JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Penn State track & field team punched one more ticket to the National Championships in Austin, Texas, on day two of the 2023 NCAA East Region Preliminaries.
“Day one for the women’s squad in the books here in Jacksonville,” said head coach John Gondak. “We had some highlights of the day—the first being Mallory Kauffman making a return trip to the National Championships in Austin, just missing her own school record in the shot put, as well as the women’s 800 crew with Rachel gearing setting the school record and all three women advancing on to the next round on Saturday evening. We had some other athletes perform very well today and we’re pleased with Penn State’s efforts. We’re excited to be back tomorrow with the men’s championship portion of the meet.”
Mallory Kauffman advanced to the National Championships in the shot put for the second consecutive year with a fifth-place finish on Thursday. Kauffman threw 56-4.25 (17.18m) on her final attempt to punch her ticket to Austin.
Additionally, Rachel Gearing set the Penn State school record in the 800-meter run as she finished in the top qualifying spot with a 2:02.44, securing an appearance in Saturday’s quarterfinals. Gearing passed Danae Rivers for the No. 1 spot on the Penn State list, becoming the fastest Nittany Lion ever over 800 meters. Hayley Kitching and Allison Johnson will join Gearing in the 800-meter quarterfinals on Saturday.
TRACK EVENT SUMMARY
Kileigh Kane and Maddie Ullom were the first Nittany Lions to hit the track on Thursday. The pair concluded outstanding seasons with their outings in Jacksonville with Kane running a 4:25.27 and Ullom posting a 4:26.63.
In the 800, Gearing’s school record paced the entire field as she finished as the top qualifier in the field. Kitching finished as an automatic qualifier, running a 2:05.12, with Johnson picking up an at-large bid with a 2:06.24.
Sophia Toti finished the night for the Nittany Lions, finishing her season with an appearance in the 10,000 meters.
FIELD EVENT SUMMARY
In her first NCAA East Preliminary competition in her career, senior Jean Starr posted a 187-7 (57.19m) in the hammer throw to finish 33rd in the region. Freshman Audrey Friedman, also participating in her first East Prelims, threw 135-5 (41.29m) in the javelin.
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