April 5, 2014
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The University of Pittsburgh men’s and women’s track and field team turned in their final performances of the weekend on Saturday at the Florida Relays, Colonial Relays and CMU Quad Meet. The Panthers turned in eleven top-15 finishes and recorded multiple personal best times.
Senior sprinters Carvin Nkanata and Brycen Spratling represented for the men at the Florida Relays. Nkanata claimed fifth place overall in the 200 meter dash with a time of 20.56. Spratling continues on an impressive outdoor campaign with a sixth place finish in the 400 meter dash (45.78), nearly breaking his personal best time of 45.71 set in the 2013 outdoor season.
“We opened up Carvin and Brycen a little earlier this outdoor season then we have done in the past, and decided to have them compete in their primary events,” Head Coach Alonzo Webb said. “They both really performed well, and Brycen ran a career best in the 400 meter to open the season. Carvin also posted his fastest opening time in the 200 meter. The two performances are both good signs that Carvin and Brycen have solid seasons ahead of them.”
Adding to the top-15 finishes of the weekend, the men’s 4x400 meter relay team of Dustin Fuller, Nkanata, Micah Murray and Spratling who placed tenth in 3:06.36 at the Florida Relays on Saturday.
“We didn’t have our ‘A’ relay team because Desmond (Palmer) was injured, and we didn’t want to take any chances running him in the event,” Webb said. “However, Dustin really stepped up for us in the relay event. He did a great job in the lead off leg and kept us close, which gave the other guys a chance to really run. In the end, the relay team ran four seconds faster than they did last weekend, which was good to see.”
The women’s 4x200 meter relay team also represented in Gainesville on Saturday evening with a time of 1:36.67, finishing in 12th for the Panthers.
“The women’s 4x2 relay ran well together, and it’s only the first or second time they have competed together this season,” Webb said. “They turned in their fastest time of the year and I was extremely happy to see that this weekend.
“Also, on the women’s side, Evann Thompson ran a great 400 meter hurdle race (59.74) on Friday,” Webb added. “Evann ran about five seconds faster than she recorded last year in her opening hurdle race, posting a time under 60 seconds in her main event. I expected it since Evann had a solid indoor season. She made some technical errors, but still managed to run fast. I can’t wait to see what else Evann has in store for us this season. I look forward to her hopefully qualifying for nationals in the 400 hurdles.”
Senior Ashley Corum recorded a standout performance of her own in the women’s triple jump event at the University of Florida. Corum posted a jump of 12.63 meters and placed seventh overall in the competition.
Also, highlighting on the men’s side, freshman Michael Runco and senior Ben Kisley who both set new personal records in the 3,000 meter run on Friday at the Colonial Relays. Runco finished in second with a time of 8:29.92, while Kisley followed behind in ninth place at 8:39.97. Senior Charles Ross also established a new lifetime best at the Colonial Relays after crossing the finish line in seventh place with a time of 1:54.53.
On the women’s side, sophomore Deanna Felicissimo turned in a top-15 finish in the 800 meter run (2:17.85), and just missed setting a new PR by 2-tenths of a second. Sophomore Hillary Boxheimer also had a top-notch performance in the 3,000 meter steeplechase in Williamsburg, racing her way into eleventh place overall in a time of 11:29.75.
Meanwhile, next door at CMU, freshman Yasmin Kotar recorded a win for the Panthers and a lifetime best in the women’s javelin event with a throw of 36.09 meters. Freshman Alex Archer represented for the Pitt men on Carnegie Mellon’s track by also setting a PR of his own in the 3,000 meter run (8:50.71).
The Panthers will again have a quick turnaround with competition starting again on Thursday, April 10th in Knoxville, Tenn. for the Sea Ray Relays, while part of the team will return to Chapel Hill, N.C. for the Joe Hilton Invitational. Both meets begin on Thursday and will conclude events on Saturday, April 12th. Finally, the remainder of the Pitt team will head to Lewisburg, Pa. to participate in the Bison Outdoor Classic with the one-day competition set for Sunday, April 13th.
Final notes: Palmer is expected to be back in action as early as next weekend at the Sea Ray Relays. Also, the 4x200 meter relay team recorded a DNF (Did Not Finish), because the official had lined up Spratling in the wrong exchange zone. Therefore, the relay team did not have a chance to showcase their skills, but are expected to make a return to competition next weekend.
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