Coming off one of its most successful seasons in recent memory, the women’s track team hopes to continue its success as it welcomes back a strong core of talent.
The successful season included winning the Heps in both indoor and outdoor track, which led to 15 runners qualifying for the NCAA Eastern Regionals. The Red then went on to finish seventh out of more than 100 teams at the NCAA Eastern Regional championships and also qualified seven women for the NCAA Outdoor Championships including two who gained All-American status, Morgan Uceny ’07 and junior Jeomi Maduka.
Uceny was one of the many graduating seniors from last year’s senior-dominated team. This year, the Red must rely on its depth to replace many of its key losses.
“This year we have a very young team,” said senior tri-captain Anjelica Gregory. “We only have six seniors on the team whereas last year there were 13. So our strength is going to have to come, not only from the top, but also from the underclassmen. We’re all interested to see how it will turn out, but we’re all there to help each other out.”
Seniors Joan Casey and Maria Telloni join Gregory as captains. Gregory cemented her status as a consistent performer after being a finalist at Heps for a third straight year last season. NCAA All-American junior Jeomi Maduka is another harrier who returns help the Red towards it goal.
Head coach Lou Duesing is coming off a season where he was elected Northeast Region Coach of the Year for outdoor track by the U.S. Track Coaches Association (USTCA). Last season, he guided the Red to top-25 finishes for both outdoor and indoor track at the NCAA championships. Duesing will head a team that has talent spread out across all of its groups, according to Gregory.
“I think that each individual group has their strengths,” she said. “I don’t think that there’s one group that is any better than the other. We have some standout sprinters; we have some standout distance girls. So we’re looking forward to some big things happening season.”
Some of those talented sprinters include All-American Maduka as well as juniors Jessica Retelny, Janice Nsor and Troy Mullins. Freshman Mecha Santos rounds up the talented group of short sprinters.
Junior Tameka Royal leads the long sprinters after being an Ivy League finalist in the outdoor season. Junior Erin Payne, sophomores Jessica Weyman and Megan Williams and freshman Trish Friederich round out the group of long sprinters who, with the help of Royal and Weyman, won the 4×400 Ivy relay championship last season.
Junior Maria Matos is another strong returning upperclassmen and a three-time Ivy League champion who leads the weight group of the throwing squad. Matos was victorious in the 20-pound weight indoor Ivy championships as well as the discus outdoor Ivy championships. Her performances qualified her for the NCAA championships.
Casey, who finished second at Heps, will lead the hurdles group. She will lead three strong incoming freshmen in Trish Friederich, Lauren Tanz and Lindsay Myron. Junior Emily Newton will hope to contribute even more this season while sophomore Jessica Weyman hopes to better her seventh place showing at Heps last season. The hurdles group represents the youth that permeates the team as a whole. According to Gregory, though, the team’s close-knit nature will help it overcome a lack of senior leadership.
“I would have to say that the strongest aspect of the team is our spirit,” she said. “We’re all sort of like a big family, and we’re looking forward to the season because we want to do well together. We spend our lives on the track with each other and we want to succeed together as a family and a team.”