Meet: Penn State National Invitational/George Mason Patriot Games
Location: Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Track – State College, Pa./George Mason Fieldhouse – Fairfax, Va.
The Short Story: Junior throwers Ryan Coles and Brandon Ruffin had big weekends and sophomore Xavier Waller broke a school record to lead the VCU men's track and field squads to strong showings at the Penn State National Invite and the George Mason Patriot Games. Coles and Ruffin each had two top-five performances, while Waller set a new standard in the heptathlon.
How It Happened
At Penn State:
- Ryan Coles had the performance of the weekend for the rams. On Friday night he got started off with a two-foot PR in the weight throw when he threw 54'0.5" on his first throw. He returned on Saturday to monster a nearly four-foot PR in the shot put and a new school record of 58'4.5." The throw resulted in a 3rd place finish for Coles, ranks him 53rd in the country and currently has him ranked as the best collegiate shot putter in the state of Virginia and in the Atlantic 10.
- Classmate and fellow thrower Brandon Ruffin wasn't far behind Coles though. His shot put mark of 56'3 was also over the school record that Ruffin previously held at 55'11.75." The throw placed him 5th in the competition. Ruffin had the better performance in the weight throw the day before though where he was fourth overall and the third best collegian in the field with his throw of 61'10.5." The mark was a seasonal best for Ruffin and within a foot of his PR.
- Kyle Sipple showed he is ahead of pace from last season when he took 8th place in the 500 in a time of 1:06.13.
- Kyle Martin continued his consistency in the 60 Hurdles where he completed the prelims in a time of 8.26 seconds to advance to the semi finals where he ran a slightly slower 8.28 and was the 8th best collegian in the field that included 5 post collegians.
At George Mason:
- Xavier Waller continued his hot streak this week in his first multi event competition of the season taking second place in the heptathlon. The sophomore set PRs in the 60, shot put, pole vault, and 1000 along with the second best high jump performance of his career in the 7 event competition to PR by nearly 500 points to break the school record by just under 250 points with a combined score of 4731 points.
- George Moore took 2nd in the 500 and was the top collegian in the event with his time of 1:04.88.
- Khalid Khamis continued to show his prowess in the middle distance events with his PR time of 1:56.04 to take 3rd in the 800.
- Freshman Joe Philips-Manson began a climb up the all time VCU performance lists in the throws finishing 5th in the weight throw and 8th in the shot put. His throw of 45'7" in the shot put is 9th best in school history and his 44'11.75" in the weight throw ranks 8th all time.
From Head Coach Jon Riley:
- The throwing events are our deepest area on the men's team and our throwers push each other to new levels as they compete against one another and against some of the top competition in the country. Ryan is having an impressive streak of improvement this year. He has thrown 4 times for us so far this season and all 4 competitions have resulted in personal bests for him and now a massive school record. His hard work has put him as one of the best throwers around but we know he isn't satisfied there and will continue working to improve in all of his events and to work up the national rankings. Brandon is also putting in tremendous work and effort and is pushing our program into new heights and achievements with both the shot and weight. In the entire history of VCU there had only ever been 2 throws over 17 meters in the shot put and today we had 2 guys do it on the same day.
- Xavier tallied his first school record today and is just getting started on the path of excellence he is setting as our most dynamic underclassman currently. He has done a lot of great growth mentally and physically as a competitor this year and we will continue to lean on him to keep growing and striving for new heights, faster times, and bigger results as he tackles a multitude of events.
- The Rams will once again split up the squads next weekend sending competitors to the prestigious New Balance Invitational in New York as well as the Vince Brown Invite at Christopher Newport.