March 15, 2007
PHILADELPHIA - The Saint Joseph's University women's track and field team begins its 26th season with a team full of tremendous experience and promising skill, a combination that should provide for an eventful year on Hawk Hill. The Hawks lost some key performers with the departure of the class of 2006, but head coach Kevin Quinn believes his upperclassmen and newcomers will easily restore the team dynamic.
Seniors Julie Lentz and Valerie Ramirez will serve as co-captains in 2006-07. Lentz will bring her leadership and talent to the sprinting squad, hoping to duplicate last season's performance, where she was a scorer at the Atlantic 10 Championships. Ramirez will be relied on to score consistently for the Hawks, as she holds numerous school records, including three in the hurdles. They will be joined by classmate Amanda Guthridge, herself a school record-holder. Guthridge and Lentz teamed up to break three school relay records in 2004. These three seniors will look to add maturity and consistency to the SJU sprints.
Joining the seniors will be juniors Jordan Teuber and Lauren Wallace, sophomore Francesca Alexander, and freshmen Caitlin McGrath, Nicole McMullen. Kristen Pierce, and Cara Quinn. Teuber is a top relay performer, and is also expected to contribute in the hurdles. Alexander will wait until the spring to compete in order to completely recover from an injury. In addition, sophomore Skylar Rea and freshmen Beth Getty and Morgan Matecki will look to score in the hurdles throughout the course of the season. The Hawks will rely on this solid group of sprinters and hurdlers to set the pace for the rest of the team.
In the middle distance events, Saint Joseph's will lean on seniors Erin Kelly and Rebecca Powell to provide guidance to a young, up-and-coming core of runners. Solid performers during the cross country season, Kelly and Powell will be relied on to contribute in their senior seasons. Sophomores Katie Pencek and Lauren Walsh will be joined in rounding out the middle distance squad by freshmen Anna Cushing, Kierstin Quinn, Caitlin Reusche, Katherine Schott, and Samantha Seitter.
Senior Suzie McHenry will lead the SJU distance contingent during the indoor and outdoor campaigns. Also expected to be at the front of the pack for the Hawks are seniors Maddie Bell and Renee Spangler, as well as sophomore Andrea Florida. Bell and Spangler will bring valuable experience gained over the course of their three years on Hawk Hill competing in both cross country and track. Florida received All-Conference honors at the 2005 Atlantic 10 Cross Country Championships and should be able to make the leap into the upper echelon of distance runners this year.
Also running the long distance races for the Hawks in the 2006-07 seasons will be senior Genevieve Story, junior Adriene Beltz, and sophomores Amy Rhein and Juli Stensland. Story returns to the squad for a fifth season after a medical redshirt in 2005-06. Beltz has battled injuries throughout her collegiate career, and her perseverance and hard work should pay off if she can stay healthy. Rhein and Stensland have honed their skills as members of the cross country team and will look to make solid contributions throughout the track seasons.
In the field events, sophomores Natalie Miller and Lauren Slack will lead the way for the Hawks. Miller was the team's leading high-jumper in 2005-06, and will look to improve on her performances from last season, when she earned All-Atlantic 10 Second Team honors in the high jump. Slack filled in admirably last season after injuries sidelined leading long and triple-jumper Andria Smythe. Slack will be relied on to provide consistent scoring in those events for the Hawks, as well as contributing to the sprint squad. They will be joined by freshman Erin Vanderhoof, a high school standout from New Jersey. Junior Alessandra DeMarco will return from a semester abroad to compete in the throwing events for SJU. Also expected to contribute in the jumps are Nicole McMullen and Jordan Teuber.
The 2006-07 seasons hold a lot of promise for the Saint Joseph's women's track and field program. More than any other factor, injuries affected the squad throughout the 2006 outdoor campaign and hampered its performance. If the Hawks can steer clear of those injuries, this season could be a special one. Behind a group of seasoned veterans and talented newcomers, the Hawks hope to soar to great heights in 2007.