Track and Field: Pitt strong in first outdoor meet

By Torie Wytiaz

The Pitt track and field team had some catching up to do.

“Essentially, this was… The Pitt track and field team had some catching up to do.

“Essentially, this was our first outdoor meet,” Head Coach Alonzo Webb said, of the Duke Invitational, which was held over the weekend. “Some of the other teams have been in three or four competitions so far.”

Despite this lack of exposure to outdoor competition, Webb noted that he was pleased with the level of performance given by both the men’s and women’s teams.

“For a first meet, I saw a lot of positive things that we can build on as the season progresses,” Webb said. “Overall, I would say we were very competitive.”

Friday was the first day of the competition, and junior Teddy Miller and sophomore Folarin Ijelu both qualified for the IC4A Outdoor Championships, which take place in May.

Miller placed second in the 10,000-meter run by finishing in 30 minutes, 55.22 seconds whereas Ijelu took second place in the triple jump with a leap of 14.80 meters.

In addition, several other members of the men’s team earned spots in the Big East championships based on their performance at the Duke Invitational.

Sophomore Greg Kareis finished third in the 15,000 run with a time of 3:54.69 and freshman Kevin Hall finished sixth at 3:55.08. They were joined in qualifying for the championship by sophomore Jermaine Lowery, who placed fifth in the 400 hurdles with a time of 53.85.

Saturday’s competition added four more Panthers to the men’s team’s list of IC4A Championship qualifiers.

Junior Antony Hobwana earned a third place finish in the 100 dash with a time of 10.78 while two men qualified on the field side. Junior Garrett Larkin qualified in the shot-put by placing seventh with a throw of 15.83, and senior Ron Walter advanced by clearing 4.65 in the pole vault event.

“Our field team was excellent in this invitational,” Webb said. “They did a great job and I am pleased with their results.”

The highlight performance came from sophomore Dontave Cowsette who came in second in the 800 in one of his three IC4A-qualifiying times.

“Cowsette performed very well,” Webb said. “I was impressed with his qualifying times, especially in the early start of the season. I look forward to seeing his improvement as well.”

The women’s team was also successful at the meet and came away with multiple Eastern College Athletic Conference and Big East championship qualifying performances.

Three such performances also earned first place at the invitational: senior Kaetlyn Brown won the 400 dash finishing with 55.99, the relay team won in the 4X100 event with 46.41 and senior Brianna Broyles won the 400 hurdles finishing with a time of 1:00.82.

The relay team consisted of freshman Ashley Woodford, junior Da’Lynn Mills, Broyles and sophomore Cambrya Jones.

“This relay team was strong,” Webb said. “The first place finish and ECAC qualification shows just how well the team is capable of competing.”

Webb also noted that Mills was worthy of recognition for her 12.05 performance in the 100 dash and 23.86 in the 200 dash.

“Mills qualified for the ECAC in both events and earned her personal best times in those races,” Webb said. “It’s great to win a race, but competing against yourself and your times is just as important.”

Once again, the field team succeeded in surprising Webb.

“The women’s field team was exceptional at this meet,” Webb said. “Sarah Anderson was especially dominant this weekend.”

Anderson, a junior, placed fourth in the discus throw and earned a spot in the ECAC Championship with a distance of 43.36 meters.

Pitt’s dominance continued in the hammer throw as Anderson’s third place finish (51.26) was joined by sophomore Kayla Comrie’s eighth place performance (47.53) and sophomore Robin Gilmore’s 11th place throw (45.53).

All three members garnered Big East championship marks for their performances.

Webb knows that while his team competed at a high level, there is always room to improve and prepare for the next meet.

“At this meet, it was important to assess where the team was at, competitively speaking,” Webb said. “Now that the team has had the first taste of the outdoor season, we can look to work on our weaknesses and come out with an even better performance at the next meet.”

The men’s and women’s teams will both be split into squads that will compete at the Arizona St. Sun Angel Classic and the Bucknell Invitational on Friday and Saturday.