Two track women earn early wins

Justin Schmithorst, Sports Editor

Track season is underway at Pitt-Johnstown, with the team having attended two events. The Mountain Cats are off to a good start, with multiple first-place finishes in events.

At the West Virginia University Invitational Jan. 13, junior long-jumper Kia Clayton won first place in the women’s long jump event and in the triple jump.

She leaped 5-meters in the long-jump and 11.24-meters in the triple-jump.

Clayton wasn’t the only Pitt-Johnstown track athlete to win first at the event.

Senior distance runner Tori Fulkroad won first in the women’s mile run and in the women’s 3-km run.

“To me, winning the race is an honor and obviously something that I strive for in every race, but what I am more focused on is lowering my time. If I happen to win in the process, then it’s a nice bonus,” Fulkroad said.

The season is still young, but the West Virginia Invitational isn’t the only event for the track team. They also participated in the more competitive Youngstown State University Invite on Jan 19.

According to Clayton, the increased competition did not deter the efforts of the team, and the West Virginia University  Invitational was a smaller meet with Division 2 and Division 3 schools.

“West Virginia’s (Invitational) was actually a small meet compared to the others that we go to. If we go to bigger meets, like Youngstown State (University), we run into a lot more Division 1 schools so there is stiffer competition, which pushes us to get bigger and better marks,” Clayton said.

At Youngstown State University, Fulkroad was the only Pitt-Johnstown track athlete with a first-place finish in an event: the 5-km run.

Fulkroad said that the 5-km run is one of her favorite events.

Fulkroad said that, during the run, there were times she felt like she couldn’t go on, but her

teammates cheering her on helped her pull through.

Fulkroad didn’t run in the 3-km or the mile run, although she did participate in the 800 meter run, finishing 14th.

At the Youngstown State University Invitational, Clayton finished sixth in the long-jump with a 5.34- meter distance and second in the triple-jump, with 11.66-meters.

With the season still in its early stages, the track athletes have goals set out.

Fulkroad said that her goal for the season is to compete nationally, and that when she runs, she is always thinking about that.

“My goal is to make it to nationals. Nationals is in the back of my mind during every race I run. So having that goal in my mind just motivates me to want to hit (the) time so I have the opportunity to run at nationals,” Fulkroad said.

Clayton’s goal is to compete in the running events.

“I usually only participate in the long-jump and triple-jump but I’m hoping to get into a running event one day,” Clayton said.