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Muhlenberg College

Thursday, January 8, 2009

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Season Preview
TRACK TEAMS LOOK TO MAKE HAY IN ’09

As head coach Brad Hackett would say: “The hay is in the barn.”

The expression is often used by runners when the major training is complete and all that’s left is to taper and rest. And while the Muhlenberg men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams still have more hay to put in (seven meets before the Centennial Conference Championships), they loaded a good chunk into the barn during their fall workouts. And after being told that the winter vacation could make or break their indoor year, the teams continued to pile on the hay, keeping up their training during their time away from school. And now everything is set for their first meet, the Kutztown Invitational tomorrow.

“We’ve had successful captains’ practices and everyone came into
Evan Sheppard
Sheppard has placed in the discus at the outdoor CC Championships two of the last three years and ranks eighth on the all-time list with a throw if 146-6.
the first day of practice really ready to go,” said women’s co-captain Amanda Martini.

After breaking nine school records last indoor season (four on the women’s side, five on the men’s), the teams are gunning for more success in the Centennial Conference Championships.

“Our placement has gone down over the years,” said co-captain Lucy Brock. (During the 2008 season, the women placed fifth, after finishing third in 2007 and second in 2006). “But this year we have high expectations and expect to place much higher.”

This season the women have a large recruiting class that will make them a lot deeper in events, making it possible for them to place more than one in each event.

“Lucy and I are the only two seniors, so we have a young team,” said Martini of the eight freshmen. “But it’s good because we’re very goal oriented and everything is young and fresh.”

The men’s placement in the conference championships has also gone down; they finished third in 2006, fourth in 2007 and sixth last year, and according to senior co-captains David Chorney and Stuart Udis, they’re looking forward to being more competitive this season.

“We need to have confidence when we’re competing,” said Udis. “I think that’s something we’ve had trouble with in the past. We need to trust our abilities.”

Like the women, the men also have a lot of depth.

“We can score multiple times in multiple events,” said Udis. “Especially in the mid-distance and distance events. We should have three guys score in the 800 and in the mile.”

Sprints
On the women’s side, Martini and junior Alex Faust lead the Mules. Martini has run her to way onto the all-time performance list in three individual events and three relay teams. Faust is the defending CC 400m champion and holds the school record in the 200m.

The men have junior Jeremiah Lachaud, whose 6.70 55m
Amanda Martini
An integral part of the women's sprint relays, Martini is the school record-holder in the indoor 4x200 and 4x400. Her 4x200 team placed fourth at the CC Championships last season. Outdoors, she is a member of seven relay teams that are ranked in the top 10 on the performance list.
performance last season earned him a second-place spot on the all-time list.

Chorney and Udis expect the 400m runners, juniors Brendan Kirk and William Ryan, to step up and surprise people this season.

Hurdles
Brock placed fifth at the CC championships in the 55m hurdles and is tied for fifth on the all-time list. Junior Janelle Mentrikoski also ranks on the all-time list (eighth) for the 55m hurdles, and will continue to help the team with her hurdle skills in the 400m intermediates in the outdoor season (she ranks second on the all-time list).

For the men, Kirk placed fifth in the conference last year and ranks third on the all-time list.

Mid-distance/Distance
Captains Chorney and Udis lead this group for the men. Last season Udis set the school record in the 800m and won gold at the CC championships.

Chorney broke the school record for the 3,000m that he set in 2007 two times during last indoor season. He placed fourth in the mile and seventh in the 3,000 at last year’s CCs.

Sophomore Abby Simons was a top runner for the cross country team as a freshman and continued her success in track, earning spots on the all-time list with her performances in the 800, 1,000 and mile. Fellow sophomore Kim Bier made the all-time list in the 1,000 and mile last year, and yet another sophomore, Kate Mahoney, is coming off a stellar cross country season.

Relays
Last season, the men’s 4x800 team of Bobby Torphy, Patrick Thornton, Chorney and Udis set a school record and won gold at the ECACs, making it the fourth time in six years that a men’s relay team has won gold at the ECAC meet. The men’s 4x800 also took first place at the CC meet for the second year in a row.

Sophomores Hannah Mitchell, Bier and Simons were three-quarters of a women’s 4x800 team that earned a third-place spot on the all-time list last season. The women have a good distance corps to move up the list this year.

Field Events
Senior Evan Sheppard returns as the top thrower for the men. Last season his personal best of 44-6 in the shot put ranked him sixth on the all-time list.

Faust will be defending her CC pole vault title; she’s won gold the past two years and provisionally qualified for the NCAAs in the first meet of the season last year. She not only holds the school record in the pole vault, but also the CC standard.

Junior Debra Crockett finished third in the shot put at the CCs last year. She broke her own school record last season at the Lafayette Rider Winter Games, throwing over a foot longer than she did in 2007.

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