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2012 Track & Field Preview

15 February 2012 By Danny Kiddoo, Staff Writer No Comments
Casey Prather/ The Towerlight

Casey Prather/ The Towerlight

The Tigers head into the outdoor track and field season with expectations for success.

The team is built around a core of veterans along with an emerging group of younger performers.

Head Coach Roger Erricker enters his 27th season coaching the team and is looking to find ways to fill the void left by graduates Tara Oksaga, Brandi Gervais and Ashley Adams.

“We lost ‘the Franchise.’” Erricker said, speaking of Adams. “I recruited 13 more freshmen this year. We need 13 to make up for one.”

Adams was not only a strong point-producer for the team, she was also versatile, performing in throwing, jumping and sprinting events.

The two leading point-earners returning for the season are senior throwers Shannel Shivers and Shianna Smith.

The duo consistently battled each other for team supremacy last season, and continued this trend during the indoor season.

“We’re hoping that they can match the production,” Erricker said. “We think those two can really score a lot for us. Smith needs a little more consistency. She’ll have some incredible meets where she’ll have great performances, but just a little bit more consistency would help.”

Other squads that will be crucial for the team are the middle and long-distance runners.

The distance squad includes seniors Katie Ogden, Katlyn Dillow and Kaylin Gilmartin-Donohue.

The trio had successful cross country and indoor track seasons, and are setting up for one last run toward the conference championships.

“We knew what we had with Shannel, Shianna, Kaylin, Katlyn and Katie Ogden,” Erricker said. “We knew they were going to be leading the way for us, but it’s really nice that some of the younger athletes have really been able to step up for us.”

Erricker listed sophomore sprinter Leslie Miles, junior high-jumper Ashley Dabney, freshman thrower Alexis Appezzato and sophomore sprinter/jumper Evan Campbell as breakout candidates.

Campbell emerged during the indoor season and will provide some depth for the team.

“Evan Campbell has really come out being dominant in the high jump,” Erricker said. “If you’re going to talk about our young athletes, Evan has really stepped up and done a great job.”

Another key producer who stepped up during the indoor season is junior hurdler Katie Salke, according to Erricker.

Despite these expected performers, Erricker still finds weakness with the team’s thin sprinting squad.

“We simply lack depth. We have some very young sprinters,” Erricker said. “Desiree Vaughan showed some real promise for us last year, but we need a little bit more behind her.”

While the team doesn’t have the strength it had last season, Erricker said he has optimistic goals for 2012.

“Last year we had a bad conference championship, so we’re looking to rebound from that,” Erricker said. “The goal is to have everyone do their best at the Colonial Athletic Association Championship, and then we’ll see where it falls. Realistically, do we think we can win it? We don’t know. But we don’t want to rule anything out.”

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