Track runs into success at Penn

Joshua Echt

Relay team sets school record

Ray Armstrong and Pawel Dutkiewicz are on two different relay teams, but each has one thing in common.

They made sure their second performances at the Penn Relays made up for last year. They shook off anxiety and jitters Saturday at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia. The two helped Kent State take home a third-place finish in both the men’s 4×800-meter relay and 4×100-meter relay, respectively.

“Last year, it was overwhelming because it was my first year competing at the Penn Relays,” Armstrong said. “This year, you know what to expect. It’s just like any other race.”

The sophomore said he felt faster and stronger compared to last year.

The 4×800-meter relay team competed in the Championship of America division this year, which is faster than the College Championship division the team raced in last year. Armstrong led off the relay, which set a school record with a time of 7:26.61.

“I was the leadoff man, and my main goal was to get us into good position for the rest of the race,” he said.

Senior Ofer Barniv and juniors Bouke Onstenk and Mike Inge made up the team. Inge ran anchor with a 1:48 split while Armstrong led off with a 1:53.9.

Like Armstrong, junior Pawel Dutkiewicz experienced greater success in his second time around at the Penn Relays.

“The crowd didn’t bother me this year,” Dutkiewicz said. “Last year, I was overwhelmed by the crowd and the atmosphere.”

Dutkiewicz, a long jumper, filled in for senior Adrian Ghioroaie in the 4×100-meter relay. He ran the relay for the first time and said the track was different than the one at Kent State.

“Your strides are shorter, and your times are slower because the track is longer,” he said.

However, he said he enjoyed the race this year because it was dry during his relay. His long jump performance improved from ninth place last year to sixth this year, with a jump of 23-5.50.

The women experienced success this weekend as well.

The women’s sprint medley relay team, consisting of seniors Erin Corrigan and Jessica Davis, sophomore Stephanie Hunt and junior Gabriela Plocka, took third in its heat with a time of 4:07.08 at the Penn Relays.

Seniors Jackie Rodgers and Colleen Ramharak recorded NCAA regional-qualifying marks in their respective events at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa.

Rodgers finished in a tie for third in the pole vault while Ramharak was fourth in the triple jump. The following day, Ramharak took 21st in the triple jump.

The teams return to action at the Len Paddock Invitational and the Campbell Wright Open Friday and Saturday.

Contact track and field reporter Josh Echt at [email protected].