Indoor Track, Not Content With Last Year’s Success, Competes for NCAC Title

Alicia Smith, Staff Writer

After a highly successful 2008– 2009 season, the indoor track team is more than ready to exceed last year’s accomplishments in the coming season.

The women’s team tied for first place with Ohio Wesleyan University at the North Coast Athletic Conference championships last year. The team boasts many returnees and new faces who could hopefully lead the team to another first place finish.

Junior Joanna Johnson has dominated distance events since her first year. In her first two years at Oberlin, she won five conference championships and a region- al championship, and became a two-time All-American. This fall, Johnson came in fifth at the cross country championships.

Senior Clara Shaw, who earned NCAC honors last year, and first- year Sara Terashima, the NCAC Newcomer of the Year for cross country, should also make some noise in the distance events.

Senior captain Madeline Schultz, last season’s NCAC Sprinter and Hurdler of the Year, returns after a standout junior season. Junior Amanda Miller and sophomore Melissa Elie will accompany Schultz as some of the squad’s top returning sprinters.

In the field events, junior Laura Vernon returns after placing first in the NCAC in the pole vault last year. First-year Julie Gaynes could also make a name for herself in the event.

On the men’s end, senior captain Seth Wimberly, junior Solomon Turner and sophomore Reshard el-Shair return as some of the league’s top sprinters.

Junior Josh Gallagher, who has found great success in field events, should make a splash again this year in the shot put.

The men’s distance runners will be led by sophomores Ben Schild and Stephen Williams. They will be helped by first-years Sean Bates, Ryan Kavanaugh and Eric Line, whose outstanding performances in high school hope- fully foreshadow great things in their college careers.

Both the men and the women have deep rosters with individuals who may not be noted, but will surely make their mark in their respective events this season.

“I think that there are so many athletes on both the men’s and women’s end that will be amazing,” Wimberly said.

“With the cross country teams coming off strong seasons, a large freshman class, and a sizeable number of returning conference performers, I think the whole team can be expected to do great things,” Gallagher added.

Although the Yeomen set a school record with their third-place at the conference championships last season, they are not yet satisfied and hope to “finish even higher this season,” Wimberly said.

Wimberly, who has been battling a hamstring injury, doesn’t plan on letting that interfere with his goals for the team and his individual aspirations.

“My overarching goal for our team this year is to be successful. I am looking forward to getting my leg to 100 percent and hopefully making it to nationals,” Wimberly said.

Schultz reiterated similar goals for the team. “Our goals this season are to go for the conference championship again, and to see some impressive performances from our incredible depth on both teams,” she said.

The team has worked hard in the pre-season in order to be as prepared as possible to dominate in competition. The team’s captains have been organizing the fall pre-season practices.

“We’ve been focusing on building strength and endurance this fall. It’s hard to do much else without coaches,” Schultz said.

In addition to the anticipation of the success the team expects, the Yeomen and Yeowomen are also looking forward to bonding and competing with the new members of the team.

“I am excited to compete alongside all of the new faces on the team during the conference meet in March, and, conceivably, nationals,” Gallagher said.

The team kicks off its season Dec. 11 and 12 at the Kent State Golden Gala.