Track and Field: Panthers compete at Big East Championships

By Kelly Flanigan

This past weekend, the men’s and women’s Pitt track and field team set personal… This past weekend, the men’s and women’s Pitt track and field team set personal records, qualified to compete again next week and even earned All Big-East Honors.

However, both teams failed to finish in the top five in the Big East Championshps in Cincinnati’s Gettler Stadium.

The men’s team finished 14th and the women turned in a ninth-place finish despite noteworthy performances.

For the men, freshman Tashaun Hill turned in a season best time of 14.56 seconds in the 110-meter hurdles, earning the final seed in the event’s finals. He finished in eighth place.

Sophomore Jermaine Lowery also turned in a personal best finishing time of 51.28 for the 400 hurdles, earning himself a No. 5 seed.

Later, Lowery improved his time and finished in fourth place in the same event. His time fell below the 2009 NCAA regional qualifying standard of 52.51.

Sophomore Kurt Barnhart threw the discus 46.24 meters, and freshman Kevin Hull finished the 1500 run in 3 minutes, 54.42 seconds, both for additional season best performances.

Junior Garrett Larkin (shot-put), sophomore Dontave Cowsette (800), junior Teddy Miller (10,000) and freshman Caleb Matthews (long jump) recorded top-15 finishes for the men’s team.

Larkin threw the hammer 48 meters, and senior Brandon Turner finished the triple jump in ninth place at 14.61 meters.

The men’s 4×800 team finished with a time of 7:38.41 for fourth place. Sophomore Greg Kareis, who has performed consistently for the team all season, finished 11th overall in the 1500 finals.

Yet, despite the strong effort by the team, key injuries to sprinter Antony Hobwana, jumper Folarin Ijelu and others prevented the Panthers from doing as well as they would have liked.

“We had some injuries with guys that were in good positions to score some points for us,” Larkin said. “We had some good performances, but not really enough to make any noise in the conference.”

Several athletes outpreformed their competitors. Freshman Rachael McIntosh registered a third-place finish in the heptathlon with 5,124 points. In the event, she collected two second-place finishes in the javelin and 800.

Freshman Jonnique Lawrence and senior Kaetlyn Brown finished 10th and 13th respectively in the 200 with times of 24.09 and 24.34 seconds.

Both Lawrence and Brown competed and qualified in the 400 for the ECAC Championships.

Broyles finished fourth in the 100 hurdles. Her time landed under the 2009 regional standard of 13.92 with a time of 13.84. Broyles also finished third place in the 400 hurdles.

Junior Kaitlyn Flynn (ninth in heptathlon), senior Erinn McMahon (10th in heptathlon), junior Anita James (10th in long jump) and junior Wunmi Fapohunda (12th in long jump), all collected top-15 finishes this weekend.

Junior Alexis Wilder posted season bests in the shot-put and discus, and Kelsey Voltz and Leah Ulizio did the same in the javelin event.

The 4×400 relay team finished in second place, earning All-Big East Honors. With a 3:42.03 finish, they broke the previous stadium record of 3:44.99 from 2003. Broyles, Brown, freshmen Arielle Fonrose and McIntosh made up the team.

The 4×800 women’s relay team finished in the top ten with a time of 9:09.42. The team was made up of senior Kari Hedderick, sophomore Miya Johnson, freshman Korinne Piper and sophomore Susan Martinez.

James and Fapohunda finished sixth and 11th in the triple jump, respectively.

Both Panther teams will travel to Princeton, N.J., for the IC4A/ECAC Championships Friday, May 14, and they are eager to improve on their performance from this past weekend.

“We are optimistic about IC4As,” Larkin said. “But our focus right now is to get the team healthy.”