Catching up with women's track

By The Beacon | March 20, 2012 9:00pm

A young women’s track and field team looks to turn heads with start of outdoor season

Freshman distance runner Andrea Dettmann competes in the Oregon Preview in Eugene during spring break. Outdoor track season kicked off March 3 with the Linfield Icebreaker. The Pilots’ next competition is the Willamette Invitational March 30-31 in Salem, Ore. (Photo courtesy of Kim Spir)

By PJ Marcello, Staff Writer --

The women's track and field team wrapped up its indoor season Sunday, at the Oregon Preview in Eugene. After a lot of growth in the indoor season, the Pilots look to set some school records in the upcoming outdoor season.

"The indoor season made it easier to set our goals for outdoor," sophomore captain Kelsey Bestall said. "We want to set the school record in the 4x400 relay. We're only a second off and not everybody is 100 percent yet."

The women's distance runners have remained strong, setting 13 new marks in the 800m, 3000m, 5000m and mile events this season. The sprinters and hurdlers look to be on pace to follow suit in the outdoor season by setting some marks of their own.

"I want to see a lot of the sprinters set top 10 marks this season," captain Kiyah Williams, a junior, said. "I also want to set the school record for 400 hurdles and make it to regionals this year."

In the past, the success and expectations of this year's team would not have been possible. An inconsistent and even non-existant coaching staff made it difficult for the team to be competitive, but new coach Jonathan Marcus has helped turn the program around.

"We used to have a different sprinting coach every year and at one point we didn't even have a coach," Williams said. "Jon Marcus is here for good and he works us hard. He expects us to grow not only as runners, but also academically and as people."

The new coach has been a driving force behind the turnaround in the development of young sprinters at UP.

"Having a coach that is committed helps us to be committed too," Bestall said. "We want to work hard for him."

Without any seniors on the roster this year, leadership from the coaches will be essential in honing the young talent for years to come.

The Pilots' next meet will be the Willamette Invitational in Salem on March 30 and 31.