Four Panthers victorious at PSU National Open


Barry Shenck

Senior distance runner Ariel Pastore-Sebring ran a career-best time while winning the 5,000-meter race Friday at the PSU National Open. Courtesy of Barry Schenk / Pitt Athletics

By Steve Rotstein | Sports Editor

Ariel Pastore-Sebring, already known by her cross country teammates as a “de facto” leader, is also setting an example on running away from the competition in the track and field circuit.

Pastore-Sebring, a senior distance runner who is also a culture writer for The Pitt News, set a personal record in the 5,000-meter race Friday at the Penn State National Open. She crossed the finish line nearly 20 seconds ahead of her nearest competition with a time of 16:55.24.

“About 10 laps into the 25-lap race, the girl [Catherine Scott] who was leading just fell off the pace,” Pastore-Sebring said. “The rest of the race, I think I ran about 14 laps alone.”

Pastore-Sebring’s personal-best performance came in her first distance race of 2017. While she was happy to record the fastest time of her career, she plans to improve in her final season.

“I hope that I have better performances this year after this one,” Pastore-Sebring said. “I think that I was just in the right mentality coming into this race this week. I had a really good workout Tuesday morning, and I knew the competition was perfect for me.”

The Panthers picked up several other individual wins over the weekend. Junior Andin Fosam took home the title in the weight throw on Friday for the third meet in a row, and like Pastore-Sebring, she won by a comfortable margin. Her 19.40-meter toss was good for first place by almost a full meter.

Both of Pitt’s distance relay squads came in second place Friday. MaKenzie Zeh, Jamila Branch, Rebecca Peters and Erin O’Connell finished in 12:18.07 for the women’s team, while Matt McGoey, Myles Addison, Dante Watson and Nate Sloan finished in 10:07.61.

Panthers senior Desmond Palmer took third place in the 60-meter hurdles Friday, but set a personal record of 7.86 seconds in the event. He then took second place in the 400-meter race Saturday with a time of 47.48.

First-year sprinter Danielle Leaks and junior Quadaisha Newkirk each picked up individual wins Saturday.

Leaks set a personal-best time of 24.81 in the 200-meter dash for her second straight win in the 200m. Newkirk, an NJCAA champion last year at New Mexico Junior College, also broke her personal record with a time of 1:12.00 in the 500-meter invite to earn her third individual win of the season.

Pitt’s track and field team will visit Notre Dame, Indiana next weekend for the Meyo Invitational.