BY RACHEL WHERRY – STAFF WRITER
The Susquehanna men’s and women’s track and field teams showed solid performances in their first home meet of the season at the annual Orange and Maroon Classic on Jan. 22.
Between the two teams, the Crusaders had five first-place finishers. Eight athletes set new personal-bests in the process.
In the men’s 60-meter dash, three Crusaders placed in the top five finishers.
Senior Kwane Hayle grabbed the win with a time of 7.00, with junior Armond Owens finishing at his heels with a personal-best time of 7.03. Senior Peter Kerns crossed the finish line in fifth place with a time of 7.39.
Susquehanna senior Tom Schetroma narrowly won the shot put with a throw of 15.21 meters. Schetroma also set a personal best in the weight throw with his third-place toss of 14.37 meters.
A tiebreaker determined the winner of the pole vault, which was cleared by junior Jack DeLuca with a new personal-best height of 4.10 meters.
Junior Matt Gass led the Crusaders in the 400-meter run, finishing fourth with a time of 52.08.
Junior teammate Justin Skavery also ran to a fourth-place finish in the 1600-meter, posting a time of 4:44.05.
In light of his performance over the weekend, Skavery said he felt relaxed and confident during his race and is working to improve with every race he runs — an attitude that he says resonates throughout the entire team.
“Our team’s goal and expectation is to win the Landmark Championship,” Skavery said. “We have a lot of dedicated members on the team who support and train with each other to achieve this goal.”
The men’s team was predicted to finished second in the conference by the preason conference poll, 15 points behind six-time defending champion Moravian.
Susquehanna was able to knock off Moravian in the 2014 outdoor championship.
The Susquehanna women’s team was also successful on Friday afternoon.
Senior Ashley West and sophomore Hayley Painter were the women’s two top finishers of the day.
Painter took first in the pole vault, clearing a height of 2.45 meters and later took fifth in the high jump with a personal-best height of 1.52 meters.
West blew away the competition in the 3000-meter run, setting a program record with her winning time of 10:29.27 — 27 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher from Lock Haven.
“The 3k was really just an endurance workout,” West commented about her record-breaking win.
“Even though I really wanted to be near the 10-minute mark or break the Landmark record, I was pleased that I broke the school record and that I will hopefully never have to run that again.”
In the 60-meter dash finals, junior Jasmine Mitchell and senior Manouchka Paulemont placed third and fourth respectively, with times of 8.15 and 8.26.
Paulemont also went on to a third-place finish in the long jump with a personal-best distance of 4.88 meters.
Junior Hannah Perkins led the way for the Crusaders in the 400-meter run with a fourth-place time of 1:04.49.
Sophomore teammate Hannah Stauffer captured third in the 800-meter run just a few moments later with her time of 2:33.03.
West has high expectations for her senior indoor season. She hopes to win the Landmark Conference Championship, make nationals in either the 800-meter or the mile run and become a two-time All-American following her first recognition in 2014.
If they are to win an indoor conference championship this season, the women will have to unseat eight-time defending champion Moravian.
Both teams will return to action at Bucknell on Jan. 29 and Jan. 30 at the Bison Open & Multi.