Athletes qualify early for postseason

Bobby Scott, Staff Writer

They may not have many members, but that has not stopped University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown Women’s Track from qualifying for five events in the conference championships May 3-4 at Glenville (W.Va.)State College.

The Lady Cats placed in five different events March 23 at the Juniata Invitational.

The 4×100 relay team– senior Stephanie Szczur, freshman Brittany Davis and sophomore Amanda Shriver, as well as senior Kelsey Parfitt– placed second with a time of 53.6 seconds.

Szczur also placed second (106 feet, nine inches) in javelin. Sarah Hoover placed fifth (89 feet, 11 inches) in the event.

“My goal is to get better than fourth at (the conference championships),” Szczur said. “The highest I ever got was fourth, so I want to (place) third or better.”

Jenny Harold and Erin Lisherelli also qualified in their events, with Harold placing third in the 800-meter run and Lisherelli placing second in the high jump.

“I am very excited now that I (competed in the indoor season),” Lisherelli said. “It kind of (makes me) expect more.”

Lisherelli is one of three freshmen that qualified for the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships.

“I hope to reach my higher goal. I set higher goals for myself since (the indoor season), so I am hopeful I can accomplish them this outdoor season.”

Sophomore Erin McMahon said part of the team’s success was being able to stay fresh through the offseason by competing in indoor season invitationals.

McMahon said the team had a fairly successful indoor season, despite competing in only four invitationals.

She said the jumpers and throwers were competitive, and the team’s relay squad was also strong.

“The field girls’ marks weren’t always as good as we’d hoped, but we were still able to take places in most events, which gets our name out there and boosts confidence, motivation and morale.”

The Lady Cat track team 18 women. Three are seniors and 11 are freshmen.

“(The team) needs a little work, but they are coming along,” Coach Ernie Williams said. “Everybody is doing (well).  I am happy right now we just need more numbers.”

Coaches Williams and Carl Keifer share duties as head coaches of the women’s and men’s teams.  This is the first year both coached  at Pitt-Johnstown.

“We are looking forward to improving on every area of the track, going (into the outdoor season). We are pretty excited.”

The team has every Saturday in April booked with invitationals. They start April 6 with the Frostburg  (Md.) State University Invitational.

April 13 they are to  compete in the Robert Morris University Invitational.

McMahon said she has high expectations for the upcoming meet.

“We’ve been putting in hard practices almost every day since our last meet, and we’re hoping for the weather.“

McMahon said the team is is hoping to get some outdoor practices if the cold weather subsides.

“We already had some girls qualify for the (conference) championships last meet, and we’re expecting more qualifications next weekend.“

McMahon said the team has shown steady improvement each meet, and she feels good about the overall season despite early season obstacles.

“Our coaches have been challenging us with harder workouts and are really focusing on having a winning team,” McMahon said. “If we can keep that up, then the rest of the season looks really promising.“