 seconds to take first, and freshman Roland Miles won the 100-meter dash with 10.89 seconds. Both performances were good enough to satisfy the PSAC qualifications.
There was a lot of success on the women’s side as well, with first-place finishes from sophomore Ariel Jones in the high jump with a top mark of 1.55 meters. Freshman Madisen Kling threw 43.28 meters in women’s discus to claim second in the event.
Junior Zaria Williams performed well in the long jump with a distance of 5.81 meters.
Senior Morgan DeFloria continued her strong start to the season with another impressive showing in the javelin, reaching 44.48 meters for first place and another NCAA-provisional qualifying mark.
Senior Tatiana Purnell took second in the 400-meter hurdles, running in 1:05.09 seconds, qualifying for the PSAC’s standards. Purnell returned later to run another great race, taking second again in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 15.62 seconds.
Purnell said, “I feel the girls did well overall but definitely need to put in a lot of work. I see the sprinters stronger and more cohesive by the end of the season. Really pushing one another to be the best we can.”
The squads will be back in action Friday and Saturday, as they will split between two different meets.
Part of the team will travel to the College of William and Mary in Virginia and the rest will compete at Millersville University.