Jan. 10, 2011
Storrs, Conn. -
The UConn women's track and field team will open the indoor season this weekend at the Armory Invitational in New York on January 15. In preparation for the upcoming season, UConnhuskies.com will preview the team in three segments. Today will be the field events. Check UConnhuskies.com later in the week for a preview on the mid-distance corps and the sprinters and hurdlers.
ON THE FIELD...
"Traditionally the field events have been the staple for our programs championship points - continuing that position with the equally increased stature of sprint/hurdles and mid-distance events is paramount as we mount another championship run. My thoughts move to two-time All-American Victoria Flowers
and BIG EAST and ECAC Champions Whitney Holder
and Kristen Brown
to show the way for this promising group."
- Head Coach William Morgan
The identity and success of the women's track and field program is clearly a balance among both the track and field components. A look at the field group shows the significant performances of the past year along with the possibilities for this year. The field program should provide a solid base for UConn's BIG EAST Championship run this season.
"In a conference of 16 teams, the champions must be evident - we have several and we will need all to do it again to reach our goals as a team," said Head Coach Bill Morgan
With the graduation of three-time All-American and five-time BIG EAST Champion Carin Knight ('10), the high jump should still be a consistent strong point for UConn as four jumpers look to continue to build on the program's 12 All-America Titles of the past.
Sophomore Jasmine Cribb (Naugatuck, Conn.) returns as an All-BIG EAST performer (Fifth Indoor, Fourth Outdoor), and Penn Relay record holder (College Division - 1.81m - 5'11 ½"). Newcomer Natasha McLaren (Stroudsburg, Pa.) shows much promise and should eventually make her way onto the national scene as well in years to come. Add senior Olga Ponomarenko (Concord, Mass.) and first-year jumper Ilva Bikanova (Madonas, Latvia) to the group and "very promising" looks to be their label for this season.
In the pole vault, sophomore Angelica Gilsenan (Danbury, Conn.) and freshman Jessica Banning (Bozran, Conn.) show encouraging development which should allow them to contribute to team points during the championship season.
The duo of two-time All-American junior Victoria Flowers (Providence, R.I.) (2009, 2010 indoor weight throw) and NCAA competitor and BIG EAST Champion Tynisha McMillian (Stamford, Conn.) (2009 indoor shot put) have provided some of the program's most memorable moments in the throws.
Flowers, coming off an extraordinary performance in gaining the runner-up spot at the 2010 NCAA Indoor National Championships, recorded three personal-best throws in her first three attempts (20.83m, 21.23m, 21.44m). She will once again be looked upon to dominate in the 20lb weight event. Flowers, the New England record holder at 68'5", also won the ECAC (20.07m) and New England (18.63m) Titles last season. Her work in the shot put should not go unnoticed as she will provide break-out performances as the year progresses.
Redshirt senior Micmillian, with outdoor eligibility, will continue her assault on her present school record in the shot put (15.58m) while aiming at former NCAA qualifier Amy Parkosewich's discuss record of 52.86m.
In the javelin, sophomore Emma Crowcroft (New Milford, Conn.) has made a significant statement on the national stage, having the top freshman mark in the country last season (46.59m). She placed 16th at the NCAA Championships in her first year at Connecticut. As an ECAC Champion and a NCAA finalist, the invaluable experience learned last season should provide for a banner year. Number two on the UConn outdoor list behind former NCAA finalist Amanda Martin (50.94m), Crowcroft should seriously contend for the top honor. Look for juniors Danika Ham (Somersworth, N.H.) and Michelle Bashaw (Salisbury, Mass.) to challenge Crowcroft throughout the season.
The results from last year should be a sign for great expectations this time around. Sophomores Whitney Holder (Middletown, Conn.) and Kristen Brown (Englewood, N.J.) have arguably put themselves into an elite category, winning both the BIG EAST Outdoor (6.11) and ECAC Indoor Titles (5.98m), respectively. With added consistency, expect the dynamic duo to push for the indoor school record of 20'6 ¼" (6.25m) held by former great Cheryl Brantle (1992 All-American) and the outdoor record of 21'2 ¼"(6.46m) held by Carol Galloway - UConn's first All-American in 1985. Both long jump records are the oldest-remaining marks in field events at UConn.
Development in the triple jump has been on-going and should see results as the season commences. Sophomore Brittany Power (Warwick, R.I.) has had an outstanding preseason and will push for points as will first-year high jumper Natasha McLaren
Check back at UConnhuskies.com later this week for a preview of the sprints and hurdlers and the mid-distance runners.