Nov. 16, 2001
If you needed one word to describe the women's track team it would have to be determination. They begin each season knowing that they are always picked to finish towards the bottom in the conference indoor and outdoor championships. Yet, each season they are determined to get better and better and improve on their overall point total. This season is no exception as the Falcons have perhaps one of their best teams ever. Here is how head coach Ralph Lindeman assess the 2002 Falcons:
WHAT WILL BE THE FALCONS' STRENGTH IN 2002?
"Junior Elissa Ballas headlines the middle distance runners in 2002 off of her 4:32.68 - 1500-meters last spring. She scored in both the indoor mile and outdoor 1500-meters at the MWC championships. Junior Tracy Denaro also dipped under 4:40 for 1500-meters in 2001. Fast times are also expected from sophomore Brandess Pardue, after she had a splendid 2001 cross country season. Sophomore Jean Taylor had an impressive debut season in the 3000-meters steeplechase in 2001, recording the 100th best time in the country. Senior Lara Coppinger also had good success in the new women's event-both are figuring to run under 11 minutes this spring. Sophomore Stephanie Cornell leads the Falcons in the 800-meters after placing fourth in the MWC indoors last February. Sophomore Kelly McPherson and freshman Cindy Dawson should both help the Falcons in the middle distance events. "
HOW ABOUT THE SPRINTS AND HURDLES?
"Juniors Katy Crow and Domonique Torbert both showed promise in their 2001 seasons, and will be counted on for even faster times in 2002. Freshman Jami Hodge is also expected to make an impact in the 400-meter indoors, but may end up running the 400-meter hurdles outdoors. I believe these three will form the nucleus of what can be expected to be a school record-setting mile relay team. Versatile senior Sarah Buegel will contest both the hurdle events and the long jump for the Falcons. She'll be joined by no fewer than three promising freshman hurdlers-Rachael McIntosh, Chelsea Peterson and Ainsley Thrailkill. Senior Adonis Haynes returns in the hurdles, but a fall knee injury will sideline her at least through the indoor season."
HOW STRONG WILL THE FALCONS BE IN THE FIELD EVENTS?
Sophomore volleyballer Brittany Edmonds returns to contest all three jumps and the heptathlon. She scored in the high jump and pentathlon indoors and the heptathlon outdoors in 2001. Brittany set a school record in the pentathlon last season. I believe sophomore LaTravia Robinson is on the verge of a bigger year in 2002, after she established a new school indoor triple jump record last season. Freshman volleyballer Tiffany Bishop could help the Falcons in either or both the sprints and jumps. Ana Maria Ortega's loss will be felt in the pole vault, not to mention in the leadership area, but freshmen vaulters Erin Richardson and Brittany Wright and sophomore Alexis Fear could surprise in the MWC. The Falcons will be greatly improved in the throwing events. Junior Jocelyn Dooley established a school record in the javelin last season, and is expected to improve to over 140-feet this season. Big throws are being counted on from senior Beth Inglis in the hammer throw. Junior Evaine Mansfield could also make an impact in the MWC in both the shot put and hammer throw after sitting out the 2001 season. Coach Scott Irving has brought in a bevy of outstanding freshman throwers-Dominique Boivin in the shot, disc and hammer, Priscilla Giddings and Sarah Deisher in the shot and discus, and Lacy DeWall in the javelin. All could make an immediate impact on the Falcons' success in scoring meets."
HOW DOES THE MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE SHAPE UP?
"BYU again will be a heavy favorite to win both indoor and outdoor championships in 2002. Colorado State and San Diego State also have formidable squads, and all could score high nationally. The Falcons look to improve on their eighth place finishes indoors and outdoors from last year."
WHAT CAN BE EXPECTED NATIONALLY?
"The Falcons have yet to qualify an individual for the NCAA Championships in the four years they have been in Division I, but I am optimistic along with my staff that there might be some potential NCAA qualifiers in the current group. Elissa Ballas in the 1500-meters, Jean Taylor in the 3000-meter steeplechase, LaTravia Robinson in the horizontal jumps and Dominique Boivin in the throws all may be candidates, albeit maybe a year away."
Of course determination will play a major role in not just qualifying for the NCAA championships but climbing out of the last half in the conference championships as well. This is a season that holds a lot of promise for the women's team.