March 19, 2010

Outdoor Track & Field Preview: Middle Distance and Distance

Middle Distance and Distance

After several great individual performances during the indoor season, the middle-distance and distance squads are more motivated than ever to perform well this outdoor season.

"We are very optimistic about the outdoor season," said assistant coach Kevin Myles. "If we can stay healthy and confident, our very solid mid-distance and distance group should contribute to an overall improvement from our indoor team score."

The entire team is on the same page. Senior captain Colin Brett commented, "The team has a tremendous amount of momentum moving into the outdoor season. Our Indoor Ivy League Championship performance is not indicative of what we are capable of as a team. The talent and work ethic on this team is the best that I've seen since I've been here, and it's really motivating to be with so many like-minded people."

The Returnees

Senior captain Duriel Hardy is ready for a strong outdoor campaign after he earned All-Ivy honors for an incredible come from behind victory in the 5,000m at the Indoor Ivy League Championships last month. It was Hardy's first individual victory and a great addition to numerous All-Ivy honors over the course of his career here at Brown. With personal bests of 4:10.95 (mile), 8:15.38 (3,000m), and 14:11.83 (5,000m), look for Duriel to once again be a threat at both the 5,000m and 10,000m distances at the Outdoor Ivy League Championships.

"Last year I had the opportunity to run at the NCAA Regional Meet, and it was a great experience," said Hardy. "I am hoping to make it to Nationals this year - that is my dream goal of the season. Our team is more focused, dedicated, and united than I have seen in my entire three and a half years at Brown, so I am incredibly excited for this upcoming season."

After a strong indoor season senior captain Ariel Wright is ready to contend for a league title this season and has her eyes set on the same goals as Duriel. At the indoor championships, she placed second in the 5,000m run with a time of 16:35 and fourth in the 3,000m run with a time of 9:35, which are respectively the second and third fastest times in school history.

"Ariel has been working out and racing incredibly well," said assistant coach Jill Miller. "She really stepped up last year at the conference meet even though she wasn't even close to being 100 percent. She brings a level of toughness to the track that sets a great example for our younger runners."

Coming off one of the best individual cross country season's in school history, look for 2009 NCAA cross country individual qualifier Christian Escareno to make major contributions to the team scoring at Outdoor Ivy League Championships. Coming off an injury during the indoor season, Christian is primed for his best season yet here at Brown. With a personal best of 14:14 over 5,000m, Christian is sure to be a contender at both 5,000m and 10,000m at this year's Outdoor Ivy League Championships.

Both the men's and women's middle distance squads made statements last year by breaking the school records in the 4x800m relay. The women return all four legs of the defending Ivy League Champion relay in Kesley Ramsey, Michaeline Nelson, Rosie Fleming, and Samantha Adelberg, while the men lost just one leg and return Alex Stern, Zach Malet, and Anthony Schurz.

As one of the more experienced championship racers on the team, senior John Loeser will also be a major contributor to the overall team effort at this year's Outdoor Ivy League Championships. Coming off of very solid performances in both cross country (tenth at 2009 Ivy League Championships) and indoor track (ninth in men's mile), John is poised to have his best outdoor season yet.

In the same boat as Loeser is junior Kesley Ramsey. She has been one of the most reliable scorers for the Bears and looks to improve upon her Ivy League performances. She placed fourth last outdoor season in the 800m and fourth again this indoor season in the mile. Last year she ran a stellar 4:25 for 1500m, which qualified her for the NCAA Regional Meet.

"Kesley brings her A-game to both practice and meets on a consistent basis," said Miller. "She is someone the team looks up to as she leads by example day in and day out by being focused and dedicated to the sport in every aspect."

Over the past year and a half, sophomore Matt Duffy has established himself as one of the best runners in the league. With a season that brought new personal bests over 3,000m (8:14.90) and the mile (4:08.66), Matt is looking to be a contender in any event he should enter at this year's Outdoor Ivy League Championships.

Junior Lauren Pischel looks to excel in the 10,000m run this year after hitting the NCAA Regional qualifying standard in the 5,000m run in 2009. Her time of 16:51 in the 5,000m places her as the sixth fastest time run in school history.

Senior Brian Schilder will look to replicate his very solid indoor season that brought him personal bests at both the 1000m (2:28.56) and the mile run (4:13.21). Brian qualified for this year's Indoor Ivy League Championships mile final and will look to better his sixth place performance and the outdoor championship.

Sophomore Rosie Fleming has posted times of 2:11 for 800m and 2:50 for 1000m, which is the fourth fastest time in school history. Rosie will look to improve upon her sixth place finish at the outdoor championships last season.

Sophomore Anthony Schurz will also be a contender over the 800m and 1500m distances at this year's Ivy League Championships. Coming off a very strong indoor season where he was a member of Brown's IC4A fifth place Distance Medley, Anthony is poised to be a solid contributor to team scoring efforts.

The leaders on the team are working together to raise the bar of expectations and create an environment that will breed confidence and excellence. Junior captain Michaeline Nelson is focused on keeping everyone's eyes on the goals as she plans to improve upon her NCAA Regional Qualifying performance in the 3,000m Steeplechase last year. Michaeline "has confidence that the team is prepared to step it up and take it to the next level with more structure and concrete goals."

The Freshmen

Freshmen Kevin Cooper of Waterford, Ireland will look to establish a name for himself during the 2010 outdoor season. As one of the league's top freshmen at the Ivy League Cross Country Championships, Kevin will bring personal bests of 3:54 at 1500m and 8:39 over 3000m. Look for Kevin to contribute to team scoring effort at events from 800m to 5000m.

Bree Shugarts of Lewistown, PA blazed onto the radar screen this indoor season by running personal best times of 2:12 in the 800m and 4:56 in the mile. She showed her toughness as a competitor during the indoor season and expects to improve these times with another few months of training under her belt.

Another top freshman for the Bears is Austin Snyder of Berkeley, CA. With a personal best of 9:20 for 2 miles and after a strong 2009 cross country season, Austin will look to contribute to the team scoring at the 5,000m and 10,000m distances.

Erik Berg of Seattle, WA will be a major contributor at both the 800m and 1500m distances. Missing this year's indoor 800m final by .001, Erik will look to lower both 800m and 1500m personal bests this outdoor season. With an open 800m best of 1:54, Erik is sure to be a threat in both open and relay events.