EDINBORO — Redshirt-senior Danielle Sciremammano won the long jump and broke the conference record in the 60-meter hurdles during prelims to highlight a stupendous opening day for the Shippensburg University women’s indoor track & field team at the 2018 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Indoor Track & Field Championships being held inside Edinboro’s notorious Mike S. Zafirovski Sports and Recreation Dome.

Shippensburg established an impressive lead after the first day by accruing 71 points from just seven completed events. Slippery Rock sits second with 37 points, while West Chester is third with 30 points. SU qualified three performances for Sunday track finals after Saturday prelims, compared to five for The Rock and two for the Golden Rams.

Sciremammano was the highlight of the prelims, running 8.53 seconds in the 60-meter hurdles to not only break the school record of Caitlin Stuetz (8.61 seconds in 2013) but also the conference, meet and facility record set by East Stroudsburg’s Aspen Gaita (8.54 seconds) at last year’s conference championships.

The performance ranks Sciremammano sixth on the NCAA Division II performance list and will result in her competing in two events at the national championships in two weeks. Sciremammano also ranks eighth in the nation in the long jump.

Sciremammano won the long jump Saturday on her first attempt – posting a mark of 19 feet, 2 ½ inches to edge Slippery Rock freshman sensation Reagan Hess (18 feet, 11 ¾ inches on her second attempt). Two weeks ago, Sciremammano had never surpassed the 19-foot mark in the long jump. She has now done so in back-to-back meets.

It is Sciremammano’s first PSAC indoor title in the long jump and third scoring performance overall after placing fourth in each of the last two seasons.

Shippensburg cleaned up in the pentathlon, placing first, third and seventh. Junior Erica Helm dazzled in winning her first conference championship, posting a score of 3,349 points that is just seven points off the school record.

It is a PR score of 74 points for Helm and an incredible season best of 365 points, as she was competing in her first full multis competition in nearly three months. She posted a new personal best in the 800 meters to cap off the win, running the fastest time in the field of 2:33.10.

Helm has now placed all three seasons in the indoor multis: she finished fifth last year and eighth as a freshman. Junior Kali Dawson scored for the second time with an All-PSAC, third-place performance of 3,264 points. Dawson finished seventh last season. Like Helm, she posted a PR in the 800 meters by running 2:33.60.

Redshirt-freshman Stephanie Swartz, competing in her first PSAC pentathlon and the No. 10 seed overall, finished seventh with 2,947 points for a tremendous 236-point PR. Swartz, competing in her third collegiate multi, achieved new personal bests in the 60-meter hurdles (9.96), high jump (5 feet, 0 ½ inches), shot put (27 feet, 7 ½ inches) and the 800 (2:37.36).

Senior Kali Hepner made it four straight years scoring in the indoor pole vault, posting her highest finish to date with a second-place clearance of 12 feet, 6 ¾ inches. Hepner and Slippery Rock’s Courtney McQuaide both finished with the same clearance, but Hepner cleared it on the first attempt and had two less misses than McQuaide.

Hepner previously finished in a tie for fourth last year, a tie for seventh as a sophomore and in sixth as a freshman. Over her four years at the PSAC meet, Hepner improved from a top clearance of 11 feet, 2 ¼ inches in 2015 up to 12 feet, 6 ¾ inches on Saturday.

The long jump, pentathlon and pole vault are all specialty instruction events for SU head coach Dave Osanitsch – his athletes produced 36 points from those three events alone. That total is better than all of the other team scores in the field after the first day other than Slippery Rock.

The day’s lone throwing event yielded 15 points. Redshirt-senior Paige Shirk finished second on a top mark of 54 feet, 7 ½ inches – her second PSAC scoring effort in the event after a fifth-place finish last year.

Redshirt-senior Ava Bonetti and freshman Jochebed Arthur each scored for the first time in the PSAC weight throw. Bonetti placed fifth on a top mark of 52 feet, 0 ¾ inches, while Arthur unfurled a PR throw of 51 feet, 5 ¾ inches for sixth place. Arthur’s throw was a new personal best of more than a foot.

SU’s distance squad produced as well on Saturday. Redshirt-junior Caity Reese, senior Bryanna Dissinger and junior Jackie Kinkead finished consecutively in the 5K, spanning fourth through sixth place.

Reese crossed the line in 17:53.16 for her first PSAC indoor 5K scoring effort, while Dissinger was close behind in 17:54. Dissinger finished sixth last season. Kinkead ran 18:09 for her first indoor points in the 5K.

Shippensburg got four points in both the 4x800-meter relay and the distance medley relay – with each unit placing fifth. Freshman Jenna Robbins and sophomore Abby Lee ran on both relays, while redshirt-freshman Lydia Cagle and senior Kiana Tucker ran on the 4x8 and sophomore Cirsten Kelly and freshman Natalee Serwatka contributed to the DMR.

In addition to Sciremammano’s finals qualification, Tucker will run in the 400-meter finals (58.75 seconds) and senior Jill Bertino will compete in the 60-meter dash finals; Bertino ran a new collegiate best of 7.83 seconds.

The shot put and high jump start Sunday around noon, with the awards ceremony slated for 4:15 p.m. SU is the defending champions and is seeking its league-leading eighth conference title with a repeat.

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