May 1, 2014
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The Loyola University Maryland women’s track and field team heads to Annapolis, Md., this weekend to take part in the program’s first-ever Patriot League Outdoor Championships hosted by the United States Naval Academy on Friday and Saturday, May 2-3.
Last season, the Greyhounds finished fifth at the 2013 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Outdoor Championships. The team totaled 74 points, the most of any Greyhound team in past championship history. Loyola set four school records at last year’s meet, led by the 4x400m relay team that included current seniors Marissa Buccellato and Jacqueline Porter.
“During our first trip to the Patriot League Outdoor Championships, we are looking for opportunities for the women to showcase their improvement and hard work over the past few months,” head coach Amy Horst said. “The Patriot League provides strong competition at a top-notch facility, and I’m excited to compete.”
The Greyhounds send a young group into the sprints this year, but age does not parallel success.
Freshman Crystal Godette, who owns the program record in the 200m dash, highlights a trio of rookie sprinters to compete in the 200m race. Godette was most recently named the team’s most valuable player at the 2014 athletic awards banquet, breaking the program’s 200m record with a time of 25.81 at the Loyola/Hopkins Invitational three weeks ago. Classmates Claire Scavone and Isabela Ugarte will join Godette in the 200, while Ugarte will also compete in the 100m with sophomore Eileen Pastyrnak.
Eilis McGovern looks to continue her success in the 100m hurdles, after setting a personal record of 16.41 at the home meet in April. She and fellow hurdles competitor Jacqueline Porter will both compete in the 400m hurdles, an event that Porter set a program record in last season at the MAAC Championships.
“After all the hard work the team has put in, I expect us to break the 400m school record this weekend,” Horst said.
Rookies Jessa Laspesa and Scavone will both compete in the event, following season and personal bests at the Colonial Relays and Maryland Invitational, respectively. Scavone was six tenths of a second from breaking the record in March at the team’s second meet of the outdoor season.
The distance events have always been a strength for the Greyhounds, and this year will be no different.
The distance runners boast a mix of rookie and veteran talent, typically contributing the most points to the championship team total.
After coming off an ECAC qualifying run at the Penn Relays last week, Kiera Harrison looks to continue her success on the track. Last season at the conference tournament, Harrison finished second in the 5,000m, recording a time of 17:35.58. This year she has shaved nearly six seconds off her 5K time, running at the Larry Ellis Invitational in 17:08.05.
In her final season, senior Courtney Willeford looks to set personal records in the shot put and javelin, after most recently taking third at the Maryland Invite with a javelin mark and season best distance of 32.84m.
Junior Alessandra Piscitelli returns to Ingram Field, the site where two months ago she set the program record for the hammer throw with a mark of 36.77m.
After sitting out her sophomore year due to a season ending injury, Jenna Smith returns to the jumps lineup leading the Greyhounds as the team’s most dedicated player. Smith broke Loyola’s triple jump record at the first outdoor meet of the season, posting a mark of 10.42m at Navy’s Women’s Track and Field Invitational. She joins Kelly Hilbert and Emma Mascoli in the triple and long jump lineups.
Maria Hacker will represent the Greyhounds in the pole vault, posting her best height of the season at the season opener, 2.65m.
The action starts on Friday with the women’s hammer throw kicking off events at 9 a.m.