Jan. 12, 2012
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland track and field teams begin their 2012 seasons on Saturday at the Nittany Lion Challenge at Penn State. The Terrapins will have one of their deepest track and field teams in some time and will look to develop scorers throughout the lineup.
Maryland head coach Andrew Valmon, who will also be the men's head coach of Team USA at this summer's London Olympics, will work with his staff on preparing the Terrapins for conference and national competition.
A look at the men's and women's teams for 2012 follows, as well as some thoughts on this year's Terps from Coach Valmon.
Quotes from Coach Valmon
"We have been training hard all fall in preparation for the upcoming track & field seasons. I have been impressed with the level of dedication that our student-athletes have exhibited and the work they have put in thus far. I'm looking forward to seeing these efforts come together as we enter competition.
"The sprinters, jumpers and throwers are eager to see their hard work pay off, as they have been anticipating the arrival of the season throughout their fall training sessions. Those athletes who ran cross country have built up the strength they will need to carry them through the year.
"I have watched this group come together over the past few months and now it is time to make it count on the track and in the field."
Seniors DeAnna Brown and D'Ambour Lewis should lead the pack in the short sprints. Both were ACC scorers last year in their individual events and participated on all relays (4x400 and 4x100). Both also have marks on Maryland's all-time top 10 at 55 meters, 60m and 200m. Brown is third all-time at 60 meters (7.48) and 200 meters (24.30).
Arielle Statham will be relied on in the sprints and relays and has looked powerful throughout the fall. Ayanna Fields will play a role in both the long- and short-sprint events this season (200m-800m). Shade Pratt will come off the soccer field to help in the 400m and relays this season. Dominique Davis will contribute in the 400m event this year.
Junior Taylor Bumpas was the top 800m runner last season (PR of 2:12.69 in 2010) and is looking strong entering the season. Freshman Myah Hicks is coming off of a solid cross country season and should transition well with the base she has built. Sophomore Julie Sinkovitz and senior Nicole Banker will add depth to this event area along with Maryam Fikri, Danielle Cornell, Christy Goldmann and Maeve McCoy.
Senior Ashley Cromartie will look to finish her last year of track competition on a strong note. Junior Julie Fricke is anxious to capitalize on her NCAA appearance at this fall's cross country championships. Anna Roth is also coming off of a stellar cross season. Senior Halsey Sinclair and sophomore Rebecca Yep will also contribute to this group. Adding depth to this crew will be Michelle Hess, Sydney King, Bridget Nolan and Caitlin Orr.
Sophomore Amina Smith had an outstanding freshman season and will look to soar to new heights this year in the high jump. He cleared 5-10 indoors last year, putting her fifth on the all-time list at Maryland. She will have support from several new freshman in the high jump: Amber Melville, Alexa Williams, and Thea LaFond. Junior Lucile Cancre (5-5 last year indoors) will also be a factor in this event.
LaFond will also focus on the triple Jump and the multi-events, as she brings with her a diverse set of experiences and state high-school titles in a number of events.
Senior Ashley Hendrix will finish off her career in the long jump, where she made an NCAA Regional appearance in 2010.
Last year, three female throwers represented Maryland at the NCAA East Prelims outdoors. Returning from this group are Jessie Echard and Moriah Young. Both are training hard and look forward to repeating their success this year. Senior Alex Georgiou will compete in the javelin outdoors. Young is ranked all-time in the shot put and weight throw indoors, while Echard hit the top 10 last year in the weight throw.
Standout Kiani Profit will return for the outdoor season to compete in the multi-events, 400 hurdles and relays. Profit has garnered All-America status multiple times throughout her career and is the school record-holder in several events. Her expertise and leadership will be crucial to the team's success this year. Kristi Person will also focus on developing in this event.
In the short sprints, senior Floyd Hawkes will continue to lead as a strong force in this area. Junior Dareem David is looking promising in the 60m-400m events. David (6.97 at 60m) and Hawkes (21.98 at 200m) are both among Maryland's best in the short sprints. Freshman Trey Sherman will look to make a quick start to his first year of collegiate competition.
In the 400m, John Davenport (49.01 indoors last year) has overcome an injury from last season and is looking stronger than ever in this event. Senior Chris Brown and junior Shawn David have also demonstrated they are ready to make an impact and will serve as a strong nucleus for a relay.
Senior Sumanth Kuppalli (1:53.18 indoors last year) led the group in this event area last year and will continue to compete in the middle-distance events. Transfer Mamadou Niang (Seton Hall) has shown promise in the 800m and will look to continue his strength in this event. Several freshman athletes will also contribute to this event area: Tyler Tate, Alex Willett and Terrence Maliff. Josh Finkle will also contribute his experience in the mid-distance events
Coming off the cross-country season as the top runner, Kikanae Punyua is expected to lead the way for this group. Seniors Craig Morgan and Kyle Graves will also add to the makeup of the distance crew, which will include Ty Stump, Nick Regan, Cory Puffett, Sean O'Leary and Brian Faherty.
Zack Ray, who ranks sixth on Maryland's all-time list in the 60 hurdles, will make a strong comeback this year as he represents the men in the short and long hurdles. Ray will also act as a relay leg and potential scorer in the long jump. Fellow senior Chris Parker will also finish his career in the hurdles.
A strong group of male throwers will look to rally for points this season. Sophomore Josh Haghighi has shown he has the aptitude to compete at the collegiate level. Transfer Yao Adantor (Morgan State) and freshman Pat Cole have the capability to also impact this group.
Jon Hill will be counted on in the high jump to continue to bring his competitive drive to this event. Hill, a transfer from Texas, was a major point producer for the Terrapins last season in the high jump, clearing 7-0.50 indoors to move onto Maryland's all-time list in that event.