CHARLESTON, S.C. - The College of Charleston women's track & field team opens their season this weekend at the Tiger Challenge on the campus of Clemson University Friday. Field events will start at 11:00 a.m. with the shot put and running events will begin at 11:30 a.m. with the women's distance medley relay.
The following is a season preview for the 2013 College of Charleston women's track & field season.
The 2013 season presents challenges and excitement for the College of Charleston women's track & field team. Following the 2012 season the Cougars graduated five-time Southern Conference high jump champion Emily Smith, two-time SoCon steeplechase champion Kristen Wolfe and 800-meter school record holder Alyssa D'Orazio. While it will be tough to replace those three, the Cougars bring in eight talented freshmen that are ready to make an impact for the program.
"We have a young team this season," CofC head coach Amy Seago said. "We have a large group of freshmen that will take some time to adjust to college life. I think we have a very mature group of freshmen. They are in a great position to impact the future of this program. We are getting better every year with the classes we bring in and I'm excited for the start of the 2013 season."
Now we will take a look at each event group and who to look out for during the 2013 season.
Last year Tiffany Sisk capped off an impressive freshman season by winning the Southern Conference title in the shot put.
"That was really big for us," said assistant coach Ben Yocum, who works with the throwers. "That alone gave her confidence and a sense of belonging at this level of competition. Through the summer and fall she has worked hard and done everything it takes to be a successful student-athlete. She has been open to trying new things and I expect her to have a great season."
Joining Sisk is junior Christine Klinar, who was completely new to the sport of track & field when she started two years ago. Klinar is already the school record holder in the javelin and is looking to have a great junior season.
"She has made a fun progression from where she came from being new to the sport," Yocum said. "We introduced her to the javelin first and she has taken to everything like a duck in the water. She has proven to be a leader and works hard every day.
Sisk and Klinar are joined by returner Savannah Short and freshman Christine Krakuszeski, who finished second in the shot put at the 2012 1A South Carolina State Championship.
"Our distance group is lower in number, but what they lack in size they make up for in heart," Seago said. "They are a group of hard workers and sometimes I even have to hold them back, but I'm looking forward to seeing what they can do this season."
Sophomore Hayley McMahon will be the leader of the group. McMahon finished sixth in the mile run at the Indoor SoCon Championship as a freshman last season and looks to build on that this year.
"Hayley has taken on a leadership role with the distance runners. She has embraced running more mileage and doing whatever it takes to succeed. She is not going to settle for being mediocre and I'm excited to see what she can do this year."
Joining McMahon are returners Elle Brewer, Danielle Sams, Trish Rein and freshman Emily Sanders and Kornelia Kostka.
Seago noted the improvements that Sams and Rein have made from a season ago and is looking for good things from newcomers Sanders and Kostka. Kostka comes to the Cougars from Poland, where she finished third-place in the Polish Indoor Junior Championships in the 3,000-meter run. Sanders placed fourth in the 1600-meter run at the 2012 South Carolina State Championship.
The Cougars have two returning jumpers in sophomores Ali Beauregard and Dyshia Parks and freshman RoShani Glover. CofC assistant coach Lauren Stewart said she thinks they will have a good season and expects Glover to make an immediate impact. Glover finished second in the triple jump, third in the long jump and fifth in the high jump at the 2012 South Carolina State Championship.
"We feel confident that RoShani is going to make an immediate impact based on what we have seen with her work ethic and at practice," Stewart said. "She has a strong drive and motivation to do really well and perform well."
The multi-event group does many different events, and competes in an indoor pentathlon (five events) and outdoor heptathlon (seven events) at SoCon and NCAA Championships.
The group returns junior Kaitlin McWhorter, who finished eighth at the SoCon Outdoor Championship in the heptathlon. Joining McWhorter will be freshman Ciera Holston and Brianna McDonald.
Holston, a native of Safford, Ariz., won the long jump as a freshman at the Arizona State Track & Field Championships. McDonald, a native of Phoenixville, Pa., was all-league as a freshman and three-time district qualifier in the pole vault and high jump.
The Cougars return junior Christa Horrocks and sophomore Lorna Doucette, who will be joined by newcomers Rachel Leder and Alexia Neal. Horrocks was part of the Cougars school record-setting distance medley relay two years ago.
The coaching staff said they are excited about having a good training group and what Leder and Neal will bring coming in as freshman, especially in the hurdles.
Leder, a native of Greenville, S.C., was part of the J.L. Mann Academy team that won the 2012 4A South Carolina Track & Field Championship. Leder won the individual title in the 100-meter hurdles. Neal, who comes from Beaufort, S.C., finished third-place in the 100-meter hurdles and was eighth in the 400-meter hurdles.
The pole vault group will be anchored by lone senior Chelsea Taylor. Taylor is the indoor pole vault school record holder and will have her eye on improving upon that and going for the outdoor record as well.
"Chelsea provides constant positive encouragement for the team and does a great job of helping with the team unity," Seago said. "She is a great leader and I want to see her finish her collegiate career on a high note."
The Cougars will have one meet at home this season as they will host the Palmetto Classic on March 8 in Mt. Pleasant, S.C.