Jan. 3, 2013
STORRS, Conn. - The UConn men's track and field team is set to open the 2013 campaign at home with the Winter Opener on Saturday at the Hugh S. Greer Field House located in Storrs. The scoring meet with Southern Connecticut will kickoff with field events at 11:30 a.m. and track events at 12:15 p.m.
Directly following Saturday's meet UConn head coach Greg Roy will be hosting the Alumni Reunion at 2 p.m. at the Alumni House Great Room.
Connecticut is coming off a strong 2012 season which saw three Huskies total five BIG EAST individual crowns and Jake Waruch qualify for the NCAA Outdoor Championship. With the return of 2012 conference champs Waruch, Noel James and Tim Bennatan the Huskies are set for an exciting 2013 season.
2013 Season Preview:
NCAA qualifier Jake Waruch is the headliner for UConn's multi-event student-athletes. Following back-to-back BIG EAST titles in the heptathlon and the decathlon, Waruch qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Waruch was forced to withdraw from the 2012 outdoor NCAA Championships after pulling his hamstring in warm-ups. That bitter disappointment has turned into a major motivator as he leads a deep and talented group. All-BIG EAST multi-eventers Jesse Chapman and Ben Waruch are stars in their own right and have aspirations at the national level as well. Redshirt sophomore Sean Walsh and dependable redshirt junior Sam Smith, a four-time BIG EAST scorer, will face competition from two freshmen. National Scholastic decathlon and pentathlon champion Kris Horn and New York State Pentathlon Champion and a 6'8 high jumper Pat Meyer will look to make a name for themselves at UConn.
Sprints and Hurdles
Expectations are high for the school record 4x100 relay team (40.27) as it returns three legs and adds the Pennsylvania State 60m Champion TJ Elliot. Elliot will be joining senior anchor Jesse Drinks and junior Darnell Cummings leads a team that should include senior Kevin Smith.
The high hurdles haven't looked this good since the late 90's as sophomore Selwyn Maxwell and redshirt junior Claudio DelliCarpini form a dynamic duo for the Huskies.
The long sprints show the best depth in a long time as the coaches will look for a leader to emerge from a group that includes Kyle Twombly, Tyler Hopson and High Point transfer Justin Doehr. Senior hurdler Chris Whyte hopes to fulfill the potential that has eluded him as he is healthy and strong heading into his final year donning the Husky Blue and White. Redshirt sophomore John Rettenmeier and Penn State transfer Dele Owoye provide depth and competition.
Cody Unger, the 2011 BIG EAST javelin champion, has returned better than ever and will be backed up by Connecticut natives sophomore Brian Eilers and freshman Adam Boucher. Throwing specialist Eric Masington had a competitive breakthrough at the BIG EAST Indoor Championship and is ready to lead the group in shot put and discus in 2013. Senior Josh Faboyede seems poised to have a great senior year as he had his most consistent fall, and is expected to get over the 65' and 200' marks in the weight and hammer. Sophomore Chris Ackell, a BIG EAST finalist in the hammer, has improved greatly and seems ready to give Faboyede a run for the top Husky in the hammer. Even though he is still a novice, redshirt freshman Tosin Edwards is the X factor for the UConn squad.
Reigning BIG EAST high jump champ Noel James has shown himself to be imperturbable as he has adjusted to his fourth coach in four years, as associate head coach Rich Miller has taken the reigns in this event, while sophomore Toby Belton seems to be ready to break into the scoring column as James' understudy. Multi-eventers Jake Waruch, Sam Smith and Pat Meyer will look capitalize on their limited forays into this event as well.
A young group of horizontal jumpers has potential and will be brought along slowly. Sophomore Amanze Williams hit his big marks at the wrong times and looks to gain consistency. Pennsylvania natives and freshmen Harley Lacroix and John Landis have knocked heads in high school with state champ Landis getting the better of it in the long jump and LaCroix the triple jump.
In the pole vault, BIG EAST runner-up Matt Alexander looks to cap off his career on top of the podium, while junior Cory Duggan will also vie for the top position. Both have personal bests over 16' with potential to be well into the 17 foot range.
BIG EAST 1000m Champ Tim Bennatan and the IC4A mile champion Joe Clark headline a mid-distance group that has depth and quality. Alex Bennatan was one move away from a conference title himself in the 800 and can range to the mile, while George Mason transfer Alex Levine scored as a freshman in the IC4A 1000 and looks to move into the mile as well. Sophomore James Agati was a BIG EAST scorer in the 1000m last winter and had a great cross country season, while junior Paul DeSalvo could be the next in a long line of sub 1:50 800m runners. Freshmen AJ Chavez and Robert Rhodes both ran 800's under 1:51 in high school, with Rhodes finishing third at the National Scholastic while anchoring the National Championship 4x400 and 4x800 teams.
In the distance-rich BIG EAST, breaking into the scoring column is a formidable task. Senior cross country captain Ryan McGuire looks to do just that, as he and Bryan Fowler look to impact the Huskies competitiveness in the 3K and 5K events. Levine has shown potential to move up, while senior Jordan Magath is bulking up his mileage for a run at the 10K this spring.