Wednesday, May 4, 2011

LSC Track & Field - LSC Championship Preview (Part II)

Special to the LSC Scoop from Don Garrett
Abilene Christian University

After years of dominating the LSC in track and field, 2010 saw the ACU men challenged for supremacy by Angelo State and the ACU women finishing 2nd to Angelo, which has been the recent trend at the LSC meet. This 2011 version of the ACU men’s team looks much stronger than the 2010, but their women lost a lot of firepower from the 2010 team. I don’t see any LSC teams capable of making a real run at the ACU men, but their women could finish anywhere between 1st and 4th this year, depending on how some of their newcomers produce for them.

WOMEN – the losses were many for ACU on the women’s team, including several All-Americans, as ACU lost 81 points from their 2010 total of 204. The losses include: Wanda Hutson (the LSC 100 champ and 3rd in the 200), Kim Prather (runnerup in the LSC 100 and 200 and a former conference 400 champ), Jessica Withrow (runnerup in the LSC heptathlon and the former D-II national heptathlon champ), Destinee Nixon (3rd in the TJ, 5th in the 400H, 6th in the LJ and a national qualifier in the TJ), Lindsey Putnam (4th in the 800 and 5th in the 1500), Linda Brivule (the LSC javelin champ and the 3-time national champ in the event), Joella Foster (5th in the 100 and 8th in the 200), and Lynette Atkinson (5th in the 400). Plus, Elizabeth Buyse also graduated – she no-heighted in the PV in 2010, but was a former 2-time LSC runnerup. Some very heavy losses indeed.

The cupboard is far from bare amongst returnees - there are some outstanding athletes returning for the 2011 campaign: start with Anais Belledant, who won the LSC 5K, finished 2nd in the 1500 and 3rd in the 800; Paige Newby, who won the LSC DT and was 2nd in the HT, before winning the D-II national championship in the discus; Jessica Sloss, winner of the LSC HT, 4th in the DT and 8th in the SP, plus an All-American in the hammer outdoors and the weight throw indoors; Amanda Clemons, winner of the LSC triple jump and 3rd in the LJ; Chloe Susset, the LSC champ in the Steeple and 4th in the 1500; Sydney Smith, who as a freshman placed 4th in both the 100 and 200; Cassie Brooks, also as a freshman she was 3rd in the HJ and 7th in the 100H; and Shelaina Lakey, who placed 4th in the HT in 2010 as a freshman (although I think she may redshirt this year). ACU also has a few other kids who returned and who look much better thus far in 2011, like Lauren Atkinson in the 400/800.

ACU appeared to concentrate fairly heavily on high school recruits, thus it might be a year or two before the dividends for this recruiting class pay off. There is excellent potential in many of their signees, just not guarantee of them scoring heavily in the first 1-2 years. This group includes:

• Amanda Ouedraogo – another athlete from the recent French connection for ACU, she comes to ACU as a sophomore, the French national junior champ and already an automatic qualifier for indoor nationals in the triple jump
• Karla Hope – the former junior college 3rd place finisher in the 400 and a transfer from Central Arizona, she spent 2009-2010 on the ACU campus as a student
• Tara Riley, from Quanah – 1A state champ in the discus in 2009 and 2010
• Alyse Goldsmith, transfer from Oklahoma State – former District 17-5A champ in the 1600 and 3200 for Katy Cinco Ranch
• Kelti Rippenhagen, from Austin Anderson – at the Region IV-5A meet she finished 3rd in the HJ and 4th in the 100H – a perfect candidate for a heptathlete
• Michelle Ratliff, from Amarillo San Jacinto Christian – a redshirt in 2010, she placed in 4 events in the TAPPS state meet in 2009 – another outstanding heptathlon candidate
• Denise Smith, from Denver, CO – former Colorado Jr Olympic 400 champ
• Shelby Young, from Longview Spring Hill – won the 3A 100H and was 4th in the 300H in 2010
• Lexus Williams, from Irving Universal Academy – the 1A state champ in the 300H and the runnerup in the 100H – apparently will redshirt this year
• Leslie White, from Amarillo HS – 8th in the 5A 300H in 2009, 2nd in the Dist 2-5A 100H in 2010
• Amelia Mitchell, from Hallettsville – 2nd in the Texas Jr Olympics javelin in 2009
• Irelle Dunbar, from Haltom City – 1st in the Dist 3-5A 100H and 300H and runnerup in the 100 and the LJ, before finished 3rd in the Region I-5A 100H in 2010
• Oksana Hays, from A&M Consolidated – a former TAPPS all-stater while at Allen Academy
• Rachel Belcher, from Bulverde Bracken Christian – 4th in the TAPPS 2A 3200 in 2010
• Greta Porisch, from San Antonio Antonian – 5th in the TAPPS Dist 2-5A 800 and 7th in the 1600
• Lauren Hartwick, from Forney – 2nd in the District 9-4A SP, plus 5th in the discus (another redshirt prospect for 2011)

