Albany Women Aim To Continue Recent Success
CAMBRIDGE, Mass – The Albany women’s outdoor track & field team has claimed seven of the last eight America East championships, including the last four in a row. With a strong group of returning contributors, the Great Danes look like a strong bet to contend for another title this spring. After a solid showing at this year’s indoor championships, UMBC may be in position to challenge Albany’s run.
Albany returns two individual champions from last year’s championship and all but one athlete from its relay wins in the 4x400 and the 4x800. Pat McNish (Great Neck, N.Y.) won the long jump and triple jump at last year’s championship and again at this year’s indoor championships, while Tynelle Taylor-Chase (Whitby, Ontario) won gold in the 400 meter hurdles. Junior Kathryn Fanning (Manlius, N.Y.) should be strong in the middle distance events as well.
Binghamton finished third a year ago this year and will be led by defending outdoor pole vault champion Camille Ginyard (Vestal, N.Y.). Ginyard will be joined by the Most Outstanding Rookie at this year’s indoor championship, Christy DiMichele (Vestal, N.Y.) on the pole vault. Senior Jessica Hennig (Pine Bush, N.Y.) is a force in the 400 meter dash and won the event at last year’s championship.
Shelby Walton (Danbury, Conn.) of Boston U. put on a show in the 2012 outdoor championship, winning the 100 meter dash and coming in second in the 200 meters. She returns this year heading a strong group of Terriers which includes 2013 NCAA indoor track & field qualifiers Allison Barwise (Orange, Conn.) in the heptathlon and Katie Matthews (Rocky Hill, Conn.) in the distance events.
Hartford should continue its improvement this spring, led by sophomore sprinter Tiffany Harrison (Bloomfield, Conn.). Harrison finished fourth in the 400 meter dash a year ago after qualifying third and should be a top contender in this outdoor season. Junior Megan Barry (South Yarmouth, Mass.) is another name to watch in the distance events.
Maine, which finished seventh last year, boasts one of the best distance runners in the conference in Corey Conner (West Townsend, Mass.). Conner cruised to a win in the 5,000 meters in the 2012 outdoor championship and claimed gold in both the 5,000 and the 3,000 at the indoor championships in February. Sophomore Robyn McFetters (Barrington, R.I.) is also the defending hammer throw champion.
UMBC finished second in this year’s indoor championships and has two of the top individual performers in the conference in Mercedes Jackson and Amanda Deller. Jackson (Huntingtown, Md.) won the 200 meter dash a year ago and swept the 100 and the 200 at the indoor championships in February. Deller (Aberdeen, Md.), last year’s shot put champion, is very strong in the throws.
New Hampshire has a solid core of distance runners to help improve on last year’s sixth-place finish. Keely Maguire (Georgetown, Mass.) should be a factor in the 3,000 after finishing second at the indoor championships while Elise Beattie (Woodstock, Ill.) was second in the 5,000. Rosemary Read (West Greenwich, R.I.) was second in the hammer throw last year.
Stony Brook also has a solid group of distance runners, led by last year’s 10,000 meter champion, Annie Keown (Auckland, New Zealand). Fellow distance runner Olivia Burne (Palmerston North, New Zealand) will be a contender in the 1,500 meters while Page Price (Tampa, Fla.) should be strong in the middle distance events.
Vermont finished fifth a year ago and bumped up to fourth at this year’s indoor championships and should be strong in the middle distance events in 2013. Julie McGilpin (Westfield, Mass.) and Yolanda Ngarambe (Marsta, Sweden) finished first and second, respectively in last year’s 800 meter final and should be strong in that event again this year. The Catamounts also boast last year’s 3,000 meter steeplechase winner in Kirsten Weberg (East Aurora, N.Y.).
The America East outdoor track & field season will be getting underway over the week, with several teams already opening their seasons. Albany opened in Puerto Rico last weekend and will travel to the UCF Invitational this weekend. Binghamton opens next weekend with the Raleigh Relays at N.C. State. Boston U. also opened its season last week and will head to the Texas Relays next week, accompanied by Vermont. Hartford will open its schedule next Wednesday at Stony Brook in the Seawolves’ season opener. Maine and New Hampshire will both open on March 30th in Orono. UMBC is in Tallahassee, Fla. and will compete in the Florida State Relays tonight and tomorrow.
The 2013 outdoor track & field season will culminate with the America East Championship on May 4-5 at Binghamton University.