After a strong regular season, a record-setting post season, and a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Championships, the women’s track and field team has a lot of hype to follow up on during the spring season.
Head Coach Jennifer Potter, a former all-American sprinter with the Bombers, said the team’s finish during last year’s outdoor season was the most exciting she has seen in a while.
“We were sixth in the country, which is the best finish in the history of the college,” she said. “We had as many academic accolades as we had athletic, so it was an amazing season.”
The Bombers fought well in each competition they participated in, earning one NCAA-qualifying time and five Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference qualifiers at the first meet of the outdoor season.
The team has decided not to elect captains and instead have a counsel that consists of the seniors. Senior Emma Dewart said she and the rest of the counsel have noticed how the team is pushing off of the powerful foundation it formed last season.
“As a team, we are a lot stronger than we have been in the past,” she said. “The seniors have been talking about how strong we have been so far and our depth, and we are not even done with our indoor season.”
Dewart, an eight-time All-American, is one of the key returners for the Bombers this season. She set three school records during the 2011 outdoor season, finishing with a time of 14.10 seconds in the 100-meter hurdles, leaping 5.86 meters in the long jump and scoring 5,015 points in the heptathlon.
Returning junior Tammia Hubbard also contributed to the team’s success last season, receiving two all-NYSCTC honors after a third place finish in the 100-meter hurdles at the state meet. Hubbard recently qualified for the ECAC Championships in the 60-meter hurdles during the indoor season.
While the team is optimistic about its strengths and depth, senior Molly Quinn said these two facets do not work to the Blue and Golds’ advantage in every aspect of the meet.
“One of our biggest weaknesses is being known because a lot of teams are gunning for us,” Quinn said. “A lot of teams look at us and know where to put their best girls to score points and put their best girls against us.”
As the team surges forward in competition, it remains without last season’s top competitors — sprinter Marcia McCord ’11 and distance runner Kate Leugers ’11. McCord broke the school records for the 400-meter dash, completing the event in 55.72 seconds last season, and set a new record in the the triple jump traveling a distance of 11.59 meters.
The Bombers will start off the season at the Coastal Carolina Invitational on March 16 and 17 and have four more regular season meets before the Empire 8 Outdoor Championship. For now, they are focused on the process of the outdoor season rather than its outcome, Potter said.
“If we continue the development we have had during this indoor season, we should be in really great shape for outdoors and have a strong group at nationals,” she said. “I’m really excited and can’t wait to see how everything goes.”