The Roaring Lions track team finished out its inaugural season, with a bang. The team traveled to SUNY Delhi to compete in the USCAA National Invitational. Despite having a small squad, the men's team managed an 8th place finish, while the women got 10th. Also, Ryan Gesso (So., Uniontown) was crowned, unofficial national Champion for USCAA.
Ben Wilson (Fr. Uniontown) started the day, competing in the high jump. Although, not a PR, his jump of 1.80 meters secured him third place overall. "This year was exciting and was mostly satisfied with my performances," said Wilson. Wilson finished in the top three in most of the Invitationals the team participated in this year.
Gesso won the javelin, despite spraining his ankle in the final round. He was unable to complete his last two throws. But, his preliminary throw of 48.78 meters was good enough to distance the field. Gesso won by more than three meters.
In the most exciting race of the day, Devin Pisarski (Fr., Connellsville) raced to a second place finish in the 800 meters. His time of 1:58.45 was just .02 seconds off of the winner. Kaleb Coston of Cleary University won in 1:58.43. Anthony Berdine (Fr., Washington) finished the race in 16th place with a personal record of 2:20.02. "Devin's finish was very exciting and Anthony ran almost as if he was someone else, big PR," said Coach Joe Carei. Berdine also ran the 1500m, finishing in 18th place with a time of 5:32, also a PR.
Hurdler Michael Elliott (Fr. Bethlehem-Center) also saw a personal record in the 400 meter intermediate hurdles. His time of 1:01.56 ensured him 4th place in the event. "It was a little tough transitioning from the 300 hurdles in high school to the 400 hurdles in college, but I think I got it down. Looking forward to next year," said Elliott.
On the women's side, Breyanna Gursknis (Fr, Apopka, FL), improved her school record in the 800. Her time of 2:56 earned her 14th. She also picked up points the 400 meter race finishing 7th overall. That allowed the women's team to finish 10th overall.
Coach Joe Carei was pleased with the overall results of the meet. "We had a few athletes unable to attend this weekend's meet, but the ones that came performed very well. It was a great finish to a unpredictable year," Said Carei.
As the Penn State Roaring Lions track team is in its infancy, so is USCAA track and field. Because of Penn State Fayette's inclusion in the second annual USCAA National Invitational, it may allow the USCAA to have track and field as an official sport. The USCAA was formed in 1966 and governs many small college sports, but track and field is not one of them. The Penn State Fayette Cross Country team finished 13th overall at this past fall's National Championship and the women's volleyball team is annually at the top of the USCAA. "It is exciting to be a part of something new, especially since we are in our infancy too. It will be great to grow with the USCAA in the interest of Track and Field," said Coach Carei.