In its only home meet of the year, the East Carolina University men’s and women’s track and field teams had one of its best meets of the year.
The women’s team ran away with the victory scoring 272.5 points beating the next highest scoring team the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (198.5 points) by 94 points. The men’s team came in second behind the 49er men’s team losing by a score of 181-167.
“The energy competing at home is just different,” sophomore Sommer Knight said. “We obviously had a lot more supporters than we do at our away meets and that makes a huge difference. To have the crowd on your side gives you that extra boost of confidence to perform well. We always have a lot of families come out to this meet as well making it extra special.”
With this victory the women’s team have won the Bill Carson Invitational four years in a row, however, coming in second ended the men’s streak of winning the invitational at three straight.
“I couldn’t be happier,” head coach Curt Kraft said. “The only thing that could have made this better is if the men’s team also won, but they finished second behind a very good Charlotte team so I can’t be disappointed there.”
The Pirates won 14 events over the course of Friday and Saturday. For the women, sophomore Tavia Ranger (45.18m) won the discus event, graduate student Kourtney Edwards-Campbell (55.23m) won the hammer toss.
Sophomore Mackenzie Whitaker (6.14m) won the long jump, Knight (4.05m) won the pole vault, senior Kristen Stephens (11.8m) won the triple jump, senior Grace Sullivan (10:12:62) won the steeplechase and junior Nuria Tillo-Prats (4:34:38) won the 1500 meter race.
Junior Alyssa Sandy (13.38s) won the 100 meter hurdles, senior Cedrina Singletary (55.19s) won the 400 meter and graduate student Sarah Hamon (17:40:42) won the 5000 meter.
On the men's side, there were a decent number of victories as well. Senior Nick Ciaccia won two events the 1500 meter (4:00:05) and the 5000 meter (15:00:98), junior Dylan Kraft (60.17m) won the javelin and senior Hakeem Horton (7.35m) won the long jump.
Sullivan broke her own school record in the Steeplechase, turning in a time of 10:12.62 beating her previous best time by a full 13 seconds. This new personal record could put her in the top three in the American Athletic Conference heading into their meet next weekend.
“I don’t even know where to begin,” Kraft said. “We won seven events on the track and seven field events. We set like 22 personal bests. A kid named Blake Mathews surfaced this weekend he ended up going 1.9 meters in the high jump. There were a lot of great performances on both sides. It was such a great weekend.”
With this meet complete the Pirates only have three more meets, two on the same day, before the American Athletic Conference Championships.
“I wouldn’t say now is crunch time,” Knight said. “It is definitely time to lock in and start becoming more consistent with hitting those competitive marks and times. We have two more meets until conference and those are the times to make final adjustments and figure out who’s going to be doing what when it is time for the big show.”
The Pirates will split up as part of the team will compete at the Pickle Field Day Relays in Mount Olive, North Carolina on Friday. While the rest of the team will go to Greensboro, North Carolina to participate in the Aggie Invitational on Friday and Saturday. The times for both have yet to be announced.