McKeesport, PA. – When the Penn State Greater Allegheny Track & Field Program began in October of 2018, PSUGA knew they had the interest on campus to begin a program that could sustain success for years to come. However, they did not know that just seven short months later, the program would have two United States Collegiate Athletic Association Champions and nine USCAA Medalists heading into their first off-season.
It was all thanks to the hard work of the 13 student athletes, head coach Greg Schmitt, and the team’s determination to succeed right away. They got to work in mid-January with five athletes and grew to 13 by the start of the season. They competed in their first-ever meet on February 16th 2019 when they traveled to Kent State University for the Kent State Tune-Up.
This is when they got their first taste of success when Davin Manfredi (Pleasant Hills, PA./Thomas Jefferson HS) ran the 60-Meter Dash in 7.55 seconds winning his heat. Eladia Kennedy (Pittsburgh, PA./Imani Christian Academy) would also win her heat in the 200-Meter Dash running a 29.93 and the team was off and running heading into the outdoor portion of their season.
They competed in four different events during the outdoor season and had seven USCAA National Qualifiers heading into their final week of competition at the Slippery Rock Open. Chris Clinton (Pittsburgh, PA./Allderdice HS) and Cameron Shaw (South Park, PA./South Park HS) would come through with big performances and become the eighth and ninth qualifiers. Shaw increased his shot-put distance by four feet throwing 7.92 meters while Clinton set a PR in the 200-Meter running a 24.80 to qualify.
PSUGA would head up to Vermont with nine athletes in tow as they looked to take their talents to the National stage. Kennedy became PSUGA’s first-ever National Champion when she won the 100-Meter Dash with a time of 14.05 seconds. Two events later, PSUGA would add a second National Champion when Makis Rivera (Pittsburgh, PA./Imani Christian Academy) won the 800-Meter running a 2:08.91. All-in-All PSUGA would bring home nine medals at the event and are primed for a future of success.
With most of the young core returning in the 2019-2020 season Schmitt will have a strong team coming back as they chase the first-ever team USCAA National Champion in school history. With a group of talented recruits coming in PSUGA Track & Field looks to continue to grow as it heads into it’s second full season of competition.