California, PA- The Roaring Lions track team attended the California University of Pa Early Bird meet on Saturday, March 24. The snow had melted enough to allow the runners and jumpers to participate, but the fields were still snow covered and the weight events were cancelled.
Despite the weather and issues, the team still had several athletes compete. The team held their own against the 22 other teams. It was mostly NCAA division two teams with a couple of D1 and D3 schools, also attending. "It was good to get the season started, see the conditioning of the athletes and get our team rolling," said Coach Joe Carei.
Sophomore Ben Wilson (Uniontown, Uniontown) started the day by finishing 6th in the high jump, clearing 1.85 meters, just .02 off of his collegiate personal record. In the Pole Vault, Junior Jeremy Welsh (Connellsville, Connellsville), shook off some rust to jump 3.5 meters. This was far from his PR, but good enough for 10th. "It was good to get some jumps in. It has been 2 years since I jumped outdoors, so that was good," said Welsh. Sophomore Michael Elliott (Clarksville, Beth-Center) competed in the long jump, leaping to a distance of 5.41 meters.
On the track, Freshman Nyoah Marteny (Perryopolis, Frazier), started his day with 3000 steeplechase. Despite running it for the first time, he ran to a new school record of 11:43. That was good enough for 9th place overall. Marteny followed that with the 1500 meters, which he finished in 4:49.
Freshman Hayden Rhodes (Brownsville, Brownsville) completed his two lap race in the 800 meters with a time of 2:23. Wilson and Elliot both ran one lap around the oval, but in different genres. Wilson ran the open 400m with a time of 58.2 seconds, which got him 2nd place in his heat. While Elliott added hurdles to his lap, finishing the 400 intermediate hurdles in 1:03, which put him about 2 seconds under last years' time.
The team will travel to Frostburg on Saturday, April 7th for the Frostburg Invitational. "We are looking forward to this meet, as our throwers will be able to participate," said Coach Carei.