Ready to build off their indoor track seasons, the outdoor season is upon the ‘Cats after a couple of weeks off from competing. The women’s team captured a respectable third-place finish at the America East Championships in indoor while the men reached their goal of a top-five by finishing fifth. Athletes usually see their times drop and jumps and throws gain in the outdoor season due to growth and change of competition conditions, so expect a healthy amount of new personal records this upcoming season.
The duo of senior Laura Rose Donegan and junior Elinor Purrier will presumably make their return to the 3,000-meter steeplechase this season. Both competed in mainly the mile this past indoor season, but after qualifying for the NCAA Championships last outdoor season for the steeplechase, the goal this season will be to make it back to the championships. Both achieved All-American honors in the steeplechase there, with Purrier at third and Donegan sixth.
Hannah Kimball, indoor conference champion in the 1,000m, should be strong in the in the middle distance for outdoor and was a vital part of the 4x800m relay team that finished second at conference in indoor. Other distance events to watch out for include the mile, a strong event for Shannon Murdock and the 3,000m with Alex Giese and Amanda Syzmanski.
The women’s team has been strong in the field events lately as well, highlighted by Emma Checovich breaking the school record in the pentathlon at the indoor conference championships as well as setting the 60m hurdles school record. This could translate to success in an outdoor environment in the 100m hurdles. Depth in the jumps will also help the women’s team, as well at Junior Emily Wernig who owns a school record in the discus at 148-feet 1-inch. She was the conference champion last outdoor season.
Leading the way for the Men’s team this outdoor season will be sophomore Brett Hoerner who is the reigning conference champion in the 1,000m from indoor season. His time of 2:29.03 scored some valuable points for his teams fifth place finish.
Junior Joel Nkounkou will be aiming for a top conference finish as well in the decathlon, as he was just shy of first place in the heptathlon in the indoor season. Other people who have been coming on strong include senior John Cox, who is competing free of injuries and freshmen Matthew Adams in the 500m. Both athletes could also be seen competing in the 400m at some point in time this season.
Holding it down for the throwers will be Nicholas Ritzo, Zachary Astle, and Eric Brigioli. All three threw well at the last meet before the start of outdoor events at the IC4As.
Lastly, the distance medley relay team consisting of Sophomores Brett Hoerner and William Ulrich and seniors Jacob Kittredge and Ross Hardy finished second at IC4As last season and should bode well again making the transition to outdoor.
Catch the opening weekend for the ‘Cats this weekend as some go to The Colonial Relays in Williamsburg Virginia, and the rest of the team to the University of Maine in Orono on Saturday, April 1.