Track and field teams exceeding expectations

Written By Robert Berger, Co-Sports Editor

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Sophomore Anna Shields of the Pioneer track and field team is ranked second in the country in the women’s 1500 meters after two meets this past week.

“The team definitely exceeded my expectations and performed incredibly well last week,” head coach Kelly Parsley said.

The Pioneer track and field team spent last Wednesday afternoon competing in the Geneva Invitational in Beaver Falls, Pa. against six other schools.

Shields first appeared on the track in the women’s 400 meter dash, placing fourth with a time of 1 minute, 1.76 seconds. Also competing in the 400 for the Pioneers was junior Aneia Dutrieuille, who placed second with a time of 1 minute, .82 seconds.

Early on, the Pioneers picked up third and fourth place finishes in the women’s 200 meter dash. Dutrieuille and Olukemi Olugbakinro finished respectively.

In the women’s 400 meter hurdle event, sophomore Lauren Bower set a school record with a second place finish in 1 minute, 10.61 seconds. Bower also finished second in the women’s 100 meter hurdle in 16.18 seconds. Junior Jahniah McAllister took first place in the 100 hurdles with a 15.39 second finish.

“The athletes that ran Saturday were saving themselves during the Wednesday meet, and they still performed well,” Parsley said.

On the field for the Pioneer women was Kiana Daley, who picked up her second discus win in a row with a 39.20 meters toss.

“The weather was perfect for once, so because of that, I think the team was really excited to compete this weekend,” Parsley said.

Also on the field, Mackenzie Mangum took second in the javelin with a 35.88 meters throw, which set a new school record.

Overall, the Pioneer women placed second in team standings at the invitational with 102 points on the day.

The women’s team earned a No. 25 ranking in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) in the U.S Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCA) top 25 poll last week.

“This was the first time in school history that we earned an outdoor top 25 ranking,” Parsley said. “It’s a great achievement for the team.”

At Geneva, the men’s team was led by junior Aaron Barlow who finished the men’s 100-meter dash in third place with a time of 11.18 seconds. Barlow also placed third in the 200-meter dash, finishing in 22.41 seconds. Finishing behind Barlow in the 200 meters were sophomores Tory Doby and Tyrone Robinson, who placed fourth and fifth respectively.

Barlow anchored the men’s 4×400 relay alongside the team of freshman Peter King, sophomore Desmond Marrow and freshman Xavier Stephens. With a finish in 3 minutes, 29.76 seconds, the Pioneers took first place by one second to second place finisher, Thiel College.

Stephens also ran in the 1500 meters, where he set a school record with a second-place, 4 minute, 9.27 second finish.

“I was just trying to run smart and pace myself with the people in front of me, but at the same time, not work myself too hard,” Stephens said.

Setting a school record in shot-put was freshman Chance Callahan with an 11.65-meter throw, placing him seventh overall.

“Almost everyone who ran on Saturday performed to a personal best,” Parsley said.

On the same day, the Pioneer men placed first as a team and registered seven event wins and four school records. The Pioneers placed first with 172 points, ahead of second-place Geneva with 169 points.

Continuing the week, the Pioneers competed in Lewisburg, Pa. as part of the Bucknell Outdoor Classic.

On the Women’s side, Shields continued her dominance, finishing second in the women’s 800 meters with a time of 2 minutes, 9.41 seconds. Setting a school record, Shields finished just 1.22 seconds behind the first-place runner from Saginaw Valley.

Shields also competed in the 1500 meters where she placed third with a 4 minute, 22 second finish, setting a new personal and school record. Only two seconds shy of first place, Shields competed against athletes from Penn State, Bucknell and West Virginia. She currently stands at second in the NAIA in the 1,500m.

The Point Park men’s 4×800 relay team competed against 12 schools to a seventh place, 7 minute, 58 seconds finish.  The team of Marrow, Stephens, Bennett and Sophomore Bryan Partika set a school record and was seconds away from reaching the NAIA qualifying standard.

“Stephens is a great athlete and he listens to everything I say,” Parsley said. “I think his best days on the track are ahead of us.”

The men were led in the field by freshman Tyler Carter, who leaped 14.57 meters in the triple jump for a third-place finish. Junior Jryi Davis also competed in the triple jump and leaped 14.38 meters to a seventh place finish.

The Pioneers have four athletes heading to NAIA National Championship meet in Gulf Shores, Ala. from May 25-27, including junior Katie Guarnaccia, Shields, Davis and Carter. Point Park will compete at the Slippery Rock Dave Labor Invitational Thursday.

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