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Thursday, April 29, 2010 - page 3

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Championship Preview
track teams look to go big

Last Thursday members of the Muhlenberg track and field teams participated in Big for a Day (see gray box below), a community service track meet for local youths.

Peter Rice
Rice won bronze in the 400 at last year's Outdoor Championships and again indoors this year. He will also run in the 200, the 4x100 and the 4x400.
At the Centennial Conference Outdoor Championships this weekend, the Mules will be hoping to perform big for three days.

Mules Host Community Service Event

More than 25 members of the Muhlenberg track and field teams participated in Big for a Day last Thursday, a community service track meet that taught local youths the importance of exercise and teamwork.

After beginning with stretching and learning the importance of drinking water while exercising, the youths split up into groups and traveled from station to station. The stations were: long jump, javelin, hurdles, agility ladder and physical fitness challenge.

The event ended with a cool down and a pizza party.

"Sports have always been such a big part of my life and there are lots of good lessons to be learned from sports," said senior Caitlin Heffern, who organized the event. "It says a lot about the team that so many of us want to help out the community that we'll all have been a part of for four years."
Click here for TV2 Service Electric's story on the event.

Three, incidentally, has been the magic number for Muhlenberg recently; the men's and women's teams both finished third at the Outdoor Championships last year and at the Indoor Championships this year. The third-place finishes outdoors last season were both two-place improvements from the previous year.

"We're hoping to finish higher," said senior Janelle Mentrikoski of this year's meet. "With the Outdoor Championships being three days instead of one like indoors, people can get some rest and can participate in more events. A lot of people are doing well and we always hope to improve our team standings."

The men's team appears to be in good position to improve its standing; it finished just 1.5 points behind second-place Haverford at the Indoor Championships two months ago.

"Doing well indoors gives us a lot of confidence for outdoors," said senior Matt Boland. "The team is feeling very positive compared to other years. We've got a lot of talent spread around and we think we can score anywhere."

Kimberlee Yalango
In addition to the 800, Yalango will run with the 4x800 and 4x400 teams. The Mules took silver in the 4x400 outdoors last season.
The numbers back it up: the Mule men have landed at least one athlete on the CC performance list in 13 of 19 events and have more than one on eight. The women have someone on the performance list in 14 of 19 events.

Though no one on the men's side will be seeded first, the Mules will have the second seed in four events: sophomores Peter Rice in the 400, Marc Brookland in the long jump and triple jump and Michael Baer in the decathlon. Junior Bobby Torphy is fourth on the CC performance list in the 1,500 and senior Brendan Kirk is fourth in the 400 hurdles.

But Muhlenberg thinks it can gain ground in other races, too.

"We have a lot of guys on the bubble," said senior Patrick Thornton. "There are guys that have shown it in practice but for whatever reason it just hasn't come through in races. If we get some breakthrough performances we can surprise people and steal some points."

The women will once again rely on seniors Alex Faust and Jennifer Lynch, who earned Most Outstanding Performer honors in field events and track events, respectively, at this year's Indoor Championships.

Faust has earned gold in the pole vault in every CC Championship of her career and will once again be the favorite. She is first on the conference performance list and has already provisionally qualified for NCAAs by clearing 12-1, tied for eighth-best in Division III. She is also the first seed in the 200.

Lynch is first on the performance list in the 1,500 and third in the 5,000, two events she has already provisionally qualified for. She will also run with the 4x800 relay team.

Freshman Colette Faust is second in the high jump, sophomore Kimberlee Yalango fourth in the 800 and Mentrikoski fourth in the 400 hurdles.

With plenty of other performers who can place, the women will look to each other for that extra push.

"The women's team is really well bonded and the support will be there," said senior Caitlin Heffern. "Big performances can come out of supporting each other. We just want everyone want to maximize their own event and we'll do as well as we can as a team."
Click here for the Championship web site.

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