Women’s track looks to protect Div. III New England Indoor title

Women’s track and field is prepared to defend its Div. III New England indoor title in the upcoming season. The team is coming off a seventh-place finish at the Div. III NCAA National Indoor Championship last season.

The team graduated several team leaders and standout performers at the end of last year. The Ephs will particularly miss the leadership of  Tina Meade ’11, a national competitor for the 10k and 5k distance races, Lizzy Danhakl ’11, an All-American middle distance runner and Julia Cohen ’11, a strong javelin thrower. In their place, the team will turn to this year’s senior team tri-captain Karyn Moss ’12, who competes in the jumps, pentathlon and heptathlon; tri-captain Hilary Higgs ’12, who competes in the sprint; and tri-captain Natalie Davis ’12, who runs distance to lead the team to a successful season.

The team’s depth across events will be a major strength for the women. Tanasia Hoffler ’13, a three-time national champion in the triple jump, Julie Paschal ’13, an All-American and school record holder in the high jump, and Brooke Johnson ’13, a national NCAA competitor in the long and triple jumps, will all return this year. Jenna Adams ’14 also returns as a national competitor in the pole vault. The throwing core will feature returner Amina Avril ’14, a national qualifier in the weight and hammer throws.

The Ephs are prepared to turn in a dominant season on the track. The distance group boasts strong returning competitors, including Chiara del Piccolo ’14, a 10,000 meter All-American and 5000-meter indoor NCAA competitor who has had a dominant season for women’s cross country; Olivia Delia ’12, a 1500-meter Indoor NCAA qualifier; Brianne Mirecki ’14, a distance medley relay NCAA qualifier; and Julianne Fontana ’14, a distance medley relay NCAA qualifier. The distance and mid-distance veterans will add rookies, including Alison Smith ’15 and Anna Spiers ’15, who hope to make an immediate impact for the team. All-American Higgs and Annie Lynch ’14, a 100-meter national qualifier, will lead the sprinter pack. Haley Stewart ’15 and Ashley Graves ’15 will also contribute in the sprints.

The coaching staff, led by Head Coach Fletcher Brooks, has several clear aims for this season, including defending the Div. III Indoor New England title. “The keys and challenges for the team this year will be to stay healthy and get a little better every day,” Brooks said. “With sustained excellence will come big performances at our conference, New England and NCAA Championships. We are poised to have a special year.”

The team will begin competition on Dec. 3 at Smith.

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