It is interesting how ACU is borrowing from Angelo playbook, picking up good multi-athletes for competing in the heptathlon and individual events, which ASU has done very successfully in the past few years. If the newcomers progress quickly, then the ACU women will be in a fight with Angelo State and West Texas A&M for LSC supremacy.

MEN – The losses here were minimal, but they did included the 2010 LSC pole vault champ (Landon Ehlers), All-American decathlete James Hardin (who placed 5th in the 110H, 6th in the PV, and 7th in the javelin at the LSC meet), all-conference fullback Emery Dudensing (5th in the hammer), plus Aaron Cantrell who no-heighted in the PV at the conference meet, but came back to gather All-American honors at the national meet. That represents 23 points out of the 205 points in 2010.

ACU has a terrific group of returnees, headed by 2 former national champs who redshirted outdoors in 2011: Nick Jones, the 2-time D-II national champ in the discus who won the SP and the discus at the 2009 LSC meet and Andrew McDowell, the 2009 LSC 110H champ, who won the national indoor 60H in 2009. Just having them back for the conference meet is probably a 30 point swing in ACU’s favor! Other returnees include the top distance runner in the nation, Amos Sang, who won the LSC 800, 1500, 5K and 10K, before coming back to win the D-II 5K and 10K; the top returning LSC sprinter – Desmond Jackson, who won the 100 and 200, before finishing 3rd in each race at nationals; the top returning LSC weightman in Tyler Fleet, who won the LSC hammer and was the runnerup in the discus, before finishing 5th in the national discus, AND the top returning LSC jumper, Ramon Sparks, who won the TJ and was runnerup in the LJ, plus winning the D-II triple jump indoors in 2009. ACU also returns Romain Rybicki, who was 3rd in the 10K and 4th in the 1500; Jordan Geary, placing 3rd in the 400 and 6th in the 200 as a freshman; Kevin Johnson – runnerup in the 110H and 8th in the 400H; Michael Rasor, 3rd in the 110H and 6th in the 400H; Parker Petty, the 3rd place finisher in the decathlon; Milo Parsons, the 4th place finisher in the hammer; Will Pike, who was 7th in the 10K, and 10th in the 5K; plus some kids who came close to placing – Bryce Nichols in the discus and javelin and Sterling Garnett in the 400. A very formidable group of returnees!

NEWCOMERS – ACU did not have many holes to fill on their roster, but they did a pretty nice job of finding a few kids who will fill gaps in 2011 and particularly in 2012:

• James Grantham, from North Port, FL and Rend Lake Col – a former Florida 4A state 1600 champ and a national champ in the JC 4X800 who was injured and missed all of the indoor season
• Paris Robertson, from Starkville, MS and Southwest Mississippi CC – 14th in the JC 100 in 2010 – will help in the sprint relay, which did not qualify for nationals for the first time in years in 2010
• LeVance Williams, transfer from SW Mississippi CC – 13th JC LJ in 2010, also a pretty good sprinter
• Desmond Brown, from Rosenberg Lamar Consol – 3rd in the Reg III-4A 400, just missing the state meet
• Erik Forrister, from Llano – 4th in the 3A 3200 in 2010
• Levi Gates, from Austin McCallum – former basketballer at ACU who has switched to track and is showing great promise in the decathlon
• Spencer Lynn, from White Oak – former 3A state champ in the 1600/3200, had a great XC season for ACU in 2009, then was injured and redshirted outdoors in 2010
• Matthew Stark, from Abilene Cooper/Transfer from Colorado School of Mines – 6th in the Rocky Mountain AC decathlon (notice that ACU is stockpiling multi-athletes on the men’s side as well)
• Caleb Gregory, from Odessa HS – redshirt in 2010, a HS sprinter converting to the decathlon
• Gary Duncan, from Longview Spring Hill – 8th in the 3A 3200 at the state meet
• Soren Thompson, from Frisco Centennial – 2nd in the Dist 9-4A 3200, plus 4th in the 1600
• Austin Wooten, from Longview Pine Tree – 3rd in the District 13-4A PV, plus 6th in the 800

