Track and Field competes in conference

Cory Geer , Sports Editor

The Pitt-Johnstown men’s and women’s track and field teams are preparing for the biggest meet of the year: the 2017 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Indoor Track and Field championships.

This year’s conference championship is scheduled to be held Feb. 25 and 26 in the Mike S. Zafirovski Sports and Recreation Dome at Edinboro University.

The Mike S. Zafirovski Sports and Recreation Dome is the largest air-supported facility in the tri-state area at over 85,000 square feet, according to Edinboro’s athletic website.

Pitt-Johnstown sophomore Killian McNally said that the facility is nice,  but has its drawbacks with it being inside.

“I thought it was one of the nicest tracks we run on, even though it is not (regulation size).  It is basically a 230-meter track inside of a large inflatable bubble,” McNally said.

Pitt-Johnstown men’s track and field team were represented in 10 events at the Indoor Track and Field championship.

Pitt-Johnstown sophomore John Knox finished sixth in the men’s heptathlong 60-meter hurdles , fifth in the men’s heptathlong 1000-meter and fifth in the men’s heptathlon pole vault.

Pitt-Johnstown senior track and field member Nathan Lieb participated in the Men’s 4×400-meter Relay and the Men’s Distance Medley.

Lieb said that competing in multiple events can be a challenge, but it is something they get used to.

“We have been training hard all year, and this is what we have been preparing for. I am confident our bodies are ready for the challenge and competing in multiple events should not be an issue,” Lieb said.

Lieb said there is pressure to preform in championship events.

“When it comes to championships, expectations are raised and everyone expects you to do more and to be better,” Lieb said.

McNally said preparation for last weekend’s event had changed for him.

“In the last few days, my team and I have been slightly decreasing our mileage time and doing some speed work,” McNally said.

The Pitt- Johnstown women’s track and field team will be represented in 12 events at the conference championship.

Pitt-Johnstown sophomore Rachel Fleming finished eighth in the women’s 800-meter dash.

Pitt-Johnstown junior Kelci Warshel participated in the women’s 60-meter hurdles, women’s distance medley and the 200-meter dash. Warshel will also take part in the 60-meter dash.

Warshel said it’s stressful to compete in multiple events that are close together.

“The events are so close together that I have to do one event after another, which can sometimes cause me to overthink and freak out a bit,” Warshel said.

Warshel finished fourth in the women’s 60- meter hurdles, eighth in the women’s 60-meter dash and eighth in the women’s 200-meter dash.

Pitt-Johnstown junior Tonni Melendez who participated in the women’s triple jump said that the team has a lot of potential.

“If our team performs to the best of our abilities, I think we can continue to move up the standings,” Melendez said.

Melendez said it is a humbling experience to compete with such great athletes.

“I’m blessed to be able to compete with the best athletes in our conference and with my amazing teammates,” Melendez said.

Pitt-Johnstown junior Tori Fulkroad finished fifth in the women’s 3000-meter dash.

The men’s Indoor Track and Field was Shippensburg University, they won the championship scoring 138 team points.

The Pitt-Johnstown Mountain Cats scored nine team points, finishing 11 out of 12 teams.

The women’s Indoor Track and Field champion was Shippensburg University.

The Pitt-Johnstown women’s track and field team finished 13 out of 16 teams scoring 17 points.

The men’s and women’s track and field teams are back in action March 18 at the Junitata College, Hundington County, Invitational.