Track & Field Outlook
Oct. 1, 2002
Duquesne enters the 2002-03 season enthusiastically as a solid core of talent returns from last year's squad, which finished in a University-best third place at the Atlantic 10 outdoor championship and posted a six-place showing at the indoor championship. Head Coach Bryan Delsite, the 2002 A-10 Outdoor Coach of the Year, welcomes back 10 medallists from last year's championships making this one of the most promising squads in the program's history.
Leading the Dukes into what could be their breakthrough season is returning Atlantic 10 indoor and outdoor triple jump champion Shea McMillan along with championship medallists Alison Buchanan, Carrie Hucko, Michelle Flynn, Nicole Wiley, Kristen Micsky, Lena Harris, Erica DaCosta, Marcie Hepler and Tanya Brown. This group led the Red & Blue to a total of 16 medals - nine at the outdoor and six at the indoor championships - and saw six athletes earn All-Atlantic 10 honors.
They are joined by a host of talented letterwinners and newcomers eager to take the Dukes to the next level and contend for the Atlantic 10 championship title.
Mid-Distance/Distance Now in his third year as the distance coach, Ron LeVan looks to a strong group of returning veterans to post solid finishes for the Red & Blue once again. Junior Carrie Hucko, sophomores Michelle Flynn and Alison Buchanan and senior Tanya Brown will guide the distance runners. Brown shattered the Dukes' 5000 meter run (17:34.93) record last season while Hucko earned bronze in the 1500 meter run. Hucko teamed up with Flynn and Buchanan as part of the ECAC qualifying 4 x 800 relay, which took silver at the outdoor and bronze at the indoor championships. Several newcomers will be expected to contribute from the get-go in Liz Graham, Tara Gerlach and Elena Resovich, adding to already present strength of the distance events. Graham was a state qualifier in the 800 meter as a prep while Resovich reigned as the 2001 WPIAL 400 meter champion. Gerlach posted a personal record of 58.2 in the 400 meters and was a member of the state-qualifying 4 x 800 meter relay squad. Adding to the depth of the distance events are returnees Mericka Lehman (800m / 1500m) and Amy Tucker (5000m / 10000m) as well as newcomers Michelle Kvernmo and Brianne Scott.
Brown led the squad in the steeplechase qualifying for ECACs and shattered Duquesne's 3000 meter steeplechase record with her time of 10:44.00. Joining Brown in the steeplechase will be junior Courtney Rex and Scott. Rex adds the event to her distance repertoire while Scott competed in the 2000m steeplechase as a prep taking 12th in the adidas Championships.
Sprints/Hurdles Four Dukes return as key components to the success of the sprints and hurdles in seniors April Allensworth and Julie Tyo as well as juniors Shea McMillan and Nicole Wiley. Wiley, Duquesne's first individual Atlantic 10 champion taking the 100m hurdles title as a freshman, holds Duquesne's records in both the 55 and 100 meter hurdles. Last year, she qualified for the ECAC indoor Championships in the 55m hurdles and also holds the school 60m hurdle record. Allensworth specializes in short sprints and is a member of the school record holder in the 4 x 100 and 4 x 200 outdoor relay squads. Tyo will anchor events ranging from 200m to 800m as well as her newest event, the 400m hurdles. She accepted the challenge well posting the second-best all-time performance. McMillan boasted the Dukes' top time in the 55 meter dash, an event she placed fifth in at the indoor A-10 championship. She produced the team's top performances in the 60m and 100m events as well. Sophomore Melissa Blackburn has the ability to be successful in any sprinting event between 100 and 400 meters and is expected to be a strong and consistent contributor in relay events. Freshmen Ashley Cochran, Christina Burnett and Chivon Younger add depth and versatility to the group in both sprints and relays. Cochran took fifth in the 100 meter at the 2001 WPIAL championship while Younger qualified for the WPIAL championships in just her first year competing in track.
