Leopards Open Indoor Track Season
Dec. 4, 2009
EASTON, Pa. - The Lafayette track & field team kicks off its 2009-10 indoor season on Friday when the team hosts the Lafayette Invitational. The meet will take place in the Kirby Sports Center and begins at 4 p.m.
Both the men's and women's team have had a great fall semester of training and the coaching staff believes both teams will significantly improve upon last year's Patriot League Championship finishes. Schedule highlights include the Lafayette-Lehigh Dual Jan. 30 at Lehigh and the Patriot League Championships on Feb. 19-21 at Army.
On the men's side, the squad will be led by a strong group of sprinters and middle distance runners. Leading the way will be senior tri-captain Kyle Clayton. Clayton has won the last two Patriot League Championships in the 60m dash and will be looking a third this season. Additionally, Clayton won the 2008 indoor 200m crown and will be looking to regain that title.
Senior Adam Ballester is expected to strongly push Clayton in the 60m and 200m dashes. Ballester won the 2009 Patriot League Outdoor 200m title and was a scorer in last season's Indoor Championships.
Sophomore Nick DeRosa was a scorer at the Indoor Championships in the 200m and will be right with Clayton and Ballester. DeRosa and senior Bradley Williams will join Ballester to provide three strong 4 x 400m relay legs. According to the coaching staff, freshmen Nick Hepp and Ryan McVeigh have shown significant improvement in the fall and will be great additions in everything from the 60m dash through the 500m.
In the hurdles, senior Sifiso Takirambudde has been a consistent league performer for three years. The coaching staff expects him to be a contender for this season's indoor title. Freshmen Nick Orzol and Peter Phillips have adjusted well to the college high hurdle height and will be strong backups to Takirambudde.
Seniors Sean Casey and Matt DeBlander will be the leaders of the middle distance groups. Both ran on relays that were top three at the Patriot League Indoor Championships and IC4A qualifiers. Casey is one of the League's top 500m runners and was an IC4A (Eastern) Championship qualifier in 2009.
DeBlander was an IC4A qualifier in the 1000m and will look to be a league scorer in that event in 2010. Sophomore Chris Pregler is projected to be the team's top 800m runner.
Junior tri-captain, Ryan Stasiowski, anchored the distance medley relay to a third-place finish at the 2009 Indoor/Outdoor Championships and will again be looked at as the team's top miler and distance runner. Freshmen Dayne Mosconi and Chris Parker are expected to be immediate contributors to this group.
In the field events, Clayton and Williams should both be among the Patriot League best in the horizontal jumps. Clayton won the 2009 Outdoor long jump title while Williams scored in the triple jump at both the 2009 Indoor and Outdoor Championships. Coaches believe freshman, Nick Carboni, could make an immediate impact in the long jump.
Sophomore pole vaulters, Michael Thompson and Nick Henderson were League scorers in 2009. Both have shown great technical improvement throughout the fall training period and are expected to be League scorers this winter.
Senior Connor McGee will lead a small but talented group of throwers. McGee previously has scored in the shot put and is expected to put up big numbers in both the shot and 35-lb weight throw this season.
All three relays are expected to be title contenders at the league championships. Ballester, DeRosa, Williams, and Casey were on last season's 4 x 400m relay that scored at the league championships with Clayton will also fighting for a spot. Both the 4 x 800m relay and distance medley relay finished third at the championships and ran IC4A qualifying times.
Casey, DeBlander, Pregler, and Stasiowski are returners with sophomore Matt Piazza, Mosconi, and Parker pushing for spots.
The women team is expected to be led by strong mid distance and jumps groups. Junior Margaret Bruno-Metzger returns as an ECAC qualifier in the 3000m and has the ability to excel from the 1000m through 5000m. Fellow junior Allison Hawkey returns as a league scorer in the 800 with her sixth-place finish in 2009.
Jennifer St. Onge and Julissa Muschlitz will also look to make immediate impacts in the middle distance events. Senior co- captain Rose Kennedy will lead the long distance group which will feature sophomore Erika Stasakova and senior Kerry Taylor. In the jumps, junior co-captain Kerriann Borke will lead a very talented contingent of horizontal jumpers. Borke placed fourth in the long jump at the 2009 Patriot league indoor meet and looks to become a contender for the medal stand in that as well as triple jump.
Sophomore Joelle Neilson returns from injury and looks to take her place among the best of the Patriot League. She showed flashes of brilliance during the 2009 campaign and will look to become more consistent in 2010.
Classmate Krista Woodward will also add depth in both of the horizontal jumps, while sophomore pentathlete Steph Hazlett will also add tremendous long jumping ability to the group. Hazlett learned the events as a freshman and should continue to develop into a league scorer in the combine events.
The sprints and hurdles group will be led by juniors Kyara Gray and Kelly Clyde. Gray finished sixth at last year's Patriot League Indoor Championships in the 400m dash and ran on the 4x400m relay. After scoring in 2009, she should look to become one of the top quarter milers in 2010. Clyde came into her own last year, just missing the outdoor 200m final and looks to become a finalist and league scorer in the one lap indoor discipline. She will also add great depth with her ability to run well at 60m to 400m.
Adedyo Adu returns after injuries hampered her freshman year and according to the coaches is hungry to leave her mark in the long sprints. Freshman Megan Matusky was a PIAA state qualifier in the 400m dash and could have an immediate impact in the longer sprints.
Freshman Jill Dozier, who is also a forward on the women's soccer team, was a Maryland state finalist in the 55m dash and looks to become a Patriot League scorer in the sprints.
In the hurdles, Borke will look to make her mark in the short hurdles and become a Patriot League finalist. Hazlett can also compete in the short hurdles, while freshmen Kelly Senters and Chelsea Marone will both pick up the short hurdles this year and add depth the sprint group.
Senior Liz Graybill and junior Kelsey Slater will lead the women's throwing contingent and both look to become Patriot League finalists in the shot put and weight throw. Freshman Gwen Steckel comes off of a very good high school career and will add the shot put and weight throw to her repertoire in 2009.
Lafayette will have the ability to produce very good relays during the 2010 season. In the 4x400m relay, Clyde and Gray return and Adu and Matusky look to make that relay very competitive in the league. The 4x800 and distance medley relays will also be very good with Bruno-Metzger, Hawkey, St. Onge, Muschlitz, Stasakova and Kennedy. In addition, senior Steph Westerman, sophomore Erin Mee and freshman Kelly Callahan will contend for relay legs.