Assoc. Sports Editor
It was Millersville against themselves on Saturday, and Millersville won.
The boundless pale blue sky provided the Marauders’ outdoor track and field team a splendid opportunity to put on a show at the Lock Haven Invitational, and that’s just what they did. Millersville snapped two of the University’s records, as they were flying high at The Haven’s Eagles’ nest.
First up was freshman Erin Madison in the 400-meter hurdles. Not only did she place first among the field, but her time of 1:01.52 was a half-second ahead of Millersville’s school record, 1:02.00, set in in 1983 by Joyce VanGinhoven. Her time was a PSAC qualifying mark and an NCAA provisional time. In a compressed, 100-meter hurdles, Madison shined as well, finishing in 15.17, which placed her in second in the preliminaries.
Madison’s success leaked into the 4×100-meter relay, where she joined the trio of Kiara Allen, Erin Mason and Kayla Naughton to lay another school record to rest. By the skin of their teeth, they edged the nearly 20-year-old record of 48.33 with their own 48.03. Although the time was the best in Millersville’s day, it fell less than a second short of East Stroudsburg’s first place finish of 47.37.
Carrying the baton over to the 100-meter dash, Mason also finished second with a 12.51 time, slightly behind Mansfield’s Olivia Lopes, who finished just four-tenths of a second ahead of the Marauder sophomore.
In the 200-meter dash, Allen continued the trend of top-two finishes, with her 25.26. Naughton, not far behind her at 25.62, finished out the top five in the race. Each of the times by those Lady Marauders were career-bests – not to mention PSAC-qualifying.
The freshman duo of Katie Hild and Elizabeth Reese snagged top-10 finishes as well in the 1,500-meter run. Hild, with her 5:03.97, placed fifth, while Reese followed five runners behind her at 5:09.05.
In other Marauder running news, Amanda Long, Megan Meyer and Sarah Mulvey placed in the top 15 in the 400-meter dash. Five more Millersville athletes gained traction in the longer runs, as well. The 5,000-meter run served as a 20-minute blessing for Sarah Fink, a senior, as she finished in third. Furthermore, in the 3,000-meter run, Mallory Austin was the fifth jogger to cross the line; pacing behind and rounding out the top nine were more Marauders, Emily Leighow, Megan O’Neill and Samantha Martin.
Putting away the crutches and pulling out the pogo sticks, Millersville’s Mary Stewart was up for the task of contributing in the jumping scene.
In the long jump, the Gettysburg graduate flew for 5.30 meters and landed a mere .02 meters ahead of third place’s Danielle Kuhn of West Chester. The jump’s length was the longest by a Marauder this season and solidified a spot in the PSAC’s next week. Also, Stewart cemented herself in the top 10 of the high jump, curling her body over the pole at the 1.52-meter mark for a number good enough for eighth overall.
While the agile runners and jumpers were hurling themselves over their competition, Black and Gold’s Kellie Farris and Ann Kovacs settled with heaving hammers.
Trading school records back and forth like Pokemon cards, Farris and Kovacs have dominated the hammer throw in recent weeks. After dealing the record over to Kovacs last week, Farris was just .04 meters away from returning the favor on Saturday. As Kovacs loomed over her at fourth place with her 47.55-meter throw, Farris’ 48.48 was good enough for the bronze.
In the midst of all the inner-Millersville competition, Vanessa Hower threw her name out there, and also threw the hammer throw for 45.41 meters, which was good enough for seventh place. Seemingly working out the kinks in her arm, though, she flourished in the discus throw by qualifying for the PSAC championships with her 38.97 meter-, first place-throw. A Pottstown-bred freshman by the name of Kelly Kardos also finished in 14th with a strong throw of 27.80 meters.
With lots of heated competition boiling within the Marauders track and field squad, the momentum that stems from that will fuel them for the PSAC Outdoor Championships, hosted by Millersville at Biemesderfer Stadium. Will the home-field advantage give the new record-holders an edge over the crème of the crop of the PSAC? On May 9th, that question will be answered.