ELON, N.C. – The Elon University women’s track and field team opens its 2014 indoor campaign on Saturday, Jan. 11, at the Wake Forest Invitational. The meet is scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m. with the shot put and high jump events inside the JDL Fast Track Indoor Complex.
Eighth-year head coach Mark Elliston and the Phoenix will compete in their first meet of the track and field season at the facility where the 2014 Southern Conference Indoor Championships will take place. The maroon and gold tied its best finish ever a year ago at the league indoor championships with a fourth place standing.
“It’s early, but we’re still excited for this weekend,” said Elliston. “We have a lot of talent coming back this year. We’ve been gone for about a month for the Christmas break and the new year so we’re excited about getting started this weekend at Wake Forest.”
Elon returns four All-SoCon performers from indoor competition including sophomore Sydnee Griffin, who captured the 60-meters hurdles title. Bria Bell (400-meters), Megan Kirschling (high jump) and Charlise Morgan (shot put) joins Griffin as returning All-SoCon indoor performers from a year ago for the maroon and gold.
During outdoor competition, the Phoenix had three conference champions and 10 All-SoCon athletes as Elon finished fourth overall at the SoCon Outdoor Championships. The Phoenix also had an athlete qualify for the NCAA East Preliminary round for the sixth time in program history.
Here is an event-by-event look at who will compete for the Phoenix this weekend.
Scheduled to compete in the sprint and hurdle events on Saturday for Elon are seniors Bell, Kayleigh Birks and Veronica Luedke, Griffin along with fellow sophomores Jen Esposito, Simone Jackson, Jennifer Pash and Bria Turner. Freshman Carrie Abraham rounds out the sprints/hurdle group. Bell, Pash, Luedke and Esposito will make up the Elon “A” 4×400-meter relay team.
“I feel confident about the talent level and the determination of this group from what I’ve gathered through the early training in the fall,” said Elliston. “They’re really excited about where they are and they know what they are capable of.”
Kirschling and Abraham will compete in the high jump for the Phoenix on Saturday. Last season, Kirschling won the high jump title at the meet with a cleared height of 5’8” (1.73m), tying her own school-record. Abraham will also join Marie Borowycz and Jayna Coyle in the triple jump. Another newcomer, sophomore Kayla Prior, will compete in the long jump with Borowycz and Coyle.
In the pole vault, the duo of Claire Smith and Melinda Hersey will represent the maroon and gold.
The Phoenix will have only two members of the team competing in the throwing events this weekend. Senior captain Kimberlyn Holt returns after earning a conference championship in the hammer throw a year ago during outdoor competition and set a new school-record with a mark of 175’4” (53.45m). The Viola, Kan., native will throw in shot put and weight throw events with Birks joining Holt in the weight throw.
Elon will have six members race on Saturday in the distance events as the majority of the distance group will compete next week at the Liberty Open. Jackie Madden and Abigail Steinsiek will compete in the 800-meter run, Brennan McDavid in the one-mile run and Sabina Bains, Emily Dunne and Kylie Womack in the 3,000-meter race. Madden, Steinseik, McDavid and Samantha Brown make up the Phoenix’s 4×400 “B” team.
The maroon and gold travels to Lynchburg, Va., for the Liberty Open next weekend, Jan. 17-18.