Burlington, VT. – The Penn State Greater Allegheny Track & Field team brought home two National Champions and six medals in their first season when they traveled to the United States Collegiate Athletic Association National Meet on Saturday at 9 a.m. Junior Makis Rivera (Pittsburgh, Pa./Imani Christian Academy) and sophomore Eladia Kennedy (Pittsburgh, PA./Imani Christian Academy) each brought home first place medals leading the way as part of a strong showing by the first year program.
PSUGA had to battle the elements as it was cold and rainy throughout the afternoon creating less than ideal conditions at the University of Vermont Track. However, the meet went on as planned with the field events starting at 9 a.m. Jesse Vargo (North Huntington, PA./Norwin HS) got the day started in the Long Jump when he placed 8th jumping 5.04 meters. It got PSUGA on the board in team standings giving them their first point of the day.
Then, Kennedy would bring home the first medal of the day four events later in the 100-Meter Dash. She finished second in her heat in the preliminaries with a time of 13.60 and made it to the finals. She would then come out in the finals and ran a 14.05 to grab the gold medal by .02 seconds and become PSUGA’s first-ever USCAA National Champion in school history.
On the men’s side, they had three different runners who all qualified for finals with impressive preliminary times. Chris Clinton (Pittsburgh, Pa./Allderdice HS), James Plez (Philadelphia, PA./Northeast HS), and Davin Manfredi (Pleasant Hills, PA./Thomas Jefferson HS). Clinton would end up getting the bronze medal with a time of 12.33 seconds and giving PSUGA their second medal of the day.
Rivera would become PSUGA’s second USCAA National Champion winning the Men’s 800-Meter Run with a time of 2:08.91. After being behind coming down the final stretch, Rivera picked up speed and was able to claim first place with a last second burst. DJ Impavido (Pittsburgh, Pa./Trinity Christian HS) would also medal in the 800-Meterp picking up the bronze medal with a time of 2:15.22.
PSUGA’s final group of medals came in the Men’s 4x400 Meter Relay, which served as the last event of the day. It was a show down between PSUGA and Penn State University Athletic Conference Rival PSU-Fayette with both teams coming down the stretch neck and neck. However, Fayette got the upper hand taking the gold while PSUGA took the silver medal coming in at 2:18.11.
All- in-All, PSUGA brought home six total medals and had medalists in four of the six events they competed in with at least one athlete making it to the finals in each of those events. PSUGA took sixth place overall at the meet, and continue to grow as a first-year program. This success only brightens their future and gives Head Coach Greg Schmitt a good foundation to build upon as he brings in next year’s recruiting class.
The PSUGA Track & Field team has one final meet before they officially wrap-up their 2019 season when they travel to Allegheny College for the Gator Invitational on Friday May 10th. It will give PSUGA’s athletes one final chance to lay it all on the line and give them some momentum as they head into the off-