Championship Preview: Track Teams Looking to Improve

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Matte Award

Women's Preview

To put it in familiar terms, when it comes to the Centennial Conference Track and Field Championships, the one-day indoor meet is like a sprint, while the three-day outdoor meet is like a marathon.

Tara Keegan
Keegan ranks second on the school’s all-time performance list in the heptathlon with a mark of 3,682.
Here’s how members of the Muhlenberg women’s team stand on the CC performance list heading into this weekend’s meet:

Kirsten Kuchera, 4th
Erica Bash, 4th
Samantha Mayden, 2nd
Erica Bash, 3rd
Nicki Cronin, 8th
Samantha Mayden, 4th
100 hurdles
Stephanie Carnevale, 3rd
Amber Lee Wojtkowski, 5th
Muhlenberg, 3rd
Muhlenberg, 6th
Muhlenberg, 3rd
Erin Saucier, 5th
Tara Keegan, 2nd
pole vault
Erin Saucier, 3rd
Bre Biondi, t7th
Tara Keegan, 1st

And the Muhlenberg women’s team hopes that change leads to a better finish at this weekend’s outdoor championships, running from tomorrow until Sunday at Ursinus.

Junior Erica Bash said the Mules were not pleased with their seventh-place finish at February’s indoor meet. But the one-day setup did not favor Muhlenberg’s smaller roster, which relies on several athletes to compete in multiple events.

With the chance to spread the competition out over three days, she said she feels the squad is primed for improvement.

“Having a small team and being hit by injuries, we knew that the one-day format of indoors would be tough,” Bash said. “If someone was having an off day, it really affected the way they competed throughout the whole meet and carried over into all of their events. The outdoor meet plays into our favor a lot more. Since we have a small team and ask a lot of people to do three and even four events, the three-day schedule of outdoors makes it easier for us to perform to our highest abilities.”

Given their reliance on athletes competing in multiple events, it’s fitting the Mules’ lone top seed on the women’s side belongs to junior Tara Keegan in the heptathlon. Keegan, who also ranks second in the javelin on the CC’s performance list (see right), posted a 142-point improvement from her fourth-place score at last year’s championship meet.

Junior Samantha Mayden, who broke the school record in the 5,000 three weeks ago, leads a strong group of Mule middle distance runners, while sophomores Stephanie Carnevale and Amber Lee Wojtkowski are both in the top five on the CC performance list in the 100 hurdles.

In the field, sophomore Erin Saucier ranks in the top five in the CC in both the pole vault and discus.

It’s that kind of versatility that Bash hopes will get the women’s team back to the top three, where it was in 2010. And from what she’s seen at recent meets and practice this week, she feels the team is poised to move on up.

“The conference has gotten a lot more competitive and better throughout my three years here,” said Bash. “Our goal is to improve from our indoor finish, and I definitely think we can do that. Everything has been clicking for us as a team at the right time, so we are confident in our abilities going into the meet.”

Men’s Preview

While the women’s team is looking forward to the “marathon” format of the outdoor championships, the men’s team has made a habit of going as fast as possible.

Marc Brookland
The school record holder in the triple jump, senior Marc Brookland has medaled in both the long and triple jumps at each of the past three CC Outdoor Championships.
Here’s how members of the Muhlenberg men’s team stand on the CC performance list heading into this weekend’s meet:

Kyle Sullivan, 4th
Peter Rice, 2nd
Isaiah Vaughn, 4th
Kyle Sullivan, 6th
Peter Rice, 1st
William Lowrey, 5th
Bobby McGetrick, 6th
400 hurdles
Jeffrey Phillips, 3rd
David Kurtis, 4th
Muhlenberg, 2nd
Muhlenberg, 3rd
Muhlenberg, 4th
long jump
Marc Brookland, 5th
triple jump
Marc Brookland, 2nd
Tyler Bauer, 1st
Ryan Hellings, 4th
pole vault
Ryan Hellings, 1st
Michael Baer, 3rd
Scott Reutter, 6th

Thanks in large part to a talented group of sprinters, the Mules have their sights set for their fourth straight top-three finish when they head to this weekend’s Centennial Conference Outdoor Championships at Ursinus.

“We have a pretty deep team,” said senior William Lowrey. “We have a lot of really good guys in a lot of events, and that should definitely help us.”

Led by senior Peter Rice, who owns 16 CC gold medals and has been named the Most Outstanding Performer for track events at the last three CC meets (2 indoor, 1 outdoor), Muhlenberg has at least one sprinter in the top four on the CC performance list (see left) in the 100, 200 and 400, and ranks in the top three in 4x100 and 4x400.

In addition to Rice, senior Kyle Sullivan, junior Isaiah Vaughn and sophomores Darnell Davis, Andrew Onimus and Jake Ullmann have all been a part of gold-medal relay teams.

But the Mules don’t figure to be a one-sprint pony, boasting a pair of top-five CC performers in both the 400 hurdles and steeplechase. They also feature several medal contenders in the field, led by freshman Tyler Bauer and junior Ryan Hellings, who rank first and third, respectively, in the CC in the javelin. Hellings also owns the top mark in the pole vault; he tied for third at last year’s meet.

The Mules also hope to pick up some big points in the decathlon, where senior Michael Baer, who finished fourth last year, and sophomore Scott Reutter both rank in the top 10 in school history.

If Muhlenberg does keep its top-three streak alive, it will have definitely earned it. Three CC teams are currently ranked in the top 10 in the Mideast region, led by No. 1 Haverford. But the Mules feel they have the right mix of talent, depth and experience to break into the top three after finishing fourth at the indoor meet.

“It’s been a good season so far, and hopefully we keep improving,” said Lowrey. “We have a lot of guys that can score a lot of points for us, and I think we’re going to do really well this weekend.”
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