Track & Field |
Dec. 9, 2011
By Mario Cannon
Anticipation is building for this year's University of Cincinnati's women's indoor track and field season. Coach Seaton is impressed by her team's talent level, especially after last week's Intrasquad meet where records were broken by in the 55 meter hurdles, 800 meter, high jump, and 4-by-400 meter relay. Coach Seaton without a doubt has high expectations for the women's team this year.
"I feel like we have a team in place that can truly be the best team we ever fielded in our history," Coach Seaton said. "I also feel we have a team that can challenge for top 3 (in the BIG EAST Conference meet)."
This year's team has acquired and built upon talent which it already possessed. They did lose the previous year seniors and key point scorers Natasha Burse and Ashley Arnold, but Coach Seaton feels that her team can make up for what they lost and even score 20 or more points in the BIG EAST than they did last year. She can confidently say that because she acknowledges the fact that this year's team has more talent and depth than in years past.
"Shanay Portis was able to make finals indoors last year in the 60 (meter dash) and also was our second fastest 200 meter runner," Coach Seaton said. "Shanay is also going to get back into the long jump this year. So she is the key person to make up for the points of Natasha. She's very versatile also running on the 4-by-4. Jasmine Cotten should also prove very helpful because she will compete in the pentathlon, as well at some meets in the open long jump and high jump, possibly the hurdles."
The depth is the major change which Coach Seaton feels will make the difference. They have stand-out returners like senior 2011 outdoor NCAA National qualifier in the 800 meters Kathy Klump, senior 400 meter dash BIG EAST finalist Aricka Rhodes, and sophomore BIG EAST third place finalist Sarah Rasnick. Senior 2009 NCAA National qualifier pentathlete Cotten and 1000 meter record holder Jenna Heaton are back to full health and ready to compete at a high level.
"I feel like we have more quality at the top level because we have a number of people who can challenge for BIG EAST titles and be competitors at the national level," Coach Seaton said. "Last year we end up not having anyone go to indoor nationals. This year I'm really counting on having two or three, possibly more going."
Two major additions to the team are junior Danheisha Harding the new Intrasquad record holder and sophomore Dominique Best who are both conference champions at the schools they transferred from. Harding was the 2010 indoor Ohio Valley Conference champion in the 60 meter hurdles at Eastern Kentucky University. Best was the 2011 Atlantic 10 Outdoor Pentathlon Champion at La Salle University.
Coach Seaton hopes many of the incoming freshmen step up and play major roles on the team. A few notable freshmen are thrower Mekayla Breland, 400 meter runner Jalisa Jarrett and pole vaulter Emily Clay whose best mark from high school would qualify her for the finals in the pole vault at BIG EAST according to last years results.
The women's team is filled with loads of potential that if they live up to will most certainly make them a team to reckon with in the BIG EAST conference. Last year was a very successful year filled with individual accomplishments and broken records. This one should be no different with even more accomplishments.
This upcoming weekend the women's team is heading to Easter Illinois University for its Early Bird meet. It will be their first true test against competition from other schools and an opportunity for the coaching staff to learn how well their athletes are progressing in their training.
"I'm excited to see where everyone's at," Coach Seaton said about this upcoming meet. "I hope a lot of people will get their conference qualifying out of the way. Also, I'm really expecting some early marks on the national list from some people. I think they're going to start the season strong because Intrasquad told us a lot of things, but not everything."