This team looks very deep for 2011, adding some good young distance runners and sprinters/jumpers who should help. Also, ACU has 4 decathletes who can fill some gaps by entering several events for the conference meet. This looks like a deep, good team.

Angelo State
The Angelo women put together at team in 2010 that might have very well been the best women’s track team in LSC history and their star, Aisha Adams, was arguably the greatest female athlete in LSC history – I honestly cannot remember an athlete that ever dominated D-II competition to the degree that Aisha did in 2009 and 2010. However, the ASU women lost a staggering amount of talent from last year’s team. The men’s team made a huge run at ending the 18 year string of ACU winning the men’s title and they came oh-so-close, falling just 10 points short of ACU. The Angelo men also lost some talent from 2010, only one All-American, but lots of kids who picked up a few points. Here is how it breaks down:

WOMEN – Angelo scored a staggering 297 points at the LSC meet in 2010, but almost as staggering is the amount of points they LOST after last season – 185 or 62% of their total. That is an amazing amount of points that they will try to make up in 2011 and I don’t know that they can come close to making up that number of points. The losses begin with Aisha Adams, the aforementioned D-II Greatest Athlete of All Time – loss of 48 conference points (she won the 100H, 400H, HJ, LJ and was 2nd in the TJ), before scoring 36 points at nationals and placing in SEVEN events! Angelo also lost some other huge contributors from 2010: Celethia Byrd – 26 points (1st 200, 400 and 3rd 100); Chrystal Ruiz – 42 points (1st heptathlon, 2nd 100H, 400H, HJ, LJ); Andria Nussey – 20 points (1st 800, 1500), Kris Crockett – 20 points (3rd 400, 4th 400H, 5th LJ, 6th HJ, 7th TJ); Brittney Heath – 17 points (2nd 800, 3rd 1500, 6th 5K); Paige Massengill (3rd 10K and 7th 1500) and Jasmine Clarke – 4 points (5th 800). ASU also lost Sarah Hooker, who placed 9th in the 400 last year, but was a former LSC runnerup in the event. Do you realize that either Aisha Adams or Chrystal Ruiz would have finished as the 5th place team just by themselves! Just those 2 women alone added together would have placed 3rd in the team race. Astounding!

Of course, ASU still has some good hands returning, but no women who have scored those kinds of staggering points in the past. The returnees include: Jayda Spencer (2nd in the LSC SP and JT); Kimberly Williams (the LSC SP champ, 5th in the javelin and 8th in the discus); Emeline Crutcher (2nd in the 10K, 5th in the 5K as a freshman); Summer Sutherland (the LSC PV champ and 8th in the HJ); Theresa Sue (4th in the 400 and 6th in the 200); Jessica Boudreau (5th in the 5K and 8th in the 1500); Shelly Diggs (5th in the heptathlon); Carmen Herrera (4th in the triple jump and 9th in both the 200 and 400); Makayla Myers (6th in the 100); Kami Orsak (8th in the 10K); Brittany Clarke (8th in the TJ); plus, Alyssa Priest (9th in the 10K). What you don’t see in this returning group are kids who scored in lots and lots of events and that is what Angelo loses from last year’s team.

