Track : Sosa’s near school record highlights successful weekend

Ramon Sosa fell .01 seconds shy of the Syracuse school record in the 60-meter hurdles at the Penn State National Open on Friday. But that’s OK, he’ll take the consolation prize.

Despite almost equaling Adrian Woodley’s 1999 record, Sosa’s first-place time of 7.82 in the finals of the event met the requirement for the NCAA provisional qualifying time, missing the NCAA automatic standard of 7.70.

Depending on the number of automatic times in a given event, Sosa’s time Friday may merit a NCAA bid.

Sosa was one of just many who lived up to Syracuse’s goal at the Penn State National Open to qualify as many individual athletes as it could for later championship meets.

The final day of competition proved to be fruitful for the Orange, as eight members of the team qualified for both the ECAC/IC4A Championships on Saturday.

Sosa was the highlight, though, as the only SU athlete to qualify for the highest level.

His finish also showed an improvement from last season at the 2007 Penn State National Open, when Sosa posted an 8.19 time that qualified him for the Big East Championship, but not the NCAA.

‘It shows that he has accomplished a tremendous amount,’ Syracuse head coach Chris Fox said. ‘He’s made himself one of the better hurdlers in the country probably. He’s put himself in the top 20 hurdlers in the country.’

In the same preliminary 60 hurdles race, junior teammate Terry Marshall posted a time of 8.28 seconds that earned him an invite to the Big East Championships.

The women also recorded championship times, as senior Jillian Drouin qualified in 60 hurdles with a time of 9.00 seconds after finishing 14th in the long jump. On the second day of the meet, Drouin continued to post Big East Championship times as she earned another spot with a 1.67-meter in the high jump. Drouin also participated in the 4×400-meter relay.

Upperclassmen weren’t the only members of the team to make the grade on the first day of the open. Freshman Lareea Chisholm proved her hot start was no fluke, as she again posted a Big East qualifying time (7.80) in the 60 hurdles. On the second day of the meet, freshman Liz McCarter came 0.18 seconds shy of taking first place in the 1,000-meter run and qualified for both Big East and ECAC championships.

Although Sosa posted the most impressive times of the meet, it allowed Syracuse to test itself against a wide variety of teams from across the nation and measure where its athletes stand against top-notch competition. Even though SU’s next meet will be at home, the focus for Fox and the team is on the championship level.

‘(This past weekend) was more important in getting us ready for the Big East than for the SU Invitational,’ Fox said. ‘The SU Invitational is more of a low-key meet, but this helped us get ready for the top of the Big East.’

Skyy Simmons continued the Saturday success for the Orange by taking the 500-meter dash title with a time of 1:03.71. In doing so, Simmons grabbed invites to the Big East Championship and IC4A Championship as he did a season ago.

Graduate student Jay Koloseus and sophomore Jordan Davis both posted IC4A and Big East Championship times in the 3,000-meter run. Even members of the team who had already qualified for the Big East Championship, such as senior Kyle Heath, worked to improve their times.

Despite what Fox described as a meet with positive results, there were still a few minor mistakes. There were tactical errors in a few races along with fouls in the long jump that Fox said the team can work to improve.

However, the goal of producing Big East times was a success, and the team left Penn State with numerous members heading to the postseason after just the fourth meet of the season. The team carried the momentum it had from the 14 qualifying times at the Cornell Upstate Challenge and qualified Sosa at the highest level.

‘It was important that those individuals got those qualifying marks because that is why we went to the meet,’ Fox said. ‘As individuals, they got those marks, and that really helps out our team.’

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