WILMINGTON, N.C. - The Salisbury University men's and women's track & field teams opened their outdoor seasons on Friday, March 13 and Saturday, March 14 at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington Invitational, with the men's team taking first in the meet with 169 points, while the women placed eighth with 25 points.
The Sea Gulls got a strong start to their 2015 outdoor season, taking the top spot in the team rankings, while having 19 individual finishes in the top five of various events.
Seniors Thomas Burke and Dylan Burkett led the way for the men, as they notched first-place finishes in the 800-meter run and the shot put, respectively. Burke ran the 800 in 1:54.52 for his top finish, while Burkett used a 48' 2" toss to win the shot put. Burke's time puts him second in the country, while Burkett sits at sixth in the shot put.
Burke was joined in the top five of the 800 by sophomore Thomas McIntyre in fourth (2:00.63). McIntyre added another top-five finish in the 1,500-meter run in fourth, running the race in a new personal-best 4:06.89.
In the shot put, the Sea Gulls took all of the top five spots, as senior Ryan DiPascale took second (48'), sophomore Andrew Volz took third (44' 3.25"), senior Jeffrey Jordan took fourth (43' 8.5"), and freshman Caleb Vrzak took fifth (42' 2.25"). DiPascale sits eighth in the country, giving the Gulls two top 10 spots in the shot put in the nation.
The throws were a strong point for the Gulls, as Jordan finished in the top five to two other events, notching second in the discus throw (145' 4") and fifth in the hammer throw (147' 1"); both distances were personal bests.
Freshman Duncan Ferrin also finished highly in the discus, finishing third with a personal-best 141' 4" heave, and DiPascale took fourth in the javelin throw with a 172' 6" toss for a personal record.
Jordan now sits seventh in the country in the discus, while Ferrin ranks ninth.
Salisbury tallied two other second-place finishes, as senior Devon Hopkins placed second in the 400-meter hurdles in 56.64 seconds. Sophomore Justin DeJausserand also took second, this time in the 2,000-meter steeplechase, finishing in 6:45.71 for a personal record.
Hopkins had a successful day in the hurdles, finishing fourth in the 110-meter hurdles in 15.32 seconds. Both of his times ranking in the top 10 in Division III, sitting third in the 110 and fifth in the 400.
Senior Blake Bussard joined Hopkins in the 400 hurdles, taking fourth (58.10 seconds), while freshman Zach Schmelz rounded out the day for the track side with a fifth-place finish in the 400-meter dash in a personal-record time of 49.43 seconds, currently ranking fifth in the country.
The Sea Gulls also took two top-five placements in the jumps, with sophomore Zack White taking fourth in the triple jump (43' 2.5") and junior Xavier Stinson taking third in the high jump (6' 2.75"); Stinson's height now ranks seventh in the country, and White's ranks fourth in his event.
Salisbury had nine other finishes in the top 10, with sophomore Paige DeMent adding two more in the hammer throw and the shot put, finishing sixth (140' 5") and seventh (38' 1.5"), respectively. Her shot put throw ranks eighth in the country.
Two other sixth-place finishes came in the long jump, with sophomore Ashley Jackson and freshman Christine Randall tying for the spot with 17' 9" leaps, which sit second in the Division III, and Jackson took ninth in the triple jump for another top-10 finish (35' 0.5"), ranking eighth in the country.
Freshman Chanel Beaudoin also took two finishes within the top 10 in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, tallying seventh in the 100 (12.57 seconds) and eighth in the 200 (25.82 seconds); the times rank fifth and eighth in the country, respectively.
The top-10 placements were rounded out by freshman Jessica Lane and Bayer in the 5,000-meter run and discus throw, respectively. Lane finished in ninth in 18:43.59, while Bayer took 10th with a 101' 2" throw.
The Sea Gulls will be back in action in two weeks on Saturday, March 28 in the Big Dawg Invitational at UMBC; the meet is set for 9 a.m.