McKeesport, PA. – After years of planning, recruiting, and preparation the inaugural 2018-2019 Penn State Greater Allegheny Track & Field team is set to kick off their season in just one week when they head to the Kent State Tune-up on Saturday February 16th. Led by first-year head coach Greg Schmitt, this initial recruiting class is showing a lot of talent and looks to put PSUGA on the map right from the start.
With a roster of 12 athletes spanning every single event throughout the track & field spectrum, there is a lot to look forward to as the season approaches. This initial team is one that Schmitt says is talented and ready to work.
“The kids are great,” said Schmitt. “They work hard and they are here because they want to be here. They want to do great things and they want to be motivated, and they want to be pushed, and they want to build a great program. It’s wonderful to have a group of young men and women who have the same mindset as myself and they want to be part of something great.”
Each event has someone who is looking to make an impact on both the men’s and women’s side of the ledger. With 18 events for each the men and the women PSUGA looks to make their mark in each one in their inaugural season.
The PSUGA sprinters are led by senior Chris Clinton (Pittsburgh, PA./Allderdice HS), Sophomores Eladia Kennedy (Pittsburgh, PA./Imani Christian Academy) and Samira Taylor (--/--), and Freshmen DJ Impavido (Pitttsburgh PA./Trinity Christian HS) and James Plez (Philadelphia, PA./Northeast HS).
Kennedy has the most collegiate experience out of the group running at Geneva College during her freshman season. In her final meet of the 2017-2018 season with the Golden Tornadoes, she posted a time of 13.6 in the 100-meter dash as part of the Ohio Wesleyan Invitational. On the men’s side, Plez enters as one of the top runners posting a PR of 26.54 in the 200-meter dash at Northeast High school in Philadelphia, PA. a year ago.
For the field events, Schmitt is excited to see pole vaulter Jesse Vargo (North Huntington, PA./Norwin HS) in action as one of the top recruits to this year’s class. Vargo comes to PSUGA from Norwin high school where he ranks sixth all-time in the Pole Vault reaching a height of 12 feet last year at the Baldwin Invitational.
PSUGA rounds out their field events with four throwers headed by junior Raeanna Sleith (--/--) and sophomore Kristina Sequeria (--/--). Both are new to the Track & Field circuit but are excited to get better and contribute for PSUGA.
With the season a week away, Schmitt is excited about getting his athletes on the national stage. Through the first four weeks of practice, Schmitt sees potential from his team and hopes to make waves in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association.
“Of our 12 to 13 athletes on the team, we are looking at about five of them that have a shot at going down to the USCAA national meet and not only participating but coming home with some national medals,” said Scmitt. “My goal is to get them to be great and get them to excel in the event they want to do.”
The PSUGA Track & Field season kicks off on Saturday February 16th when the team heads to the Kent State Tune-up at Kent State University. They will be competing against teams from all levels of the NCAA with the meet starting at 10 a.m.