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Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Track and Field get ready for conferences at Spire meet

Photo by Jordan Kullen
Freshman Kanye Mills running at the Youngstown State Icebreaker in November.

Track and Field traveled to Spire Institute in Geneva, Ohio on Saturday, February 10 to run their last meet before they compete for another conference title. The Pioneers sent plenty of members to Spire in order to prepare for the indoor conference title.  

For the men’s team, Elijah James has placed high multiple times this year. He proceeded to do the same at Spire, where he ran the 600 meters and placed third overall with a time of one minute and 22 seconds. Toby Wright also participated in the 600, where he finished in sixth place with a time of one minute and 25 seconds.  

In the 400 meter, two participants placed in the top 15. Juan Barrera led the Pioneers with his ninth place finish of 49.86 seconds. Freshman Kanye Mills would be the next to finish. Mills came in 14th place and had a time of 50.40. The 400 meter is such a short and tight race, and the difference in placement between these two times demonstrates the importance a single second can have in a race.

Men’s Athlete of January, Ramiro Ulunque, ran the NAIA B national standard for the second time of the year, this one being in the 800 meter. Ulunque placed 17th of 94 total runners with a time of one minute and 55 seconds. He is also now the top ranked male runner in the River States Conference (RSC) for this event.  

The 3,000 meter race had the distance runners step to the stage. National marathon winner Jannik Windelband would lead the Pioneers in this race. Windelband would finish in 17th place, with a time of eight minutes and 52 seconds. Freshman Luke Mckenna was next at nine minutes and 15 seconds. Sophomore Gabe Ebersole was the top Pioneer in the mile with a time of four minutes and 46 seconds.  

The Pioneer’s men’s team will travel to Logan, Ohio to compete for an RSC title.  

I questioned Men’s Athlete of the Month, Ramiro Ulunque, on how he felt about the team’s performance and his own. “I am happy I performed well and the team is performing well,” he said. “The middle distance and distance team hit multiple standards for nationals which makes me proud and also motivates me to end the season in the best way possible, and I am sure we are ready and we’ll do our best to bring the trophy on Saturday.”  

On the women’s side, they got the opportunity to run in the distance-medley relay. The athletes in this event would be Olivia Hare, Diamond Rush, Allison Plassio and Jana Schmid. This team would place third overall with a time of 12 minutes and 35 seconds, five seconds shy of national qualifying standards.  

Sophmore Makayla Rice running in the women’s relay at Youngstown

Plassio also competed in the 800 meter, where she previously held the number one rank in the RSC. She went out and beat her own record with a time of two minutes and 20 seconds, which was 10th overall at Spire.  

Karen Rios had another top 10 finish in the 600 meter, with her time of one minute and 47 seconds placing her eighth overall. 

RaKeya Ellsberry had the top finish for the Pioneers in the 60 meter dash with her time of eight minutes and 22 seconds.  

Hannah Bond was the top performer for the Pioneers in the 400 meter with her time of one minute and three seconds.  

National qualifier Natalea Hillen was the top placer for her squad in the 60 meter hurdles with a time of 9.11 seconds. Hillen has qualified for nationals plenty of times throughout her career, and this year is no different.  

Sophia Lee-Hauser would also get a personal record in the 3,000 with her time of 11:11. Lee-Hauser has broken records so far this season with her racewalking, and she is now getting personal bests in the long distance events.  

All these performances prepare the women to go to Logan, Ohio on Saturday, February 17. The Pioneer women have won all six RSC indoor victories since their introduction to the event in 2018.  

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