Men's T&F wins USCAA National Championship

Men's T&F wins USCAA National Championship

Vermont Tech College - The Penn State Fayette Men's Track & Field team won the USCAA national championship invitatoinal Saturday and head coach Joe Carei shared his happiness.

"It was definitely exciting," he said of the event, which took place on the campus of Vermont Tech. "We only started the track team three years ago with a couple of kids and now we have 22.

"I am happy for them."

Carei said the team had a 13.5-hour ride home from Burlington, VT and the weather was messy.

"It is a long drive but it is worth it," he said. "The weather was 34 degrees and it didn't know if it wanted to rain or snow, but it was the same for everybody."

The men took first place with a total of 178 team points while the women took fifth place with 68 team points.

The men's team brought home eight gold medals while the women's team, which does not have any runners, brought home three.

Mitch Minda (Elizabeth, PA/Elizabeth Forward HS) and Michael Elliot (Clarksville, PA/Beth-Center HS) both won two gold medals as Minda won the 1,500-meters, Elliot won the 110 hurdles and they were part of the 4x400 winning team along with PJ Savini (Uniontown, PA/Laurel Highlands HS) and Hayden Rhodes (Brownsville, PA/Brownsville HS).

Other men's gold winners were Aaron Mylan (Rices Landing, PA/Jefferson-Morgan HS) in the 5,000-meters, Drew Erdman (Greensburg, PA/Greensburg Salem HS) won the 10,000-meters, Lucas Klorczyk won the javelin, Craig Weaver (Newfreeport, PA/West Greene HS) won the discuss and Hunter Scott won the Hammer.

On the women's side, Siteri Tale (Uniontown/Laurel Highlands HS) won the discuss throw with a meet record of 31.56 meters and the hammer while Anei Toaisi (Suva, Fiji, Uniontown HS) won the shot put

Toaisi took second in the hammer and Jessica Wolfe took third.

"As a coach, you tell the team that you want to do this or do that, and they did it," Carei said of the championship before breaking out in laughter. "But maybe we shouldn't have hit the pinnacle so soon because now what do we have to shoot for?"

Carei said that his current staff was a huge key as well as the help of others.

"We have three quality coaches and we are able to take advantage of local coaches who help us and teach us," he said. "It was kind of fate with the way things came together."

For more information on the track and field team, to go

Written by Bill Hughes