College notes: Loughner stars for Clarion at PSAC track meet

| Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

After Clarion University junior Sarah Loughner placed sixth in the high jump at the NCAA Division II Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference indoor track championships last weekend, Clarion head coach D.J. Bevevino had some high praise for the Jeannette-area native.

“It was Sarah's best jump this season,” Bevevino said of Loughner's leap of 5-foot, 1.75 inches. “And she nearly set the school record on her last attempt. I'm very happy for her . . . her dedication helped her reap her rewards.”

Loughner, a Penn-Trafford graduate, appreciated the praise. However, always a fierce competitor, Loughner was not quite as pleased with the result, particularly since it capped the indoor track season.

“This season has been a little rough, “ she said. “I haven't really jumped the greatest, I haven't jumped my best. I've been really working hard. I have expectations for myself, and I didn't really do as well as I wanted to this season.”

When placing sixth out of more than 20 collegiate jumpers isn't good enough, you know the athlete is talented.

The good news for Loughner is that the outdoor track season is only now about to begin. She hopes to make up for her self-described subpar indoor season with a big spring.

She said qualifying for the PSAC championship meet is her primary goal, along with completing a high jump of at least five-foot, fine-inches “or even 5-6.”

Her current career best outdoor jump is 5-foot, 4.5 inches.

“Not that I didn't try hard before, but I'm really going for it this season,” she said.

As if her long jump success weren't enough, Loughner — who also runs cross country for Clarion in the fall — is taking on a second field event this season: the javelin.

The local product explained that she had never thrown the javelin at any serious level until recently, but, already, she's a mere nine feet away from what would-be a PSAC qualifying distance.

Taking on multiple challenges is nothing new for Loughner, who also played three sports in high school (cross country, swimming and track and field).

“I'm used to it, and it really helps me manage my time,” she said. “If I didn't have something to do, I wouldn't know what to do with my time.”

Loughner, a speech pathology major with a Spanish minor, has a 3.9 grade point average. Last week, she was honored as a scholar athlete at the 23rd Annual Bob Carlson Scholar Athlete Luncheon.

Cook ties career high

The season revival is continuing for the Coastal Carolina women's basketball team and Jeannette graduate Kayla Cook. The Chanticleers took a dramatic 77-72 overtime win over Charleston Southern, a Division I Big South Conference foe, on Saturday.

Cook, a junior shooting guard, had a huge game, finishing third on the team with 17 points in the win, tying her career high. She was four-of-eight from the floor and one-of-two from the foul line.

It was Coastal's second overtime win in a row and the team's sixth win its past seven games. That streak is especially significant, given the Chanticleers won six of their first eight games before embarking on a streak during which they lost 11 of 12.

Cook how has 133 point this season, a 5.5 per game average, to go with 74 rebounds and 31 assists. Coastal is now 13-13 overall and 8-8 in the Big South. Coastal plays at Liberty (22-6, 14-2) tonight and then closes out the regular season on Saturday at High Point (15-12, 9-7). After that the team will compete in the Big South Conference Tournament.

Brian Knavish is a freelance writer.

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