Angelo had a nice recruiting year, with several kids who should help quickly. It is only when compared to the losses that the list of newcomers pales:
• Kati Holly, from Monahans – the 2-time 3A state HJ champ (2008 and 2010) – she may become the conference favorite in the event immediately
• Bree Bennett, transfer from Bevill State – a former JC All-American hurdler
• Kelsey Wilson, transfer from South Plains – the former JC national PV champ
• Aven Covin, from Canadian – 3rd in the 1A state 300H, 8th in the 100H in 2010
• Andrea Edwards, transfer from Spokane CC – the Northwest community college champ in the hammer
• Marquisia Elam, from Houston Lamar – 4th in the Region III-5A discus, also won the District 20-5A SP
• Tiffany Wilcox, transfer from Cowley County CC – 11th in the JC 55 indoors in 2009
• Sofia Ramos, from Bryson – 5th in the Region II-1A 800 in 2010
• Kelsey Merritt, from East Bernard – 3rd in the Region IV-2A 1600 and 3200 – just missed going to the state meet in both events in 2010
• Kaneisha Jones, from Pflugerville Hendrickson – won the Distrist 25-4A HJ
• Katy Williams, from A&M Consolidated – 4th in the super-tough District 12-5A 3200
• Breonna Fields, from Austin LBJ – finished 3rd in the TJ, 4th LJ, 5th 400 in the District 26-4A meet

So, you can see that this is a good, solid recruiting class, but I don’t see it making up 185 points! The LSC women’s team race is the most wide open it has ever been! However, some of the good young throwers who are coming to throw for Angelo will add to what is already one of the best group of throwers in LSC history and remember, Angelo built their terrific teams of 2-3 year ago on throwers.

MEN – the Rams took some losses, particularly they will miss All-American quartermiler James Howell (won the LSC 400 and was the runnerup in the 200). Other losses include: Andrew Crookham, 3rd in the SP, 6th in the HT, and 7th in the discus; Robert Malczewski, the freshman who was 4th in the decathlon and 6th in the 110H; Sam Gallander, the former LSC halfmile champ who finished 3rd last year; Jake Halfmann, who was 7th in the decathlon; and Nate Gonzales, 7th in the steeple and 9th in the 5K. Also lost were Steve Gundy in the 800 and Shannon Cunningham in the steeple, both athletes who were always hovering close to points in their events.

There are some strong returnees for the Rams - led by Mark Slone, the jumper who was 2nd in the TJ, 4th in the LJ, and 5th in the HJ; Tyler Orlando, the LSC javelin champ and 4th in the PV; Jacob McDonald, the LSC PV runnerup and 3rd in the javelin; Brian Holik, the LSC 400H runnerup and 5th in the 100; Isidro Garcia, 2nd 400 and 7th in the 100; and Wade Goode, the thrower who placed 3rd in the discus and 4th in the shot put. Other returning conference scorers include Nick Alejandro (3rd in the HT and 7th in the SP); Junior Carrasco (6th in the decathlon); Phillip Gonzales (4th in the 400H); Randall Guinn (5th in the 5K); Terence Holland (5th in the 400); Shane Holmes (5th in the decathlon); Jeffrey Jones (3rd in the 400H); Nick Smith (5th in the 100 and 8th in the 200); Andrew Allison (6th in the PV); and some “almost” scorers at the conference meet – Ryan Adkins in the 100 (4th in the 100 in 2009) and Ethan West (110H). A solid group of returnees, but just like on the women’s side, there aren’t people who can score in 3-4 events.

The recruiting class is quite good, a trait that seems to be shared by almost every LSC team this year – I have probably never seen an influx of talent into the LSC as we will see in 2011! The highlights of the ASU class include:
• Vondrell Harris, transfer from Cowley County CC – the national JC high jump runnerup
• Trevor Rogers, transfer from CC of San Francisco – the NorCal JC long jump champ
• Steven Cantwell, transfer from McMurry – the American Southwest 1500 champ in 2009
• Keaton Hatch, from Plainview – 5th in the 4A discus at the state meet in 2010
• Dylan Walter, from Irion County – the 1A runnerup in the HJ
• Chisam Akagha, from Wylie (the one in the Dallas area) – 2nd Dist 8-5A 110H
• Nathan Castro, from Brady – 1st District 8-2A PV
• Garland Cook, from El Paso Burges – won the Dist 1-4A 300H and was runnerup in the 110H
• Monte Griffin, from Dallas Lincoln – 4th in the District 12-4A 800
• Robert Herrera, from Pecos – won the District 4-3A discus and shot
• Donald McCarthy, from Wylie – 3rd in the Dist 8-5A 300H, plus 6th in the 110H and PV in 2009
• Josh Tolentino, from Abilene HS/Trans from Western Texas – 3rd in the District 3-5A 800 in 2009

Some of the transfers should contribute immediately for Angelo, but I don’t think I see enough points here to see them challenging a good ACU team. Of course, once the season actually begins, we will see athletes emerge as conference contenders who don’t appear that way on paper right now.

