GEORGETOWN, Texas - Southwestern has five seniors to lead a dedicated group of track & field athletes for the 2013 season and they are taking aim at securing conference titles in multiple events this season.
All five seniors, Zach Anglin, Thomas Bobbitt, Brady Kent, Sam Martinez and Alex Sheppard, are on the men's side of the team and have been focused on track since stepping on campus as freshmen. Three of the five earned All-SCAC recognition last season and are looking to get to the top of the podium this year. Sam Martinez finished in second place in the 5000 meter run and was just seven seconds off the wining time at last year's championships. Anglin and Sheppard along with junior Lando Duarte will look to move up in the 4x400 relay where they finished in third last season.
"Our seniors are finally healthy and strong," said Head Coach Francie Larrieu Smith. "They have been dedicated to track for all four years and I am really excited for them."
The sprinters, Anglin, Sheppard, Duarte and Ryan Huiszoon, will be the biggest impact players on race day. Sheppard will be on hurdles and is expected to have a break-out year this season while Anglin has set lofty goals for himself in the 100 and 200 meter dash and is one to watch as the season progresses. Huiszoon was part of the 4x100 relay team that finished just seven-tenths of a second out of second place at last year's SCAC Championships and is looking to make waves on an individual stage this year in his sophomore season.
The women return some big guns from last season as well that will make a name for themselves throughout the season, most notably junior Lilly Duarte. Duarte finished in third place at the 2012 SCAC Championships to earn her first All-SCAC selection. Junior Kara Koinis had a strong sophomore season and is stepping things up as a junior.
"Lilly will lead our team on the track while Kara has really taken over the leadership in practice on the women's side," shared Larrieu Smith. "Kara came back strong and is looking good. I am very pleased with her and how she is running right now."
Field events have become stronger and stronger each season and this year will be no different as Southwestern welcomes dedicated coaches for the field events. Juniors Daniel Poole and Joey Quintero will undoubtedly lead the charge as both men had strong seasons last year. Poole routinely broke his own record in the javelin and finished in seventh last year at the championships while Quintero competed in three field events and set an SU record in the discus. Additionally, sophomore Cody Taylor finished tied for fourth in the pole vault at last the 2012 SCAC Championships.
"Daniel will benefit greatly from our throws coach and to have someone working with him now is going to be a huge advantage," said Larrieu Smith. "I have personal goals for him and that is for him to be on the podium this year and that is a very real possibility."
Southwestern opens the competition season at Trinity on February 23rd and will give SU a preview of the SCAC Championship location. "Trinity as the first meet will give me a good idea of where the athletes are at," shared Larrieu Smith. They follow the Trinity Open with two meets against tough competition at the University of Incarnate Word Invitational on March 1-2 and Tarleton Relays on March 7th. "The three meets before spring break give our athletes a great sense of what they have to do when they return. The meets after spring break will really get them prepared for the SCAC Championships and running at their peak cycle."
This year's SCAC Championships will be quite a change from last season with the shake-up in the conference. The meet will go from a two-day event down to one day and will challenge competitors in a way they haven't been before.