UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Saint Joseph's Distance Medley Relay of redshirt freshman George Steinhoff, freshman Michael Welde, senior captain Rory Houston, and junior Zach Michon won the title, Michon hit the IC4A mark in the mile, and SJU's 4x400m relay joined the DMR with an improved IC4A seed time to lead the Saint Joseph's men's track and field squad at the unscored Penn State National Invitational, held at PSU's Ashenfelter III Indoor Track on Friday and Saturday.
SJU's DMR lit up the track on Friday night with a season-best time of 10:13.60, defeating Army West Point (10:24.98) and La Salle (10:25.55) for the victory. That time will stand as SJU's updated seed time for IC4As and sits second in the Atlantic 10.
Each leg of that relay showed strengths in their open events.
In a highly-competitive mile invitational field among distance standouts from Georgetown as well as club athletes, Michon clocked in at 4:08.46 for seventh overall in the eight-man group on Saturday. The performance qualifies Michon for the upcoming IC4A Indoor Track and Field Championships in March.
Steinhoff has been making splashes in the debuts of his events in his rookie season; after placing third in his first collegiate mile and second in his first collegiate 800m, Steinhoff earned a third-place finish in a 1000m field of 12, crossing in 2:29.15.
He was the second attached runner to cross and finished only .43 seconds behind Binghamton senior Shamar Powell. The performance was also just .65 seconds off from IC4A qualification.
Houston went sub-1:55 for 800m for the first time in three attempts this season, going 1:54.74 for fourth place in a field of 24, while Welde led SJU in both the 200m and 400m; the rookie ran a season-best 200m time of 22.42 for 13th in a field of 25 and turned in a 400m time of 49.44 for eighth in a field of 22.
The 4x400m relay of junior captain Justin Moscoe, junior Trae' Robinson, freshman Javier Linares, freshman Michael Szwed recorded a season-best time of 3:18.62 for seventh in a field of 14; that time will stand as SJU's updated seed time for IC4As. The group won its heat over Monmouth (3:18.64) and Duquesne (3:19.22).
In the college mile division, junior John Walker went a PR 4:14.71 to miss qualifying for IC4As by just .21 seconds. The performance earned sixth in a field of 24.
Senior Will Sponaugle took over six seconds off of his 3000m PR to go 8:35.32 in the event, finishing sixth in the field of 17. Rookie Ben Bunch followed two spots behind in 8:37.53, over a 10-second improvement from his debut in the event at the Wagner College Invitational (Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex) on January 4.
In his first collegiate 600m, graduate student captain Barren McCoy crossed in 1:21.42 for third in a field of nine, finishing within a second of race champion Jack Berkshire (Toronto) whom he raced head-to-head to go 1-2 in the heat.
Saint Joseph’s returns to action next Saturday at both the Villanova University Wildcat Invitational at the Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex in Staten Island, N.Y. and the Ursinus College Frank Colden Invitational at the Floy Lewis Bakes Center in Collegeville, Pa.