Season Preview: After strong indoor CACs, Sea Gulls look forward to successful outdoor season

Season Preview: After strong indoor CACs, Sea Gulls look forward to successful outdoor season

SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University men's and women's track & field teams proved to be two of the top teams in the Capital Athletic Conference with their performances in the conference indoor championships, and they look to continue that trend as they get set to begin the outdoor season.

The Sea Gull men tallied their fourth-straight indoor CAC title on February 21, while the women took second place in the championships, edging out University of Mary Washington by one point.

"The men definitely had a great championship. We were challenged this year and the men really rose to that challenge," Head Coach Jim Jones said. "The women had an impressive meet. They exceeded the expectations that we had for the team. They are a very good young team. The women rose to occasion and it shows a lot about where they will go in the future."

Both teams now head into the 2015 outdoor season looking to build on their successes during the winter. The men's team will be pushing for its fourth-straight outdoor conference title, while the women will look return to the top of the conference and make it five CAC championships in six years.

MEN

Sprints

Four-time national champion Luke Campbell will lead the Sea Gulls this season, picking up on an already impressive indoor season. Campbell currently sits first in the country in the 60-meter hurdles (7.93 seconds), 14th in the 400-meter dash (49.26 seconds), and 28th in the 200-meter dash (22.35 seconds); he won all three events in the CAC indoor championships to earn his second indoor Athlete of the Year award and three first-team all-conference awards.

"Luke is a special athlete. He is very determined and very focused on what he wants to achieve," Jones said. "His work ethic shows in practice and that is what has made him a great athlete."

Seniors Devon Hopkins and Tyler Austin will also help lead the team through the spring season.

Austin currently ranks 16th in the nation with a 6.93 second time in the 60-meter dash; he took first in the CAC championships to be named first-team All-CAC in the event.

Hopkins was a part of the SU distance-medley relay team that took second and earned second-team All-Conference at the indoor championships; the team finished in a time of 10:46.78.

The duo will being looking for their fourth outdoor CAC title, which would give them every conference championship, both indoor and outdoor, during their time at Salisbury; they will be working for a second-straight trip to the NCAA championships, as well. They joined Campbell at the national championships for the 2014 outdoor season and will be pushing to carry that success into 2015.

"Devon and Tyler are just strong athletes, and their leadership really speaks highly of them and where they want this team to go," Jones said.

The Sea Gulls have a young group of sprinters that helped the team to the CAC indoor title in the 4x400-meter relay in freshmen Zach Schmelz, Eric Halton, and Jerel Madison. They teamed with Campbell to take first in the race (3:22.94) earning a relay first-team All-CAC selection.

Schmelz also earned points in the championships, taking sixth in the 200-meter dash (22.85 seconds).

The trio, along with senior Blake Bussard and freshman Alieu Cole, will give the Gulls a good group of runners to provide depth in races in the spring to push for the outdoor conference title.

Distance

Senior Thomas Burke will lead the Sea Gull distance runners into the spring season, after earning two All-CAC selections for his efforts at the indoor championships. He took first in the one-mile run (4:17.56), before taking second in the 800-meter run (1:56.61).

"Tom has some high goals for himself. He wants to defend his championship. He wants the half championship," Jones said. "Tom is always a team guy and wants to do what he can to help the team with another title."

Burke was also on the distance medley team that took second in the indoor championships.

Fellow distance athlete, sophomore Thomas McIntyre, joined Burke and Hopkins in that relay and looks to continue to provide strength to the distance races for the Sea Gulls.

Senior Joel Anderson also returns for Salisbury, as he ran in the 3,000- and 5,000-meter runs at the indoor title meet. Anderson will provide veteran leadership for the team during the spring season.

Jumps

Returning sophomore Zack White and junior Xavier Stinson, along with freshman Matthew Adedeji will give Salisbury a strong group of athletes in the jumps.

Stinson holds the indoor and outdoor school records in the high jumps, and he placed fourth in the event at the indoor championships with a 6' 1.5" effort.

"Xavier is very talented. It just takes one jump, and I know he will be off and going," Jones said. "I'm confident in Xavier that he wants to step up and do his part."

White also notched a top-five placement in the indoor CACs, taking fourth in the triple jump with a 44' leap. He has his name on the indoor school records for the triple jump and long jump, and he will be gunning for those records in the outdoor season, looking to continue his early success with the team.

Adedeji has already had success with the team in his first indoor season, and will push to continue that into the spring, as he placed in the top 10 of all three jumps at the indoor championships. His top performance was third in the high jump (6' 4.75"), setting a new personal record.

"Matthew is awfully talented," Jones said. "I think that one thing that we will see out of him in the next years is big performances as he gets stronger. I look forward to some big things out of him."

Throws

The throws offer another strong group of events for the Sea Gulls, and the Salisbury athletes will have a lot of momentum carrying them into the spring, as the team placed four in the CAC indoor championships in the shot put and three in the weight throw.

Seniors Ryan DiPascale and Dylan Burkett will lead the group, as they took first-team All-CAC in the shot put and weight throw, respectively.

"The throws came up big for us at indoors. When you have a good core group of throwers, that can do four events, that is some big points for our team," Jones said. "Ryan, Jeff, and Dylan have led us through all four years that they have been here. They have a tremendous work ethic, and they know they can really depend on each other to achieve their goals."

Senior Jeffrey Jordan placed in both events at the indoor meet, taking third in the weight throw and fourth in the shot put, while freshman Caleb Vrzak provide a third-place effort in the shot put.

