2007 Season Preview
Youthful Track and Field squad looks to be competitive in 2007
By: Rustin Pickett, sports information assistant
January 30, 2007
|Consistent growth and team unity will be the focus for the Bluffton University track and field team this spring. With a total of four seniors coming back to compete, Bluffton will need to enter each meet with a team mentality and work together to be successful. "I will be looking for team leadership from juniors and seniors this season," said head coach Janey Arnold, "We have a good core of returnees on both the men and women's side who have been in the program for a couple of years and they know what needs to be done to lead the team to a successful season."|
Both the men and women have returners who either won an HCAC title or finished in the top three from last year's squad. Leading the men will be 400-meter runner Shandon North (Galion/Galion), who was the HCAC champion in the event during his 2005 campaign and took second last season. North ran a time of 49.23 to finish a mere .09 seconds short of a repeat. Another key returnee will be junior javelin and discus thrower Rex Brown (Pettisville/Pettisville). Brown placed third at the HCAC Championships in the javelin with a toss of 169-01 and fourth in the discus with a throw of 130-07. Both North and Brown will be looking to pencil in a spot for the NCAA Division III Nationals when the season comes to an end. To round out the men's side, the Beavers will have their mid-distance tandem of Tyler Fairchild (Toledo/Whitmer) and Johnny Ichrist (Toledo/Whitmer) lead the way in the 800-meter run.
On the women's side, the squad will be lead by standout Sarah Humphrey (Upper Sandusky/Upper Sandusky). Humphrey, who is a junior this season, holds the women's record for the 5,000 meter run. In the field events, the Beavers will be led by returning shot put champion Karyn Davis (Liberty Center/Liberty Center). Davis won the HCAC as a freshman last year with a throw of 36-2.25. Sophomore Ashley Smith (Delta/Delta) will control the sand pit as she competes in the long and triple jumps this season.
Some newcomers to keep an eye on during the 2007 campaign will be freshman sprinter Sarah Binkley (Bluffton/Cory-Rawson) and freshman thrower AnnaLee Kaplan (Hillary/Darby) for the women. The top newcomers on the men's side include mid-distance runner Collin Wagner (Pettisville/Pettisville) and thrower Jason Fisher (Rockford/Parkway).
The Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference will be strong once again as it is year in and year out, and with the addition of Rose-Hulman, the competition level continues to rise. "Rose-Hulman has both a strong men's and women's team," said Arnold, "Their addition will add to the strength and depth of the HCAC." Also at the top of the conference will be powerhouse Anderson which is attempting to make it the third straight year they take home the HCAC crown on both the men's and women's side. "We will fit right into the middle of the pack this year," stated Arnold, "If we can see a couple of school records fall along with team unity and enthusiasm, it will be a successful season."
The Beavers opened up their winter indoor season on January 19 at the Ohio Northern Series Meet. They will begin their outdoor campaign March 17 when they travel to Rose-Hulman for the Early Bird Meet.