FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 2, 2013
FORT WAYNE, Ind. -- The Indiana Tech women’s track team begins the 2014 season after completing the greatest season in program history. The women won the WHAC championship indoor and outdoor for the third season in a row, were national runner-ups at the indoor National Championship before being crowned National Champions at the outdoor National Championships. National Champions Adella King and Jeselyn Zimmerly have graduated, but 75 percent of the teams scoring points from nationals return this year.
Sprints and Hurdles
The Warriors return a very experienced group in the sprints and hurdles and expect some solid contributions from newcomers as well. The group is led by a trio of individual National Champions in senior Zalika Dixon (400m-hurdles) and juniors Kristen Flake (400m) and Shayla France (60m-hurdles). Juniors Jewel Thomas and Katelyn Lewis return from the 4 x 100m National Championship relay team while fellow upperclassmen Shayne Armbrister and Chloe Brooks return from the National Championship 4 x 400m relay team and all have been All-Americans individually as well. Other returning All-Americans include senior Jamela Kimbrough and juniors Andrea Ford and Chauntiel Smith. Two other juniors Mariama Waheed and Kemi Doss as well as sophomore Malika Rashid all have national championship experience.
The team will also look for a few key transfers and incoming freshman to come in and make an immediate impact. Tia and Tyra Cooper come to Indiana Tech from Hampton University and should help to offset the loss of Adella King while Alexis Harvey looks to lead the new group of short sprinters. Harvey comes to Tech with a career best 11.99 in the 100m and 24.39 in the 200m, an event she won at the Midwest Meet of Champions. Another freshman, April Wilson, has the best incoming 400m time with a personal best of 55.85. Other newcomers who could make an impact during their first year with the program include: Brianna Woods, Alanti Kimbrough- Maxwell, Brittnee Perry, and Patrcia Thompson.
“A lot of people may think loosing Adella King would cripple this group, but we return so much talent and have such great leadership, I know these girls will be ready for anything,” stated Track and Field Head Coach Doug Edgar. “We would like to see a repeat of last year where we put five student-athletes in the 100m final, six in the 200m, and three in the 400m, but we’ll need to work really hard to see that kind of performance again. We have a lot of depth and there will be constant competition for the varsity spots. Our depth gives us a great advantage when we head to nationals.”
Five All-Americans return for the Warriors in the field events; seniors Emaryne Watt and Stacia Murray and juniors Ashley Watley, Austina Smith and Cora Tatum. Another junior Taylor Meredyk and sophomore Shanice Goode both return with national’s experience.
Returning All-Conference athletes Emily Gresley, Kirstie Pieper and Andrea Turner should help sure up the pole vault and throws events.
Newcomers will look to make the Tech jumps crew one of the deepest in the nation. The newcomers are led by transfer Darice Bowie who owns a career best mark of 41-7.5 in the triple jump on her way to NJCAA All-American status. Also expected to contend for varsity positions are freshman Lauren Pannell, Mashea Jones, Ayana Mosely and Courtney Lawson.
Edgar on the field events, “I think we really addressed our needs in the field as we are much deeper than we were this past season. We hope Cora Tatum can return at some point this year and regain the form that she had last year. We feel we have the best triple jump team in the nation as well as some great high and long jumpers. Taylor and Emily are capable of filling Jeselyn’s shoes in the vault and we really need to find a contribution from our throws group. Jumps coach Raymond Rudder should help give this group stability and help mentor the jumps. This group’s performance will be the difference for us to win a National Championship”
The Warriors expect big improvements from a group that has been good at the conference level, but hasn’t made the impact nationally over the past few seasons. Returning is NAIA National Qualifier Cherie Gaines who looks to pick up her first All-American honor this season. Cross Country standouts Becca Lamb and Brenna Conger look to make the transition over to the track this season and give the Warriors some strong depth in the long distances. Emily Straehle and Jasmine Lott return with nationals experience as part of the school record 4 x 800m relay squad.
The group is paced by newcomer Laura Condron who owns personal bests of 11:06 in the steeple and 4:48 for the 1500. She is joined by Alaina Redd (3:03; 1,000) and Justice Hosey (2:24; 800).
“Cross Country Head Coach Josh Wolfe did a great job infusing some new talent into this group and we feel like we have athletes that can score points for us at nationals,” stated Edgar. “We feel like we have built a very strong Distance Medley Relay with this lineup and expect to see great improvement in our track times.”
The Warriors will open up their season on Saturday, Dec. 7th at IPFW and will compete at Grand Valley State on Dec. 13th. Following Christmas Break the teams will run at Grand Valley State, Indiana Wesleyan and the Indiana Relays before again competing at IPFW. After trips to Hilsdale, Grand Valley State for the third time and a trip to Taylor, the Warriors will look to repeat as Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Champions on Feb. 22. The teams will then look to improve on last year’s finish when they travel to Geneva, Ohio for the NAIA National Championships Mar. 6-8.
The Orange and Black open the outdoor season on Mar. 21 at the Florida State Relays before taking part in the North Carolina State Raleigh Relays at the end of the month. At the end of a busy April the Warriors will travel to Philadelphia, Pa. to take part in the prestigious Penn Relays April 24-26. The outdoor WHAC Championships will be held in Adrian, Mich. May 2-3. Tech will run in the Louisville Cardinal Twilight on May 10 before traveling to Gulf Shores, Ala. where they look to defend their NAIA Outdoor National Championship, May 23-25.