The group will get to expand on its events in the spring, adding the hammer throw, discus, and javelin. The men look to continue to provide big throws for the Gulls and help push the team to a 16th CAC outdoor title.

WOMEN

Sprints

Freshman Chanel Beaudoin has come on strong in her first season with the Sea Gulls, already setting a school record in the 60-meter dash (7.93 seconds), claiming a second-team All-CAC selection by taking second in the indoor championships with the time. Beaudoin also took third in the 200-meter dash in the event with a time of 26.45 seconds for her second score of the day. She will look to lead a young group of Salisbury athletes into the 2015 spring season.

"Chanel is an awfully talented athlete. She really stepped up. She is a great competitor, just like many of our young women," Jones said. "We have a really good group of women that can get the job done."

Sophomores Kelsey Larger and Abby Richards, junior Lauren Snyder, and freshman Christine Randall all will provide strength to the Sea Gull sprinters and relay teams.

Beaudoin, Snyder, Randall, and freshman Erica Monterio made up a record-setting 4x400-meter relay team in the CAC indoor meet, setting a time of 4:07.91.

Larger joined Beaudoin in the 60- and 200-meter dashes, placing 12th in both in the indoor championships, while Richards will lead the Gulls in the 60-meter hurdles. Richards placed eighth in the event in the CAC championships.

Snyder also leads the Sea Gulls in the 400-meter dash, placing in the event in the indoor championships. She grabbed sixth with a time of 1:01.66.

Distance

Junior Laura Hartman returns for the Sea Gulls, providing a veteran presence for a group of incoming freshman that features Jessica Lane, Taylor Nantz, Alison Schwartz, and Emily Plunkett.

Lane paced the Gulls with two top-five finishes in the indoor championships, taking fourth in the one-mile run (5:24.42) and the 3,000-meter run (11:06.36).

Hartman joined in the mile, placing 10th with a time of 5:45.49, while Schwartz competed in the 3,000 with a time of 11:39.71 for 11th.

Nantz led the Sea Gulls in the 5,000-meter run; she placed seventh in the race with a time of 20:29.26.

With Plunkett returning from an injury for the spring season, the Salisbury distance runners will look to continue on their success so far this season and carry that momentum into the 2015 spring.

Jumps

The jumps were a strong point for the Sea Gulls last season and during the indoor season, and with sophomores Meghan McGowan, Sarah Taylor, and Ashley Jackson returning, along with the addition of Randall, the group will be able to pick right back up for the spring season.

Jackson and Randall will lead the team in the triple jump and long jump, with Jackson currently holding the school record in both for indoor.

She set the long jump record with a fifth-place effort in the indoor championships with a distance of 16' 10". Jackson also placed second in the triple jump in the meet with a 36' jump, for a second-team all-conference bid.

Randall garnered a first-team All-CAC selection in the triple jump, taking first with a personal-record 36' 4" effort, and she took eighth in the long jump (15' 9.5").

"They had a great series of jumps and were very motivated. It was a great competition in the jumps and you really had to rise up, and I think Christine and Ashley definitely did," Jones said." "We needed some big points and they came up strong."

Taylor continued SU's big championship in the jumps, coming in second in the pole vault with a school-record 11' 1.75" effort, earning a second-team All-CAC bid. After another strong indoor season, Taylor looks to move that success to the outdoor meets.

"About every two meets Sarah is breaking her own records," Jones said. "She matched her height for outdoors, and I'm just excited to get her outdoors and seeing if she can hit that 12-foot barrier."

McGowan also earned a first-team selection with a first-place finish in the indoor championships; she used a 5' 5" effort in the high jump for the Gulls. She looks to provide the Sea Gulls with the same performances in the outdoor meets for a second successful season with the team.

"Meghan has been very consistent this year, consistently at 5' 5"," Jones said. "I think both of these women have gained a lot of confidence in themselves this year and that has helped a great deal as they continue on."

Throws

Since joining the program after the new year, sophomore Paige DeMent has burst onto the scene for the Sea Gulls. She took first in the shot put and the weight throw in the CAC championships with tosses of 41' 5" and 49' 3", respectively. In her first outdoor season with the Gulls, DeMent will look to continue to lead the women's throwers.

"Paige has meant a lot. We have always had a great tradition of throws, but having an athlete of her caliber come here, I think she is really going to develop into one of those key people in the program," Jones said. "She has brought in a new focus and work ethic, and that is nice to see."

Freshman Nicole Bayer and junior Kate Forte will join DeMent to help continue the tradition of strong throwers for Salisbury.

Forte returns for the Gulls, after a 2014 spring that saw her set career bests in the shot put, discus, javelin, and hammer throw, and Bayer will be competing in her first outdoor season.

Bayer also placed in the shot put and weight throw in the indoor championships, taking sixth in both.

Schedule

The Sea Gulls will continue the indoor season with the final meet, beginning with the NCAA Division III national championships. The two-day meet is set to begin on Friday, March 13.

Salisbury will begin its spring season on the road, traveling to University of North Carolina-Wilmington for the UNC-Wilmington Invitational; the meet is a two-day event, beginning on Friday, March 13

The Sea Gulls will host one outdoor meet on Friday, May 15th in the Salisbury University Elite Meet to prepare for the outdoor NCAA Division III championships; the Elite Meet is set to begin at 3 p.m.

The CAC championships for the outdoor season will take place on Saturday, May 2 and Sunday, May 3.

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