Five event wins; 19 personal records at track

Katie Guarnaccia placed fourth in the women’s 5000 meters Saturday at the Westminster Invitational. Guarnaccia will compete in the women’s 10,000 meters at the NAIA National Championship meet May 25-27 in Gulf Shores, Ala.

Written By Robert Berger, Co-Sports Editor

The Point Park men’s and women’s track and field teams left Westminster College on Saturday with five event wins and 19 new personal records.

“As a team I think we came out strong, and that’s how we’re looking to finish the season,” sophomore distance runner Robert Lance said. “We all feel good.”

Sophomore distance runner Anna Shields began her day competing in the 800 meters. Finishing first of 43 runners with a time of two minutes, 11.70 seconds, Shields posted the second-best time in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) this year. Shields’ first-place finish was also good enough to beat her own school record.

Shields also competed in the 1500 meters later, finishing first out of 33. With a time of four minutes, 34.45 seconds, Shields also ranks second in the NAIA. Her time was also good enough for a new school record.

Also on the track, the women’s relay team of Shields, junior Olukemi Olugbakinro, sophomore Taylor Celich and sophomore Lauren Bower completed in the 4×400 relay to a finish of four minutes, 15 seconds. The fourth-place finish added five points to the team total.

Olugbakinro also ran the 200 to a third place, 26.34 seconds finish. This added six points to the Pioneers team totals.

In the 5000-meter run, junior Katie Guarnaccia finished fourth with a time of 18 minutes, 50 seconds. Guarnaccia will compete in the women’s 10,000-meter run at the National Championship meet after qualifying at the Muskingum earlier this season.

The women were lead on the field by junior thrower Kiana Daley. Finishing first out of 36 in the discus throw with a 32.78-meter toss, the victory earned 10 team points for the Pioneers. Daley also competed in the hammer throw, finishing in third place with a 33.78-meter toss. Daley put up 19 team points for the Pioneers at the meet.

Thrower Mackenzie Mangum earned four team points in the javelin throw after finishing in fifth place.

On the track for the men, sophomore sprinter Bryan Partika set a school record with his first-place finish in the 400-meter hurdles. Partika’s time of 56.31 seconds was just shy of the national qualifying mark.

“I was hardly two seconds away from the qualifying time,” Partika said. “That time is definitely achievable by the end of the year.”

Partika also competed with the men’s 4×400 relay alongside sophomore Desmond Marrow, junior Aaron Barlow and freshman Xavier Stephens. The team finished first out of 15 with a time of three minutes, 24.12 seconds.

“We set up camp in the middle of the track so everybody was cheering each other on,” Partika said. “You get more into it when it’s nice outside and you’re not waiting in the bus between events.”

Stephens also competed in the 800, beating his own school record with a time of one minute, 55 seconds. Stephens placed third in the event and was only seconds short of meeting the NAIA nationals qualifying standard.

“I came out strong and tried to pace myself with runners from Carnegie Mellon,” Stephens said. “I was able to keep up and finish just as strong.”

On the field, junior Jryi Davis won the triple jump with a leap of 14.7 meters. Freshman Tyler Carter placed second with a 13.69-meter leap. Davis and Carter qualified for the NAIA Outdoor National Championship meet earlier this season.

The Pioneers have four regular season meets left. They will compete this weekend at Geneva College in the Geneva Invitational.