Track teams finish solid at Penn State

Joshua Echt

A blend of dealing with adversity and teamwork helped the Kent State track teams finish strong at a Big Ten meet Friday and Saturday.

The teams’ performances at the Sykes-Sabock Challenge at Penn State University resulted in strong team finishes for men and women, two broken school records and two more NCAA provisional qualifiers.

The men placed fifth in a field of 10 teams, scoring 85 points. Host Penn State won the team title with 125 points.

Senior Ofer Barniv set a school record in the 3000 meters, placing second with a time of 8:18.46, bettering a three-year-old indoor mark of 8:21.32.

“I did my usual routine,” Barniv said. “I’m more focused late in the season and wanted to do well.”

Senior Adrian Ghioroaie won the triple jump with a school-record leap of 52-10, bettering the 17-year-old mark of 52-8. Ghioroaie provisionally qualified for the NCAA meet.

Junior Phil Rickaby won the long jump while senior Marc Mitchell came in a close third.

Senior James Sjostrom won the 5000 meters in 14:19.51, the second fastest time in Kent State history next to Karoly Bozan’s five-year-old record run of 14:18.17.

The men’s distance medley relay team, consisting of Mike Inge, Ray Armstrong, Matt Bailey and Barniv, provisionally qualified for the NCAA meet by producing a 9:38.86, which is the second-fastest Kent State time ever.

“We’re starting to come around,” coach Wendel McRaven said. “We put together the A-team that would run well.”

The women, led by six top-four finishes, placed seventh out of 13 teams at Penn State with 45.50 points. Penn State won the meet with 121.50 points.

Senior Colleen Ramharak won the triple jump with a provisional mark of 42-6. Junior Jackie Rodgers placed second in pole vault with a leap of 12-10, her season best.

Senior Donielle Swany and senior Breann Smith both finished fourth in the weight throw and shot put, respectively.

Senior Jeanna Fascione placed third in the mile with a personal-best 4:51.15, improving her second-place standing on the all-time list. Her twin sister, Jennifer, placed fourth in the 800 meters, with a personal-best 2:10.21.

Jeanna Fascione said her training changed from base running to more specific race-pace workouts later in the season to give her the edge.

“It allows me to go out at a fast pace,” she said.

The 4×400-meter relay team of sophomore Stephanie Hunt, junior Dominika Stokowska, sophomore Gabriela Plocka and senior Erin Corrigan finished fifth with a time of 3:43.87, the second-fastest mark in Kent State indoor history.

Some members were unable to compete during the meet because of illness. McRaven also said this meet is usually harder than the conference meet in two weeks.

“This meet is tougher than the MAC meet,” he said. “The teams turned in a solid performance, despite some illness.”

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