Track, field and bridges – Croup’s Corner

Written By Josh Croup, Sports Columnist

The Point Park men’s and women’s track and field teams are competing in their inaugural seasons this year, and the first-year program has made a good impression on the rest of the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (KIAC).
Last week, the KIAC outdoor track and field preseason coaches’ polls were released. Both teams were picked to finish second out of four squads in the KIAC this season, ahead of Indiana University East and Brescia.
The University of Rio Grande received three out of a possible four first place votes in each poll.
Rio Grande is new to the KIAC and is scheduled to host the men’s and women’s track and field championships April 24-25.
Both Point Park teams are made up largely of freshmen and each has one senior. The women’s team has 13 freshmen out of 18 athletes while the men’s team has 17 freshmen out of 26 athletes, according to the University’s athletics website. The freshmen majority is expected of first year program, but while experience may not be on Point Park’s side, talent is.
One of those freshmen, Falonte Jackson, qualified for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) national indoor meet in the 200-meter dash with a 22:34 time at the Youngstown State University Icebreaker meet.
Freshman Eric Torres emerged as a stand-out cross country runner last semester, competing in the NAIA Men’s Cross Country National Championship, finishing 199th out of 320 runners at the meet. Torres didn’t come to Point Park for just cross country, but also for the new track and field program.
“This is a beginning program, but we’re making the best of it,” Torres said. “It’s getting better by the day.”
Point Park’s urban setting creates a challenging environment for distance runners like Torres to practice in.
“You’re constantly stopping,” Torres said. “Once you get out of the city, it’s a little different. It’s just crossing a lot of bridges.”
The women’s team crossed an important bridge when they picked up the first-ever event win for either team this past weekend in the 4×200 meter relay.
Point Park’s track and field athletes are writing the record books as they go, breaking new school records every meet. The indoor season only has two more meets before the NAIA Indoor National Championships, and then outdoor season will begin.
For now, the teams will continue crossing bridges in the city for training, and hope this translates on the field as Point Park develops this new, promising program.