Outdoor Tracksters Off To Running Start

by Kristen DiChiaro

 

The spring sports season is underway at Rhode Island College and the goals are firmly set for the menís and womenís outdoor track team. The two teams, which begin their season at the Northeastern Invitational on Mar. 30, have several goals set and hope to improve upon their indoor season success.

Head Coach Kevin Jackson is impressed with both teamsí growth and is looking forward to his first season as head coach. "The teams are progressing far beyond what I thought they would. I recruited none of the athletes, but they have adapted well to my style of coaching and have made immediate contributions," says Jackson. Jackson was named the head coach late into the year, missing the recruiting season.

Both teams hope to place in the top three of the Little East Conference Championships and have more qualifiers for the New England Championships.

"We had eight members of the teams [four from each team] qualify for the New England Championships during the indoor season. Our goal is to have more and more people qualify," says Jackson.

With the amount of talent the two teams have, outdoor track is anticipated to be one of the more successful teams at RIC this spring. Despite a tough schedule with many Division I opponents, Jackson feels it will be a plus for the teams. "It will better prepare us for the New Englands," says Jackson.

Jackson looks for several members of each team to be key competitors this season. On the menís side sophomore Tim Rudd is expected to be one of the teamís leaders.

Rudd is coming off a record-breaking indoor season this past winter in which he set new school records in the mile, 800, 1,000, 1,500, and 3,000 meters. Rudd was named All-Alliance/Little East in both the 1,000 and 1,500 meters.

Rudd earned All-Alliance/Little East honors in the 800 and 1,500 meters for the 2001 outdoor season.

Other key members of the menís team will be junior Mike Daniels and freshman Joe Parenteau. Both earned All-New England honors as part of the distance medley team, which also included Rudd. Daniels was named All-Alliance/Little East in the 600 meters and Parenteau was named All-Alliance/Little East in the 800 meters.

"Iím looking forward to the upcoming season. This is a rebuilding season for us but Iím expecting us to be a good team and good things to come out of this season," says Daniels.

Jackson feels the freshmen on the team, including those that have never run before, will be very good additions. "German Cardona ran very well during the indoor season and he had never ran before. That proves you can come right in and make an impact."

On the womenís side, freshman Rolanda Mangum is expected to continue her success during the indoor season. Mangum finished the indoor season ranked 15th in the nation in the weight throw and first among all freshmen in that event. She earned All-New England honors in the weight throw and set a new school record for that event. Mangum was also named All-Alliance/Little East in the weight throw and shot.

Freshman Katherine McCalligett is also expected to have a successful outdoor season. She earned All-New England honors and set a new school record in the 400 meters during the indoor season. She also earned All-Alliance/Little East honors in the 200 and 400 meters.

Other key members of the womenís team will be freshmanís Courtney Gardner and Jessica Leonard. Gardner earned All-Alliance/Little East honors in the triple jump and Leonard earned the same honors in the weight throw during the indoor season.

 

 

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