Panthers earn first title in program history
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Freshmen Sam Pinto-Pannella (Land O' Lakes, Fla.) and Zach Wallace (Wayne, Maine) came up huge in the shot put to help lead the Plymouth State University men's indoor track & field team to its first-ever program win at the PSU Winter Classic at the Bank of New Hampshire Field House at ALLWell North on Saturday.
Plymouth State jumped out to a lead with strong point totals in the early field events and the mile run, but Fitchburg State University clawed back in the middle stages of the meet during the sprints. PSU trailed by five points with just two events remaining, but the Panthers' 4x400-meter relay team picked up key points with a first place finish and Pinto-Pannella and Wallace sealed the win after finishing first and third in the shot put.
PSU (159 points) edged out Fitchburg State (146.50) for the team title, while the University of Massachusetts Boston finished a distant third with 86 points.
PSU Winter Classic – First of Nine Teams
How it Happened:
* Pinto-Pannella came up clutch in his final throw, leapfrogging a couple competitors to claim the top spot with a distance of 12.86 meters. Wallace reached 12.64 meters to take third.
* Juniors Nate Belanger (Newmarket, N.H.), Noah Byington (Hanscom AFB, Mass.) and Leo Shattuck (Grafton, Mass.), and senior Warren Bartlett (Loudon, N.H.) teamed up to capture the 4x400-meter relay in convincing fashion. The Panthers' time of 3:37.20 was more than four full seconds fastest than the next best time.
* Sophomore Terrell Lewis (Nashua, N.H.) was a double winner, taking first in the 60-meter hurdles in 8.61 seconds, while also capturing the long jump with a leap of 6.36 meters.
* Classmate Joey Baylus (Loudon, N.H.) finished third in the 60-meter hurdles (9.03), while Shattuck and senior Evan Dolecki (New Hartford, Conn.) ended up third and fourth in the long jump. Shattuck finished with a jump of 6.28 meters, with Dolecki right behind with a leap of 6.25 meters.
* Belanger won the 800-meter run in 2:02.56, more than five seconds faster than his previous best.
* Bartlett wasn't challenged on his way to a first place finish in the mile run. His time of 4:28.07 was more than 11 seconds faster than the second place finisher. Byington took third in 4:41.81.
* Plymouth State's sprinters performed well in the 60-meter dash as three Panthers qualified for the finals; senior Isaiah Bolden (Dover, N.H.) and freshmen Tucker Gosselin (Sanbornville, N.H.) and Noah Couitt (Swansea, Mass.). Bolden finished third in 7.36 seconds, while Gosselin took fourth (7.39) and Couitt ended up sixth (7.42).
* Sophomore Noah Williams (Rochester, N.H.) finished third in the 200-meter dash, crossing the line in 24.33 seconds, while Baylus was seventh in 24.66.
* A pair of freshmen performed well in the 400-meter dash, as Dillon Buttner (East Randolph, Vt.) and CJ Miller (Branford, Conn.) finished second and fourth, respectively. Buttner crossed the line in 55.26 seconds, with Miller just behind in 55.42.
* Sophomore Tim Gray (Derby, Vt.) cleared the 13-meter mark in the weight throw for the second straight meet. His long of 13.31 meters was good enough for third.
* The Panthers' 4x200-meter relay squad also performed well, when Gosselin, Couitt, Bolden and Lewis joined forces to post a 1:36.27.
Straight from the Coach's Mouth:
"It feels great to get the first program win on the home track," said head coach John Ostler. "I'm thrilled for the guys to end their semester with the most well-rounded team effort in program history. It's easy to look at the winners today – Sam [Pinto-Pannella] was clutch in the shot put and Terrell [Lewis] and Warren [Bartlett] were predictably dominating – but we won today because a lot of unsung heroes scratched out some key points. It was fun getting nice point totals from each corps of the team. That's a credit to the entire coaching staff for having each unit ready to go today."
* Plymouth State is off for final exams and the holiday break. The Panthers return to action on Jan. 12 for the Middlebury Winter Classic at Middlebury College.
– 30 –