05/01/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 05/01/2019 12:55
McKeesport, PA. - The Penn State Greater Allegheny Track & Field program put up a strong effort at the 2019 United States Collegiate Athletic Association Track & Field Championship on Saturday taking home six medals including two USCAA National Champions. It is those two Championship efforts that named Eladia Kennedy (Pittsburgh, Pa./Imani Christian Academy) PSUGA Female Athlete of the Week and Makis Rivera (Pittsburgh, PA./Imani Christian Academy) PSUGA Male Athlete of the Week.
Both Rivera and Kennedy excelled at their events and led the field of PSUGA runners, jumpers, and throwers who combined to bring home six medals. PSUGA competed in six different events at the USCAA Championship and earned medals in four of those events while sending at least one person to the top nine in each event. Head Coach Greg Schmitt was excited about his team's performance saying 'This was a great start for a first year program and next year will be even greater.'
Kennedy represented the lone female competitor for PSUGA at Nationals as she competed in both the 100-Meter and the 200-Meter Dash. Kennedy picked up the gold medal in the 100-Meter with a time of 14.05 seconds and became the first USCAA National Champion in PSUGA history. She followed that up with a third-place finish and a bronze medal in the 200-Meter Dash, which she ran in 29.25 seconds.
For her effort, Kennedy was named the USCAA Female Track & Field Athlete of the Week on Tuesday, an award she has now won twice this season. After transferring to PSUGA from Geneva College this season, Kennedy is going to serve as the cornerstone of the PSUGA Track Team as her success will be used to help recruit athletes as the PSUGA Track & Field Program continues to grow.
A couple events later, PSUGA would see their second USCAA National Champion cross the finish line as Rivera took home the gold in the 800-Meter dash with a time of 2:08.91. It was a comeback effort for Rivera, who was behind until he hit a sudden burst rounding the final turn which was enough to give him the win. It was Rivera's second time competing on the National level after he and the Men's Basketball team made the USCAA National Tournament a season ago.
PSUGA's brother-sister duo have been leaders for the PSUGA Track team all season long in the programs inaugural season. Kennedy has been a proven sprinter for PSUGA while Rivera found his niche in the distance events in his first time competing in Track & Field at the collegiate level and both will be used as recruiting pieces for Schmitt as he prepares his team for next season.
PSUGA Track & Field has one more meet to wrap up the PSUGA athletics season when they travel to Allegheny College to compete in the Gator Invitational on Friday May 10th at 9 a.m.