Nov. 30, 2011
The Loyola University Maryland women’s track and field team opens its indoor season this Friday, December 2 at the Lehigh Invitational in Bethlehem, Pa.
The Greyhounds are coming off a fifth-place finish at the 2011 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Indoor Track & Field Championships and enter this season with a very young squad, as 19 of the 42 members are freshmen.
“The freshmen are pushing the performance level, but they don’t have the competitive experience,” said Head Coach Amy Horst. “We’re looking for the upper-classmen to teach them that piece. I think it’s going to be good to see how that comes together throughout the season.”
Horst also discussed how much the team has improved over the last few years.
“I don’t always think where we finish in the conference is indicative of how well we’re doing and how much we’re improving,” said Horst. “Last year we mapped out the performances from the 2010 MAAC Championships, from first to eighth place, and then compared that to the 2011 championships. Across the board 2011 was a better year. The times that won in 2010 would not have even scored in 2011. Our conference is getting better.”
The squad broke seven school records last season and continues to make that a goal heading into the season.
“One of the goals I set for the team is to make all the program records be from 2011 or higher,” stated Horst. “Our assistant coaches know what the records are and keep those in mind heading into each meet. The program is young so there is a lot of opportunity to break records.”
Here is a quick look at the 2011-12 Loyola Indoor Track and Field team:
Mumford and Lopez are both walk-ons who decided to join the team over the summer. Mumford, from Roslindale, Mass., was a basketball player at Media Technology Charter School.
“Our sprint group is very young and we know that there is a lot of development that will happen there,” said Horst.
Loyola is looking for freshman Charlotte Criqui along with Krupa to lead the way. Krupa was on the school record indoor and outdoor Distance Medley Relay teams, running the 400-meter leg of that race.
Freshman Eilis McGovern and senior Samantha Westley will handle the short hurdles for the Greyhounds. Westley has high expectations for this season, with Horst anticipating that she will break the school record this season.
“Sam and Eilis are both phenomenal athletes,” said Horst. “They have been working well together in practice. As a senior, Sam has been a great mentor to Eilis. I hope that they will build the foundation for more short hurdlers in the future.”
Returning to the track this season for the Greyhounds in the mid-distance group is junior Jackie D’Antonio, who holds the school record in the 800 both indoors and outdoors. D’Antonio was a top-finisher twice for Loyola during the cross country season.
Sophomore Gabrielle Cocco has also been a great success story, coming in as the top finisher for the Greyhounds at the 2011 NCAA Cross Country Mid-Atlantic Regional meet. She will concentrate on the mile this season.
Senior Emily Doucette returns after having a strong cross country season, and will be a major part of the Distance Medley Relay team.
Last season, the Loyola DMR squad qualified for the ECAC Championships for the first time in school history and set a school record with a time of 11:59.68. Doucette, D’Antonio and Krupa were all a part of that team, and Horst also plans to add Cocco to that group.
Loyola also adds a pair of newcomers in freshmen Lauren Puleo and Lisa Potter, who will compete in the 400 and 800-meter runs. The pair ran with the Greyhound cross country team that helped work on their strength and endurance prior to the indoor season.
“Alyssa and Amy are really focused and really dedicated,” said Horst. “They both have been working really hard and doing some different types of training to work on strength development. They have both come so far with the things they are able to do and the power they are able to generate.”
Freshmen Kelly Hilbert and Meghan Walsh, who are both hurdlers, also will compete in the horizontal jumps along with classmate Jenna Smith. Junior Claire Okrongly, who is returning from studying abroad, brings experience to those events.
Noreen Petrash is the lone pole vaulter for the Greyhounds this season. She is the current school record holder in both the indoor and outdoor pole vault, which are both marks that Horst feels she can reset this season.
Courtney Willeford, a former short sprinter, will begin training for the multi-events this season.
“She’s already had a ton of development,” said Horst. “She has already learned to hurdle, which is great and she’s bringing great energy to the team in these events.”
After the Lehigh Invitational, the Greyhounds will be at the Princeton Invitational on December 10 before taking a month off for semester break.