Strong day for Women’s Track & Field at Penn State

By Nick Lovera Army Athletic Communications

January 16th, 2020 | Army and Community Sports, Sports
 The Black Knights men’s and women’s teams combined for four victories and 18 top-three finishes at the Nittany Lion Challenge Saturday at Penn State in University Park, Pa. (Above) Sophomore Anna Tovkach won the 800-meter run with a time of 2:10.02. Tovkach’s time stands as the second fastest 800-meter time in Army history.  Photo by Army Athletic Communications

For the second time this week, the Army West Point track and field team was in action as they competed at the Nittany Lion Challenge  Saturday at Penn State in University Park, Pennsylvania.
The meet marked the first extensive action for much of the team on the young season, as they faced off with athletes from several top east coast schools such as Penn State, Georgetown, Maryland and VCU.
The Black Knights men’s and women’s teams combined for four victories and 18 top-three finishes on the day.
Senior captain Samantha Coletti was victorious in the women’s mile with a time of 5:00.28 and sophomore Anna Tovkach won the 800-meter run with a time of 2:10.02.
Tovkach’s time stands as the second fastest 800-meter time in Army history. Senior Calli McMullen placed second in the 400-meter dash, jumping onto another Academy top 10 list with the fourth fastest time in school history. McMullen currently holds the Army record in both the 60-meter and 200-meter dashes.

COACH’S CORNER: Head Coach Mike Smith
“I saw a lot of encouraging things today and I am pleased that we hosted the open meet on Thursday. We looked so much better today on the whole and for our speed power people I think we just needed to have a warm up meet to get things rolling. Thursday was our tune up and today we were a little more prepared for the increased level of competition. Penn State by and large was the dominant team today but we had our moments.
“What I am really looking for in an early season meet is an assessment of our winter break training. I need to figure out what we gained and what we lost and then make the necessary adjustments so that we can be at our best when it counts. Nothing and no one stood out to me as being way behind where we expected them to be so on the whole I feel good about where we are. Now we need to continue to work hard and build off of this day and go onto the next meet.
“Our only wins were in the 4×800, the 800 and the women’s mile but we had a lot of good competitive efforts in other areas. Samantha was a strong winner in the mile and she showed that she has a great starting point. Possibly the most outstanding performance today came from Anna Tovkach in the women’s 800. She has put together a very strong block of training since the fall and today’s result is an indication of much bigger things to come. She has great racing instincts and is a vicious competitor. She was dominant today.
“I was also impressed with (sophomore) Brianna White today. She continues to get incrementally better in a number of events. She is our best pentathlete and is starting to emerge as one of our best hurdlers and long jumpers. I thought she did a nice job all the way around from Thursday to today.”

Event winners:
• Women’s 800-meter run: Tovkach—2:10.02
• Women’s mile: Coletti—5:00.28
• Women’s 4×800-meter relay: Freshman Caroline Todd, freshman Katherine Verrill, junior Monika Shimko and freshman Erika Rapp—9:35.56

Notable performances:
• Women’s 400-meter dash: McMullen —56.15, second place
• Women’s 800-meter run: Freshman Madeline Magoto—2:15.03, third place
• Women’s 800-meter run: Senior Hannah Deines—2:15.38, fourth place
• Women’s 100-meter run: Coletti—2:58.54, fourth place
• Women’s Triple Jump: Bonvie Fosam—11.99, third place
Women’s Long Jump: White—5.60m, fourth place.