ELON, N.C. – The Elon University women’s track and field team officially announced its 2014-2015 schedule on Wednesday, Dec. 17. The 19-meet indoor and outdoor slate includes indoor competition at the nearby JDL Fast Track Complex and the Phoenix’s first home outdoor meet in eight years.
“Overall, I think we put together a very strong indoor and outdoor schedule this year,” said Elon Director of Track and Field and Cross Country, Mark Elliston, who is in his ninth season of leading the Phoenix program. “Some of these meets go above and beyond as far as being competitive so we’re looking forward to this season.”
After previously opening its indoor season on Nov. 22, at the JDL All-Comers meet, the Phoenix opens 2015 with a return trip to the JDL Fast Track Complex in Winston-Salem, N.C., for the Wake Forest Invitational on Jan. 10. It is one of three indoor meets the Phoenix will have at the facility along with the Hilton Garden Invitational (Jan. 30-31) and the High Point Team Challenge (Feb. 12).
On Jan. 16-17, Elon travels to Lynchburg, Va., for the Liberty Open, where it won the meet championship a year ago. The following week (Jan. 23-24), the Phoenix heads to Virginia Tech for the Hokie Invite.
Elon opens the month of February at East Tennessee State to compete at the ETSU Track and Field Invite on Feb. 6-7. A few select members of the team will then travel to the prestigious Tyson Indoor Invite at the University of Arkansas (Feb. 13-14) before closing out the month with a return trip to Blacksburg, Va., at the Virginia Tech Challenge (Feb. 20-21).
Elon will then compete in its first-ever Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Indoor Championship meet on March 5-7, in Boston. The NCAA Indoor Championships will take place March 13-14, in Fayetteville, Ark.
“Due to the fact the (Colonial Athletic Association) does not sponsor indoor track, we were fortunate to become members of the ECAC and compete for an indoor championship in Boston,” said Elliston. “It is a very prestigious, very strong and competitive meet and it’s a huge recruiting tool for us to let athletes know we have a full fledged team that competes for championships in both indoor and outdoor track.”
The Phoenix opens its outdoor schedule by traveling to Conway, S.C., to compete at the Coastal Carolina Invitational on March 13-14. Elon then heads to NC State for the Raleigh Relays on March 27-28.
After a pair of meets at the Liberty Collegiate Invitational (April 3-4) and the Duke Invitational (April 11), Elon hosts the Phoenix Invitational on April 18, at the newly renovated Jerry and Jeanne Robertson Track and Field Complex. It will be the Phoenix’s first home meet on campus since 2006.
“We’re thrilled about our new outdoor track facility and being able to host a meet for the first time in about eight years,” said Elliston. “Having a meet at home in front of our campus and surrounding community makes us very excited to show everyone what we could do and showcase the talent on this team.”
Elon will have few members of its squad compete at the prestigious Penn Relays on April 23-25, before heading to Williamsburg, Va., for its first CAA Outdoor Championship meet on May 1-2.
“We are very excited to compete at the CAA Championships,” said Elliston. “Our entire program is looking forward to competing against some teams that are very strong and competitive. I believe that we have a chance to hold our own in this league during the outdoor season.”
After meets at the Duke Twilight (May 6-7) and the Wolfpack Last Chance (May 16-17) in Raleigh, N.C., the Phoenix will look to have a few of its athletes compete at the NCAA East Preliminaries in Jacksonville, Fla., on May 28-30. Last year, Elon had a program-record five athletes qualify for the NCAA prelims. Three of those athletes – juniors Jennifer Esposito, Sydney Griffin and Megan Kirschling – all return for the maroon and gold.
The NCAA Outdoor Championships will be held June 10-13, in Eugene, Ore.
“The three returning athletes that qualified at the prelims last year should have an excellent chance of making a return trip and have a few more of their teammates join them this year,” said Elliston. “They know what to expect and are looking to move forward beyond that this season.”