After winning two consecutive Heptagonal championships and enjoying years of remarkable success, women’s indoor track coach Lou Duesing refused to classify the Red as the favorite to three-peat at Heps this season.
“First and foremost, we are not trying to repeat,” said Duesing, “This is a different team. Last year we weren’t trying to repeat. I don’t get caught up with that and I make sure the kids don’t get caught up in that. All you can do is work hard and do the best you can.”
The team Duesing will guide into competition this season is much different from last year’s. The loss of mainstays Katy Jay ’03, Sarah Herskee ’03, Caitlin Ramsey ’03, Carlan Gray ’03, and Natalie Whelan ’03 have changed the complexion of the team. Despite these losses, this year’s senior class is ready to step up and fill the void.
“The success of any team is directly correlated to the quality of the senior leadership,” Duesing explained, “Last year we had great leadership, and this year, thus far, I’ve been very pleased with the quality of leadership.”
The keys to success are leadership, staying healthy, and team depth. The solid leadership of captains Hannah Garrity, Merili Mosley, Ann Hansgate, and Stacey Nadolny as well as the other upperclassmen will be a tremendous asset.
Keeping the team healthy is also essential, as off-season workouts and the start of regular workouts will minimize the chances of infirmity.
Depth is the third critical area. Winning events is good, but in order to win championships you need as many athletes as possible to place in an event. According to Duesing, no single aspect of the team can carry the others.
“If you’re going to be successful in the league you need a full team. Having specialists like a throws group and a distance group will score you a lot of points and you may be very competitive, but you’re not going to win,” he said.
After spending her junior year abroad in Scotland, Red sprint phenom Garrity will try to continue from where she left off. She has some of the top all-time performances in 60 meter, 200 meter, 55 meter hurdles, and 60 meter hurdles. She finished second in the 200 meter Heps in 2002. Kari Steed, the 400 meter Heps Champion and member of the record-holding 4×400 relay team, will return. Shonda Brown, who finished eighth at the ECACs in the 500 meter, and sister Jessica — school record holder in the 500 meter — will look to continue their domination of the Ivy League.
The two most accomplished hurdlers in Red history, Mosley and Garrity, return to punish competitors. Mosley turned in a great performance at Heps last year, finishing third. The return of Garrity along with sophomore Jamie Gruebel will make the Red a dominant force in the league.
Led by Hansgate and classmates Natalie Gingrich and Kinsy Miller, the Red hopes to continue its historical domination in the middle distance races. Last year the 4×400 meter relay team of Steed, Jessica and Shonda Brown, and anchor Katy Jay ’03 placed third at Heps and second in the ECACs. Following a third place finish in the ECACs in the 4×800, Carrie Richard, Hansgate, and Alison Koplar will attempt to build on their previous successes.
Arguably, distance is the most competitive group of events in the Ivies, the Red will have to work hard and scrap for as many points as possible. Junior Kate Boyles, who placed fifth at the Heps in the 3000 meters, will lead the way. Classmate Alyssa Simon and sosrc”ores Emily McCabe and Christy Planer should also be major contributors.
The Red is returning all members of the jumps from last season. With the additional experience the Red should improve and place more members in events. Jessica Brown, who placed fifth at Heps last year in the high jump, will anchor the vertical jumpers and will receive support from sophomore Stephanie Dixon and freshman Shawna Rossini. Junior Amy Leung and freshmen Julie Maier and Shannon Miller will lead the Red pole vault effort. Following strong performances at Heps last season, Ibralate Stanley-Ikhilioju and Kalfia Pilgrim will contribute in the horizontal jump.
The Red will hand weight duties off to juniors Becky Tucker and Stacey Nadolny. Tucker placed sixth in the shot put and second in the weight throw at Heps. Sophomores Sheeba Ibidunni and Ashley Kincaid will also chip in.
This year the Red will turn to sophomore Jamie Greubel to compete in the pentathlon. After an amazing freshmen year in which she finished third at Heps, Greubel will continue to be a force in the league.
Archived article by James Rich