Women's Track: WVU Set for Championships


By Kelly Tuckwiller for WVUsports.com
May 05, 2011 01:08 PM
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University track and field team is set to start competition at the 2011 BIG EAST Outdoor Track and Field Championships this Friday.

Slated for May 6-8 at Jumbo Elliot Track at Villanova, the Mountaineers have qualified more than 20 student-athletes.

Last season, the Mountaineers found themselves in fourth place at the end of the weekend, despite being down several top athletes who were redshirted. This year, West Virginia returns looking to improve that fourth-place finish.

“Last year, we had a career weekend with our distance runners,” coach Sean Cleary recalls. “Optimistically I would not have expected to do what we did. We redshirted a number of track girls, so finishing fourth was an awesome day.

“This year, we are looking to better that finish.”

Leading the Mountaineers this weekend is All-American Chelsea Carrier. One of the nation’s top athletes, Carrier will compete in the 100-meter hurdles, the 400-meter hurdles and the long jump, as well as aiding the 4x100-meter and 4x400-meter relay teams.

Currently, the Buckhannon, W.Va., native is tied for ninth in the country in the 100-meter hurdles after breaking the school record with a time of 12.97 at the Jesse Owens Track Classic on March 23.

Also competing this weekend is senior April Rotilio, who will race in the 200-meter and 400-meter dashes, while junior Meghan Mock looks to place in the long jump.

“We have Chelsea Carrier and April Rotilio back this season, as well as Meghan Mock, who had a great day last year and is jumping even better this year,” Cleary says.
“Chelsea has had such a great spring. April Rotilio has been consistent from day one, and Meghan had by far her best jump last week. I look for those individuals to lead us into the BIG EAST.”

In the high jump, WVU has senior Katelyn Williams, who qualified for last year’s national championships in the event, and sophomore Sydney Cummings. Williams will also compete in the heptathlon.

In addition, the Mountaineers could see top finishes from freshman Chené Townsend in the 100-meter hurdles and sophomore Jordan Hamric in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.

In the field events, West Virginia has several throwers competing this weekend, led by junior Terina Miller, Heather Adams, Brittany Fink and Brittany Thomas.

“We also have Terina Miller, who is ranked in the top 8 in the conference and who has had a great spring,” Cleary admits. “What Heather Adams does in practice, if she could bring that to a meet, we feel like she really has the ability to help the program. Also, I know that Brittany Fink left the meet last year vowing that she would go out and score this year and has worked hard. It takes one good throw or one good race to turn an entire season into something very positive.”

In the distance events, despite being down a few All-Americans this season, WVU still has a strong group set to compete led by senior Keri Bland who could be seen in the 1,500-meter or 800-meter run, junior Sarah-Anne Brault (10,000-meter run or 5,000-meter run), junior Kate Harrison (10,000-meter run or 5,000-meter run), freshman Kaitlyn Gillespie (10,000-meter run or 5,000-meter run) and senior Kaylyn Christopher (1,500-meter or 5,000-meter run).

“We are down a few All-Americans this season, but Keri Bland is rounding into shape and we will find out just how quickly this weekend,” Cleary says. “With Sarah-Anne Brault, Kate Harrison, Katie Gillespie and Kaylyn Christopher, you are still looking at a tough group of runners. It will be interesting to see what they will do this weekend.”

With a tough field of competition, including Louisville who is looking for its fourth consecutive conference title, the WVU track and field team is at the top of its game as it prepares to start action this weekend.

“A lot of our kids have had their best performances in the last few weeks and that is always the way that you want to go into this meet,” Cleary admits. “A lot of these girls competing this weekend are as good as I ever thought they could be right now. They have done their job.”

For live results or streaming of this weekend’s conference championships, visit www.BIGEAST.org.

Tags
Big East Conference, WVU women's track, Chelsea Carrier


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