Feb. 17, 2012
PITTSBURGH- Returning to action this weekend, the University of Pittsburgh men's track and field team will travel to New York, N.Y. to compete in the BIG EAST Indoor Championships held at the Armory. The Panthers will send 19 qualifiers to the two-day event that begins on Saturday, Feb. 18 and concludes on Sunday, Feb. 19.
"I'm looking forward to a really competitive meet," Pitt head coach Alonzo Webb said. "We're confident that we can go in there and do a good job and be very competitive at the top level."
With its record setting performances this indoor season, the men's 4x400M relay team currently owns the fifth-best time in the world in 2012. The relay team, made up of seniors Jermaine Lowery and Dontave Cowsette and sophomores Brycen Spratling and Micah Murray's time of 3:07.33 at the Penn State Nittany Lion Challenge overtook Texas A&M's top collegiate mark of 3:07.43 set earlier this season. That time stood as the world's best in 2012 for a part of the season.
Adding to the success in the sprints, Spratling set a new school record in the 200M dash and won the event with a time of 21.34 seconds. Spratling posted a national top-10 time and broke the previous school record of 21.38 set by Chris Anderson in 2005. He also currently holds the fastest time in the nation in the 500M, with a mark of 1:01.86.
Earlier this season at the Penn State National Open, Lowery (47.34), Spratling (47.40) and Murray (47.46) all broke the school record in the 400M dash in the same meet.
In the jumps, senior Folarin Ijelu finished second in the triple jump at the Penn State Nittany Lion Challenge with a leap of 14.77M. In the long jump, sophomore Reginald Steele IV finished ninth with a leap of 6.88M at the Penn State National Open.
Additionally, senior Dan Kwiatkowski set impressive marks in the shot put at the Penn State Nittany Lion Challenge placing fifth with a season best toss of 16.62M.
The Panthers hope to continue their success from last year's performances at the BIG EAST Indoor Championships. In the 2011 competition, the men finished seventh with 47 points overall. Cowsette and junior Tashaun Hill highlighted the Panthers performances at the meet.
Cowsette set a season best in the 800M run with a time of 1:05.59 last year. Hill tied a career best time of 8.00 in the 60M hurdles. Both athletes claimed third in their respective events.
Both relay teams added third-place finishes with the 4x400M team of Murray, Lowery, Daniel O'Toole and Elliot Rhodes crossing the finish line at 3:13.77. The 4x800M team composed of Cowsette, Sam Negley, Wesley Washington and Ben Hatch finished with a mark of 7:31.02.
"Before the season we always tell the team that there are only three things we're looking for them to do," Webb said. "No. 1 is to qualify for the Big East Championships. No. 2 is once you get to the Championships, make the finals. Then, No. 3 is once you make the finals, to try and beat as many people as possible. It's very simple, that's our plan."
You can watch all the championship action live from the Armory at http://www.bigeast.org/Sports/IndoorTrackField/2012IndoorTrackChampionship.aspx.