CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – A number of schools will be in contention for the 2012-13 America East indoor track and field championship. Boston U. won last year to snap Albany’s attempt at a third consecutive title. In the history of women’s indoor track and field, only four schools have ever won the conference title, but there could be a fifth this February.
Albany fell four and a half points short of Boston U. last season, after winning its first two America East Championships in 2010 and 2011. The Great Danes will once again be in the title hunt this year, led by senior Patricia McNish (Great Neck, N.Y.). McNish won both the long jump and triple jump last year and is the Albany record holder in the long jump. Classmate Sherez Mohamed (Albany, N.Y.) is the defending champion in the 500 meter dash and should be a force in the sprints along with senior Allison Rogers (Amherst, N.Y.).
Binghamton’s fifth-place finish last season was its best since 2007 and the Bearcats have the returnees in place in 2012-13 to improve their standing. Senior Jessica Hennig (Pine Bush, N.Y.) will look to defend her title in the 400 meter dash as she leads Binghamton in the sprints. In the field events, the Bearcats boast last year’s second-place finisher in the triple jump, Alexis Murray (Bellerose, N.Y.).
Boston U. will not be eligible for this year’s America East Championship, but should again be a formidable squad after winning the school’s 11th conference title a year ago. Headlining the Terrier returners is senior Allison Barwise (Orange, Conn.). The recipient of the Coaches Award at last year’s championship, Barwise won the high jump, finished second in the pentathlon and third in the long jump. Monica Adler (Manchester, Mass.) and Rosa Moriello (Naugatuck, Conn.) should be a force in the distance events as well.
Hartford will be looking to improve on last year’s ninth-place finish as the Hawks add 15 freshmen to the 2012-13 squad. Four Hawks had seventh-place finishes at last year’s championship. Senior Priscil Appiagyei (South Windsor, Conn.), who finished seventh in the 400 meter dash, will be counted on to lead the large group of newcomers.
Maine came in eighth at last year’s championship after having placed in the top five for three consecutive years. The Black Bears graduated last year’s pentathlon champion, but return senior Nicole Castilloux (West Seneca, N.Y.), who finished sixth last year in the 60 meter dash. Castilloux is one of eight seniors who will lead the Black Bears this season.
UMBC looks poised to challenge Albany after earning a school-best third-place finish a year ago. Sophomore Mercedes Jackson (Huntingtown, Md.) burst onto the scene at last year’s championship as she won the 60 meter dash and came in second in the 200 meter en route to being named the championship’s Most Outstanding Rookie. The Retrievers also return last year’s Most Outstanding Field Performer in senior Amanda Deller (Aberdeen, Md.). Deller was first in the shot put and weight throw in 2012.
New Hampshire is coming off of a sixth-place finish after finishing in the top five each year since 1996. The Wildcats return a trio of seniors that give them a good shot at moving up in 2012-13. Leading the way is Keely Maguire (Georgetown, Mass.), who was the individual cross country champion this fall and finished third in the 5000 meter run at last year’s championship. In the field events, classmates Melanie Frazier (Bridgewater, Mass.) and Rosemary Read (West Greenwhich, R.I.) should be factors in the long jump and weight throw, respectively.
Stony Brook placed seventh in 2012, but returns several strong runners in the distance events. Olivia Burne (Palmerston North, New Zealand) leads that group, as she finished fourth in last year’s mile run and was a part of the winning distance medley relay quartet. Freshman Cleo Boyd (Kingston, Ontario) should also be a factor after she finished fifth at the America East cross country championship in the fall.
Vermont had its best finish since 2009 last season, coming in fourth place at the championship meet. The Catamounts will also be strong in the distance events. Yolanda Ngarambe (Marsta, Sweden) and Julie McGilpin (Westfield, Mass.) were first and second in the 800 meter run last year and both were a part of the winning 4 x 800 relay squad. Vermont also returns a pair of third-place finishers from field events last season – junior Mary Krug (Essex Jct., Vt.) in the pole vault and sophomore Brittany St. Clair (Whitehall, N.Y.) in the pentathalon.
Five America East squads will kick off the 2012-13 season on Saturday. Binghamton is slated to participate in the Cornell Relays, Hartford will visit Vermont, UMBC will travel to the Bison Opener, held by Bucknell, and New Hampshire will take place in the Jay Carisella Carnival. Maine and Stony Brook will open December 7 and 8, respectively, while Albany and Boston U. will not compete until January. The season culminates with the America East Championship which will be held February 11-12 at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Boston, Mass.