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Muhlenberg College

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

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Preview
track and field teams host
indoor home meet on friday

For Sarah Gadomski, her first day of practice with the 2011 Muhlenberg track and field teams was filled with nervousness and uncertainty.

Sure, the senior long jumper/sprinter had been to literally hundreds of practices during her Mule career, but this one was different. Not only was it the first practice of the last competitive season of her career, but it was also her first practice as a team captain.

And unlike her fellow captains, Gadomski did not have a semester to adjust to her new role. Having spent the fall studying abroad in Limerick, Ireland, she showed up to her first practice never having met more than a third of the team, which includes 24 freshmen.
Peter Rice
Rice captured gold in the 200 meters at last year’s CC Outdoor Championships.
But once she got to know her new teammates and spend time with them in the field house, she said it was as if she never left.

“After spending all of my time with upperclassmen the last few years and knowing they’re gone now and I’m one of the leaders, that made me a little nervous,” she said. “But when I finally got to practice it really wasn’t that hard to get back into it.”

And it has not been that hard for some of the Mules’ other established veterans to get back into it either. The teams have competed in meets at Kutztown and Lehigh the last two weeks and host their lone indoor meet of the season this Friday. Field events begin at 3:00, with the running events slated to start at 6:00.

Fresh off his second straight trip to the NCAA Cross Country Championships, senior Bobby Torphy turned in an impressive indoor debut by posting the third-fastest time in Mule history en route to winning the 3,000 meters at the Golden Bear Invitational.

Torphy, who qualified for the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championships in the 800 meters, now
Hannah Mitchell and Kimberlee Yalango
Mitchell (left) and Yalango (right) are the only upperclassmen on the Mule women’s team that have medaled at the CC Championships.
sits in the top three in Muhlenberg history in the indoor 800 meters (first), mile (second) and 3,000 meters (third).

Joining Torphy at the top of the podium at Kutztown was junior sprinter Peter Rice. The school record holder in both the indoor 200 and 400 meters, Rice looks to add to his team-high five CC gold medals this season.

They will be joined on the track by junior Michael Baer, who placed twice at last year’s CC Championships, and sophomore Isaiah Vaughn, who won bronze in the outdoor 100 meters and was part of two gold medal-winning relay teams last season.

Seniors Matt Lauletti and Chris Dolan, junior Ryan Ganley and sophomore Michael Esposito were also part of placewinning relay teams in 2010.

In the field, the Mules return one of the top jumpers in the conference in junior Marc Brookland. The school record holder in both the indoor and outdoor triple jump, Brookland captured the 2010 CC crown in the long jump and finished second in the triple jump at the indoor meet. He also grabbed a silver medal in each event at the Outdoor Championships.

Sophomore Ryan Hellings grabbed a bronze medal at the CC Championships last season and ranks in the top 10 in Mule history in both the indoor and outdoor pole vault.

While the Mule men feature more than a few talented returners, they will also be relying on a large group of underclassmen to contribute. And according to senior captain Seth Hershman, one of the keys to this season will be how quickly the younger athletes can become contributors.

“With so many young people on the team we’re trying to build a sense of
Sarah Gadomski
Gadomski set a new career best in the long jump by almost a foot at last weekend’s Lehigh Multi and Invite.
friendship and a relationship with all of our teammates,” Hershman said. “We want to inspire each person to do their best and keep working hard. We want to help them strive to show improvement from meet to meet and work hard every day in practice.”

The youth movement is even more prevalent for the women, who return just five upperclassmen.

Junior captain Kimberlee Yalango is the Mules’ most experienced middle-distance runner. She captured bronze in the outdoor 800 meters last season. She has also won four medals, three silvers and one bronze, as part of Muhlenberg’s relay teams.

Fellow captain, senior Hannah Mitchell leads a young, but very talented group of distance runners who enjoyed success during the cross country season. Mitchell has been a part of three medal-winning relay teams during her career.

What the rest of the Mule women lack in seasoning, they more than make up for with ability and potential.

Five sophomores placed at CC meets last season, led by jumper/hurdler Collette Faust. Faust exploded onto the scene during her freshman campaign by capturing gold in the indoor high jump and following it up with a silver-medal performance at the Outdoor Championships. She already is on the Mule performance list in both events, including fourth on the indoor list.

Classmate Lexie Daniells won a pair of bronze medals as part of the 4x400-meter relay team in 2010, while fellow sophomore Erica Bash was also part of the bronze medal-winning outdoor 4x400-meter team. Versatile sophomores Amanda Brennan and Tara Keegan also placed in four and two events, respectively, at last year’s CC meets.

Sophomore Samantha Mayden earned all-region honors during the cross country season and has already posted the fourth-fastest time in the indoor 3,000 meters in school history. Freshman Nicole Cronin had a very strong debut cross country season and has also put her name in the Mule record books this season.

With so much youth on both squads, Gadomski and Hershman said they know they may have to be patient as the younger athletes adjust to collegiate competition. But Hershman also added that he has confidence that the teams will mature quickly and be ready to try improve upon their respective third-place finishes at both CC Championships last season.

“Every year I’m very hopeful and this year is not any different,” Hershman said. “I think we have the potential to do well in the conference. I’ve seen some bright signs from some of the younger people on the team, as well as some of the older athletes. Everybody is showing signs of improvement already and I think we have the potential to do pretty well.”

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