Spring Sports Preview
Track and Field
Track and field begin their 2011 campaign with high hopes, hoping to improve on the acclaim given to such competitors as senior Matt Geller, junior Nicole Ditto and senior Sarah Dawes.
The squad opened competition on Jan. 8 in the Father Diamond Invitational, with Ditto achieving a distance of 34 feet, nine inches in the triple jump, freshman David Justis finishing with a time of 2:48 in the 1000 meters, and freshman Dalton Echard running the 60 meter hurdles in 9:34.
They have proceeded with strong finishes in the successive three meets, including last Saturday’s Haverford Keogh Invitational. Both teams will lace up their cleats once again on Feb. 20 at the Mason Dixon Championships at Christopher Newport University.
The baseball team is eager to build on a strong 2010 campaign, in which they finished 28-14, were Capital Athletic Conference champions and had a strong third place finish in the NCAA South Regional competition.
The team will rely on the play of senior Eric Rehbein, senior Parker Talbert and the leadership of long-time coach Tom Sheridan. Their season will commence Feb. 12 with a doubleheader at home against Messiah College, their first of four doubleheaders in six matchups.
Sheridan, the Eagles skipper since 1988, has led his teams to two 30-win seasons, seven conference titles, and more than 500 total victories. He has been named Capital Athletic Conference Coach of the Year 12 times.
On the other diamond, the softball team is also ready to begin their 2011 competition. Eager to improve on a disappointing 9-26-1 record in 2010, the team will rely on an even mix of youth and veteran leadership, as the roster will consist of four freshmen, five sophomores and ten juniors.
Head coach Dee Conway, who also coaches the volleyball team, has been the coach of the softball team for its entire run, since 1988. Her teams have won the conference four times and achieved four consecutive seasons of at least 24 wins from 2006 to 2009. In 22 years, the team has only suffered nine losing seasons, while achieving the 20-win plateau eight times.
The men’s tennis team will open competition this Sunday at home against George Mason University and Franklin and Marshall College. Their 2010 season finished strong with a 13-12 record, conference title and second-round NCAA tournament exit. They hope to build on this success in 2011, with the leadership of senior Kaz Murata and juniors Kevin Aguino, Riley Baver and Andrew Frisk.
The team will be led by head coach Todd Helbling, who has coached the team since 2000. His teams competed in the NCAA tournament all 10 seasons and amassed a school-record 65 wins from 2006-2008.
On the women’s side, the play of four seniors will anchor a squad working off a 2010 season where they finished 16-8 and won the conference title, while also moving into the second round of the NCAA tournament before being eliminated.
They will be coached by Patrick Catullo, who has been the head coach since 2005, winning six consecutive conference titles and reaching the NCAA tournament six times.
Moving back into team sports, the men’s lacrosse team is fired up entering into their season opener at home against Virginia Wesleyan this Saturday. Despite finishing 2010 with a disappointing 8-9 record, Kurt Glaeser’s squad is optimistic about their chances with the veteran know-how of eight senior players. Glaeser has coached the team since 1990, achieving the school record for wins in 2002 with an 11-5 record, achieving the first national ranking in 2004, and a No. 20 ranking in 2005.
The women’s team faces the 2011 season with high hopes, having achieved a No. 14 national ranking and 14-6 record in 2010. They are coached by Dana Hall, who has been with the team since 1991, having achieved top-10 national rankings in six seasons and top-25 national rankings in a total of 10 seasons.
The team will rely on the senior leadership of Taylor Parker, Erin Murphy and Katie Wallis, along with the experience of eight juniors. The team recently hired a new assistant coach, Lauren Chatnik, who has coached at two schools in England and was a team captain her senior season in 2009 at Fairfield College, and is the older sister of sophomore defender Corinne Chatnik.
Last but not least, the equestrian team hopes to post an impressive 2011 campaign with the leadership of six seniors and the guidance of head coach Theresa Seay, who has been with the team since 2009, and was a member of the team until she graduated in 1999 and served as an assistant coach under Beth Boteler.
Collectively, all hope to produce thrilling competition and memorable matchups for their fans, both from the university and beyond.