Women’s Track & Field Preview: Bobcats loaded for strong year
|Multi-event star and co-captain Izzy Alexander enters her senior season with eyes on a return trip to NCAAs. (Photo by Tom Leonard ’78)|
The Bates College women’s track and field team graduated only one point scorer, thrower Cassandra Kirkland, from the squad that finished sixth at last year’s New England Division III Indoor Championships — ample reason for optimism for the upcoming indoor season, which begins January 17 with a home meet against Colby and MIT.
One of the team’s strengths will be its throwers, despite the loss of Kirkland. Junior Vantiel Elizabeth Duncan (Topsham, Maine) last year became the team’s second athlete ever to win All-America honors in the 20-pound weight throw (after Keelin Godsey ’06). She also competed at indoor nationals in the shot put and followed that with a trip to outdoor NCAAs for the shot and the hammer throw. Duncan leads a talented group of Bates throwers that includes junior Laura Smith (Boulder, Colo.) and sophomore Sarah Ellen Godek (Gilford, N.H.).
Also hoping to make a return trip to the NCAA Championships will be senior co-captain Izzy Alexander (Harvard, Mass.), a three-time All-American in three different events. Alexander, who owns nine school records, is training in the multi events and is expected to be a regular point-scorer in the 800 meters, the hurdles and the relays.
Senior co-captain Jen Marino (Methuen, Mass.), an Academic All-American last year along with Alexander and Duncan, leads the Bates jumpers, sprinters and hurdlers group. Marino, who owns three Bates jumping records, qualified provisionally for NCAAs last year and will look to make her first trip to nationals in the triple or long jump.
|Vantiel Elizabeth Duncan ’10 proved to be one of the top sophomore female throwers in Division III last year. (Photo by Tom Leonard ’78)|
Alexander and Marino are both on Bates’ outstanding 4×400 relay team, which returns all four members who set the school record a year ago. Junior Molly Radis (Peaks Island, Maine) and sophomore Dana Lindauer (Needham, Mass.) complete the quartet.
Radis proved herself to be the team’s fastest sprinter in over a decade in her first year on the team last winter. She and senior co-captain Tara Higgins (Jeffersonville, Vt.) lead a group that has added nearly a dozen first-year athletes, with hopes of growing into one of the team’s stronger units.
Another event group with great depth will be the distance runners, who include cross country team standouts such as senior co-captain Allie Goldstein (Needham, Mass.), junior Katie Bash (Wallingford, Pa.), sophomore Alex Alberto (Concord, Mass.) and sophomore Chloe Bourne (Litchfield, Conn.).
A pair of pole vaulters, junior Lily Gordon (Scarsdale, N.Y.) and sophomore Megan Schleck (Mendota Heights, Minn.), will also be looked upon to score points and qualify for late-season meets.
Among the first-years expected to make an immediate impact are hurdler Tina Tobin (Lowell, Mass.) and jumper Taylor Piers (Falmouth, Maine).
With head coach Jay Hartshorn on maternity leave, Matt Capone ’07 is serving as the team’s interim head coach, a role he filled successfully last year with the men’s track and field team.