Sunday was the one day that many IUP Track and Field athletes had circled on the schedule. It was a day they would not have to travel for a competition. The reason is because the Crimson Hawks had the honor of hosting the meet.

Miller Stadium hosted the Ed Fry Invitational for the first time since 2013. It is named in honor of the late Ed Fry, who was the former cross country and track and field coach.

There were a total of 16 teams that came to compete. Teams from all divisions were at the event, but mostly contained colleges from within the PSAC. It was an unofficially scored event.

For most of the IUP athletes, it was the first home meet of their career. They had a home meet in 2017, but it was called the Western PA Challenge.

Some of the athletes reflected upon the day.

“Being able to compete at home was such an exciting experience,” Nickeela Austin (graduate student, psychology) said. “I feel blessed to have had this opportunity.”

“We all agreed that running at our home track under those circumstances made the whole track feel very different,” Sam Lenze (senior, biochemistry) said. “The stadium didn’t feel the same, but it was very exciting to be able to perform for our home crowd.

“Many of the staff that keep our team running have never seen us run before, so it was cool to show them what our sport really looks like. The environment was exhilarating and being close to home was really nice.”

Lenze went on to say that it was disappointing it would be the last home meet of his career, but was thankful for the opportunity.

At the end of the day, the Crimson Hawks had 21 athletes finish within the top 10 in events. They also had five who had personal records for this season.

Leading the way for the women’s team was Austin, who had the lone win for the Crimson Hawks. Her 39 foot triple jump finished in first. Austin also had an 18.83 foot long jump, which put her in second place at the invitational, and moved her to second in the PSAC this season.

“The competition this weekend was great all around, so I was happy to being able to win triple jump and getting to continue the development of both long and triple jump,” Austin said.

There were several more second place finishes on the women’s side. Cahsia Page (freshman, fashion and interior design) had two in the 100- and 200-meter races. In the 100, she had a time of 12.27 and in the 200 finished in 25.61. Those times placed her in fourth and sixth respectfully in the PSAC.

Jessica Jones (graduate student, mathematical and computer sciences) moved into second place for the 800-meter in the PSAC with a time of 2:15.08. She placed second at the invitational.

Another standout was Cassidy Kline (freshman, safety sciences) in the 400-meter hurdles. Her time of 1:06.17 was a second faster than her best time this season. Kline now moves into second for the conference.

The last top five finisher on the women’s side was Rachel Horrell (junior, kinesiology health and sport science), finishing in fourth place in the triple jump (35.79 feet).

Finishing outside the top five were Paige Wess (freshman, nursing) sixth in the 1500-meter (4:59.23), Tori James (freshman, nursing) seventh in the 1500-meter (5:00.23), Taylor Nissly (sophomore, biology) seventh in the 200-meter (25.90), Kayla Gillen (sophomore, management) seventh in the high jump (4.92 feet), Lexi Lenosky (senior, management) eighth in the 3000-meter (12:42.76), Hailey Dodson (freshman, history) ninth in the shot put (38.87 feet) and Stefanie Ketterman (junior, kinesiology health and sports science) 10th in the high jump (1.45m).

The men’s team also had some success on the day. One of the top athletes being Dre Carr (junior, kinesiology health and sports science) who finished first among college athletes but third among participants in the 100-meter (10.77). He currently sits atop the PSAC in the event.

Another top athlete was Jayden Thomas (sophomore, marketing). He finished second in the high jump after clearing 6.23 feet.

Rounding out the top five finishers was Ethan Ribelin (freshman, management), who finished fifth in the 3000-meter with a time of 9:25.39. Andrew Moyer (freshman, chemistry) was the final runner in the top 10 for the Crimson Hawks finishing in ninth place with a time of 9:49.41.

Issac Evans (junior, history) finished shortly behind Ribelin in the 3000-meter with a seventh overall finish and time of 9:29.55.

Addison Singleton (sophomore, finance) was the top 110-meter hurdles competitor finishing in eighth place with a time of 16.39.

Other top finishers include Evan Weaver (junior, natural science) eighth in the 1500-meter (4:08.69) and Noah Shannon-Hatchett (junior, general studies) 10th in the 100-meter (11.00).

The marks in the conference will be crucial this season since the PSAC changed the rules for qualifying for the championships to be held May 6-8.

Before COVID-19, athletes would qualify depending on their time. Now, it will be based off where the athlete is seated in the conference.

The team will be back on the road next week as it travels to Slippery Rock University for the Bill Lennox Invitational on Saturday.

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