Jumps McMillan, the 2001-02 indoor and outdoor Atlantic 10 Most Outstanding Field Performer, will guide the Dukes once again. She took gold in the triple jump at both championships and established new Duquesne records in the triple and long jumps. Adding to the scoring prowess of the jumps are senior Crystal Paris and Wiley. Paris has been a medallist in the triple and long jumps at the A-10 championships and as a sophomore set the previous triple jump mark with a leap of 37' 5". Missing the indoor season with an injury, Paris came back strong for the outdoor slate taking seventh in the triple jump at the Conference championship. Wiley has been a consistent point scorer for the Red & Blue in jumps and placed seventh at the A-10 indoor championship last season. Sophomore Kristen Micsky looks to build on a strong freshman campaign where she earned bronze in the high (indoor) and triple (outdoor) jumps. She posted DU's top height in the high jump for both seasons. Sophomore Sarah Fetterman will again secure the pole vault, an event she holds the Duquesne indoor and outdoor records in with jumps of 10' 0" for both slates. Fetterman took fourth at the A-10 indoor championship and was fifth at the outdoor meet.
A solid freshman class is expected to bolster the scoring potential and success of the Dukes' jumps with the addition of Christina Burnett, Ashley Cochran, Kerri Durica and Emily Baker. Burnett took second at the 2002 PIAA state championships with a triple jump of 37' 10.25" while Cochran finished third at the 2001 state championships in the long jump with a personal-best distance of 18' 0.75". Durica captured the WPIAL triple jump crown as a senior and was fourth in the states with her personal-best of 37' 9.75". She also posted measurements of 17' 7" in the long and 5' 3" in the high jumps. Baker adds to the quality of the Dukes' depth in the pole vault with her personal record of 10' 0".
Throws Third-year throws coach Jayne Beatty has an abundance of talent behind her as everyone returns from last year's record-setting season. Senior Lena Harris controls the discus and weight throws, events she continually improves the marks of each year. She set new Duquesne records last season with her bronze medal performance (135' 2") in the discus at the outdoor championships and her fifth-place toss of 45' 6.50" in the weight throw at indoor A-10s. Junior Erica DaCosta secures the javelin where she set a new DU mark with her throw of 140' 0" last season. An ECAC qualifier, she placed third in the event at A-10s. Sophomore Marcie Hepler posted a stellar freshman campaign rewriting the shot put and hammer records for the Dukes. An ECAC qualifier, she took bronze in the shot put at both the indoor and outdoor Atlantic 10 championships and finished seventh overall in the hammer for the outdoor meet. Hepler set outdoor marks of 44' 4.00" and 144' 7.00" in the hammer and the indoor standard in the shot with a toss of 43' 1.75". Sophomore Krisha Mackulin returns as well adding to the depth and talent of the shot put and hammer. She posted personal-best of 37' 10" in the shot put and 105' 6" in the hammer last season.
A strong recruiting class has been added that is expected to take the throws program to a higher level. Caitlin Cielo, Valerie Hahn, Melissa Stewart and Jameson Olsen will be looked upon to provide immediate contributions. Cielo placed second at the Meet of Champions as a senior and boasts a personal-best throw of 148' 8" in the javelin. She also reigned as the New Jersey Group IV champion. Hahn was runner-up in the discus at the WPIAL championships and has personal thrown personal marks of 129' 1" in the discus, 36' 5" in the shot put and 121' 8" in the javelin. Steward won the PIAA state discus title as a senior and finished third in the shot put as well with career tosses of 43' 1.50" in the shot put and 136' 1" in the discus. Olsen was a state qualifier in the discus and has a personal-best mark of 119' in the event.
Strong and competitive schedules face the Dukes once again. Highlighting the indoor season are meets at West Virginia, Penn State and Dennison with the slate wrapping up with the Atlantic 10 championships at Rhode Island Feb. 22. The outdoor schedule takes the Red & Blue to the Raleigh and Penn Relays as well as West Virginia. Richmond will serve as hosts to the A-10 championships slated for May 3-4.