- Brad O'Hara
- Staff Writer
The warm weather and the upcoming break are both signs of spring, but they are also signs of the start of the men’s and women’s outdoor track and field seasons for IUP.
The indoor season showed promise and gave the athletes and coaches high expectations for the outdoor portion of the season.
The men’s team placed fourth out of nine teams on the first day of the indoor Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Championships, and fifth out of 12 teams on the second day.
The women’s team landed a ninth-place finish out of 15 teams both days.
Brooke Smay (senior, safety science), Elizabeth Coppella (junior, exercise science), DJ Horton (sophomore, kinesiology health and sport science) and Charles Wilson-Adams (redshirt junior, communications media) qualified for the National Championship Saturday in Alabama, and Horton was selected to compete.
“My main focus going into senior outdoor season is to just have fun and enjoy the ride with teammates and coaches who became family the past four years,” Smay said. “If we can do that, along with staying healthy, then everything else will fall into place with a successful season. The PSAC has quite a few girls in triple jump with a lot of talent, so I know that’s going to continue to push me even more.”
Smay placed seventh at the PSAC Championships and has had three top-10 finishes since the start of 2017, all in triple jump.
Greg Beaudette (senior, exercise science) of the men’s team has a similar mindset to Smay’s.
“My expectations for this season are to build on the great indoor season I had and to place high at the outdoor conference meet,” he said. “I was very consistent throughout indoor, and competed just about as well as I imagined at the conference championships. So if I could come close to recreating those results again, I would be very happy.”
Beaudette qualified for the PSAC Championships in the 5,000 meter, 3,000 meter and the mile, leading the team in the first two events.
He then went on to place second in the 3,000-meter event and placed third in the 5,000-meter event.
With the conclusion of the indoor season approaching rapidly, the main focus is now on the outdoor season.
The first meet of the outdoor season is the California Early Bird Invitational on March 25, followed by two more meets April 1 at Slippery Rock University and University of Cincinnati.
The men’s and women’s track and field teams will be returning home for the Western PA Challenge April 8 at IUP.