Albany's Sheena Simpkins will lead the Great Danes as they look to defend their title.
Albany's Sheena Simpkins will lead the Great Danes as they look to defend their title.
Courtesy: America East Communications

Albany Women Predicted to Claim Second Straight Title

Release: 12/01/2010
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--The nine America East women’s indoor track & field coaches selected the University at Albany women as the favorites to win the conference in 2010-11. The Great Danes will look to defend their America East indoor title for the first time in program history.

Albany received six first-place votes and 62 points overall to lead the poll. The Great Danes finished just three points ahead of Boston University, which grabbed the remaining three first-place votes and 59 points. The University of Maine took third in the poll with 48 points, followed by University of New Hampshire in fourth with 42 points. The next four spots were closely contested with UMBC taking fifth place (28 points), just ahead of Binghamton University (27), Stony Brook University (26) and University of Vermont (24). University of Hartford (8) completed the nine-team poll. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams.

Albany will rely on its six returning all-conference selections as it chases its second straight crown. Four all-league field athletes lead the way, including senior Celine Cauderlier (Entzhein, France/Lycee Louis Pasteur/Université Louis Pasteur), who paces that group as the defending champion in the pole vault. Cauderlier won the event at last season’s championship with a vault of 11’6.5”. Also back for Albany is Kadine Johnson (New Rochelle, N.Y./New Rochelle), who finished second in the weight throw with a throw of 56’8.75” at the indoor championship. In the track events, the Danes will look to Christen Griffin (Waldorf, Md./Maurice J. McDonough), who finished second in the 55-meter hurdles at the conference meet, and Sheena Simpkins (Middletown, N.Y./Middletown/Mount Saint Mary’s), who finished second in the 500-meter run.

Boston U., which won four straight championships from 2006-09, is selected to finish second for the second straight season. However, the Terriers enter the season with 11 returnees who appear on the 2009-10 All-Conference team. A pair of sophomores, Allison Barwise (Orange, Conn./Amity Regional) and Nikko Brady (New Castle, Del./Charter School of Wilmington), stand out among that group. As a freshman, Barwise earned the championship meet Coaches’ Award, given annually to the athlete who accumulates the most points at the meet, after placing first in the pentathlon. Her classmate Brady earned Most Outstanding Rookie honors to go along with wins in the 55-meter hurdles, the long jump and the 4x400-meter relay.  The Terriers also return event champions Sarah Mosser (East Aurora, N.Y./East Aurora), who won the 1,000-meter run, and Whitney Ford (White Plains, N.Y./White Plains), who finished first in the triple jump.

Maine is selected to improve on its fourth-place finish at the 2010 America East Championship meet. The Black Bears are paced by junior Corey Conner (Townsend, Mass./North Middlesex Regional), the defending champion in the one-mile run. Maine also brings back the defending high jump champion   junior Jesse Labreck (Oakland, Maine/Messalonskee). Labreck cleared a height of 5’8” to win the event. The Black Bear sprinters are led by sophomore Cearha Miller (Waldorf, Md./Oxon Hill High School), who took second place in the 200-meter dash with a time of 24.43 as a freshman. Junior Shaniqua Burgess (New Haven, Conn./Hillhouse) also scored for Maine in the 200-meter dash, finishing fourth.

New Hampshire, which finished third at the 2010 America East Championship meet, brings back the defending 800-meter champion in senior Allison Letourneau (Kingston, Nova Scotia/Berkshire Prep School), who paced the field in the event with a time of 2:11.87. The Wildcats will also look to get points from senior distance runner Erica Jesseman (Scarborough, Maine/Scarborough), who finished second in the 5,000-meter run at the conference meet, and Kelly Thomas (Chichester, N.H./Pembroke) and Kaitlyn Dugan (Hatfield, Pa./North Penn Senior), who finished second and third, respectively, in the pentathlon.

UMBC, last season’s fifth-place team, returns both of its event winners from last year’s squad. Senior Sara Parkinson (Chorley, England/Loughborough University) will pace the Retriever runners while sophomore Amanda Deller (Aberdeen, Md./Aberdeen) leads the field performers. Parkinson finished first in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 16:47.69. She also came in third in the 3,000-meter run. Deller won the shot put, recording a distance of 45’1.5” and came in third in the weight throw.

Binghamton returns a pair of all-conference performers from a team that finished seventh at the 2010 America East Championship meet. Sophomores Jessica Hennig (Pine Bush, N.Y./Pine Bush) and Jenna Marrione (Warwick, N.Y./Warwick Valley) will lead a young Bearcat squad that includes 21 freshmen and sophomores. Hennig won the 400-meter dash as a freshman, posting a time of 55.77 while Marrione finished second in the pole vault.

Stony Brook, which finished eighth at the 2010 America East Championship meet, returns three of the four members of its 4,000-meter distance medley relay team. Juniors Justine Noel (Brooklyn, N.Y./Midwood H.S.) and Mary O’Connor (Waterford, Ireland/St. Angela’s Secondary School) along with senior Holly Van Dalen (Wanganui, New Zealand/Wanganui Collegiate) are back from the group that posted the third-fastest time in the distance medley in meet history.

Vermont earned a sixth-place finish at the 2010 America East Championship. However, the Catamounts return just one all-conference performer, sophomore runner Julie McGilpin (Westfield, Mass./Westfield). McGilpin took second place in the 800-meter run at last year’s meet. Vermont will also look for help from a middle distance team that includes junior Marisa Guerette (West Chester, Pa./Unionville) and sophomore Morgan Powers (Cincinnati, Ohio./Indian Hills), both of whom scored points for the Catamounts at the 2010 conference meet.

Hartford, which finished ninth at the 2010 conference meet, is anchored in 2010-11 by a pair of field performers. Sophomore Brittney Lawson (Woonsocket, R.I./Woonsocket) finished fourth in the weight throw as a freshman. Junior Nicolle Adams (Schoharie, N.Y./Schoharie) took sixth in the pentathlon. The pair combined to score eight of the Hawks 21 points at the indoor championship.

The 2010-11 indoor track and field season begins December 3, when Stony Brook competes in the Fordham Season Opener in the the Bronx, N.Y. Five other America East teams begin this weekend, with Binghamton, Hartford, UMBC, New Hampshire and Vermont participating in meets on December 4. Maine will open its season December 10 at New Hampshire. Boston U. begins its schedule at home on December 18. Albany does not start its season until January 7.

The 2011 America East Championship meet will take place February 18-19 at Boston University’s Track and Tennis Center.