Both men’s and women’s track and field teams are looking to embark on solid seasons after their first event at Westmont on Feb. 1.
The women’s team is coming off a second place SCIAC finish and it looks to be guided by experience as it returns 11 all-SCIAC athletes along with seven NCAA national championship qualifiers.
Senior sprinter/jumper Lauren Rohach is one of the veteran athletes the team is looking toward for leadership. Along with being a three-time all-SCIAC track athlete, she also has excelled in volleyball, earning All-American Honorable Mention by the American Volleyball Coaches Association for the 2013 season.
Head coach Matt Lea has nothing but praise for the dual-sport athlete.
“Lauren, “LoRo” as we call her, is a very special person and athlete. The biggest reason why LoRo is so successful and dominant in both of her sports is her hard work and dedication to the little things throughout not only the season, but the off-season. LoRo is an amazement to work with, she is definitely one of the top athletes that I have ever coached,” Lea said in an email.
With the success Rohach has had comes high standards.
“The expectations [for this season] are definitely high. We have a ton of graduating seniors that really want to do big things and are working really hard,” Rohach said.
Along with Rohach, the Regals are returning all-SCIAC athletes senior sprinter/jumper Kendall Sauter, senior mid-distance runner Ashley Frese, junior mid-distance runner Melissa Skiba, sophomore sprinter/jumper Amanda Hamilton, junior pole vaulter Mary Case, senior thrower Brianna Panapa, sophomore javelin thrower Allie Hadley, senior sprinter Amy Galipeau, sophomore sprinter Daniela Sullivan and senior sprinter Audrey Dow.
The men’s track team is looking to improve upon a fourth place finish in the SCIAC last year, and they have been working harder in the weight room this offseason to ensure their success.
“We’ve been in the weight room a lot more. We’ve had a really long offseason and a really long preseason because of that. We’ve all moved up in weight so much,” senior hurdler Erik Fruth said.
Fruth is one of eight returning all-SCIAC athletes for the Kingsmen, and along with the returners they are looking toward newcomers for contributions.
“We have some very good throwers in Mike Bassette and Bjorn McMillan that have taken that next step to make their seasons and the team’s season a great success,” Lea said. “I also believe that the newcomers on this team and the transfers will make a great impact throughout the season and will help the men’s team become even deeper than we have been in a while.”
Along with Fruth, the Kingsmen return all-SCIAC athletes senior mid-distance runner Dominick Allen, sophomore shot putter Bassette, junior sprinter Conor Finfrock, senior thrower James Laughlin, senior thrower McMillian, senior sprinter Tristan Baer and senior sprinter Andrew Olson.
Staying healthy over the course of the season is a common focal point for both teams.
“I think we’ve been pretty diligent about being in the training room, getting ice when we feel like there’s something wrong, or talking with the trainers when we feel like something just isn’t right, but it is difficult because you don’t ever anticipate injuries happening, they just kind of do,” Fruth said.
“I know that everyone is going to perform at least to what they did last year, if not better, but in track, there tends to be a lot of injuries and small things that can keep you from doing your best,” Rohach said. “I see people in the training room after practice every day, helping with little stuff and even if it’s just prevention, it’s going to help.”
“The biggest thing that needs to happen and I say it to my athletes everyday is we need to stay healthy and we need to keep working hard all the time. If we do that there is no doubt that we have the teams to be very successful,” Lea said.
Both teams are going to compete on Feb. 16 at the University of Washington Open at 9 a.m.
Published Feb. 12, 2014