Tarleton State
Both the men’s and women’s team took losses from their 2010 team. While particularly the women’s team had some success in recruiting, most of the newcomers are a year or two away from contributing, so 2011 may be a down year for TSU.

WOMEN – 2010 was a down year for Tarleton, dropping to 5th place in the team standings but they only lost one vital cog from that team – Kandis Brooks, one of the top hurdlers in the LSC, who placed 3rd in the 100H and 7th in the 200. There were three others who came close to scoring in 2010 who are gone this season – Morgan Kuydendall (13th in the 10K, but 4th in that race in 2008), Sheila Bishop (10th 10K and 11th in the 800) and Tara Towns (9th in the LJ, but 6th in the 200 in 2009).

Returnees for TSU are concentrated in the weights led by Leslie Jordan, who was the runnerup in the SP, 3rd in the HT, and 6th in the discus and others including Elizabeth Dominguez, who was 3rd in the discus, 4th shot put and 9th in the hammer; Courtney Newsom, 4th in the HJ and 6th in the 400; Meredith Persinger, 5th in both the shot and hammer, plus 7th in the discus; Danitra Marshall, who was 7th in the 400, plus 11th in the LJ; Katherine Grillo, who was 7th in the steeple for 2 points and Kallie Johanson, who was 8th in the SP. Tarleton had several kids who came close to scoring in 2010, but did not quite make it , athletes like Claire Goodman who was 10th in the 400; Jessica Ryan, 14th in the 400; Kendall Trnka, who was 10th in the 1500 and Kari Anne Wagner, who no-heighted in the vault in 2010, but who was 9th in 2009. Another good season from Jordan, plus improved production from some of the other returnees and Tarleton can make up the points lost with the graduation of Kandis Brooks rather quickly.

The recruiting class was solid, particularly in the distance races, but as was proven in the cross country season, most high school distance runners take 1-2 years to make an impact on the college level and I don’t know that the younger distance runners will make much of an impact in 2011, however some of the young sprinters could impact in 2011. The newcomers include:
• Peyton Shoush – the 2A state 800 champ from basketball powerhouse Brock
• Lindsey Hinton – Denton Ryan/Transfer from Hardin Simmons – a dominant runner at the D-III level for HSU who could help immediately after winning the American Southwest Conf Cross Country title last fall and winning the ASC 1500 last spring
• Derekia Coleman, from Fairfield – 5th in the 3A 300 and 8th in the 100 in 2010, she was more dominant in 2009, when she won the 200 and was 5th in the 100 – could be a huge addition for Tarleton
• Morgan Reed – was 6th in the 2A 800 and 3rd in the Region II-2A 1600 for Callisburg
• Shelby Terry, from McKinney – at the District 9-4A meet, won the 100H, 3rd in the 300H and 4th in the HJ
• Shabrina McAdams – from all I can find, she finished HS at Ennis in about 2007, but this is her first college competition – she was 3rd in both the Dist 15-4A 100H and 300H
• Celeste Meyer , from Florence – 2nd in the 2A 1600 in 2009, then 4th in the Region IV-2A 1600 and 3200 in 2010
• Diamond Wilson – 3rd in the Dist 7-5A HJ in 2010 for Cedar Hill
• Rachel Wolf – a volleyballer for TSU who went to the state meet twice for Windthorst in the 100H in 2005 and 2007

Some of the older newcomers (Hinton, McAdams, Wolf) probably have best chance to contribute quickly, with some of the younger kids (Shoush, Reed, Meyer) making more of an impact in 2012 or beyond, although they could slip in for some points this first year. One freshman who COULD have a big impact in 2011 is Coleman, who was one of the top HS sprinters in the state her junior year at Fairfield.

MEN – Tarleton lost a lot of key performers from their 2010 team, starting with former LSC track athlete of the year, Jared McNeil (3rd in the 1500 and 4th in both the 800 and steeple in 2010). Other losses include Nolan Eubanks (the runnerup in the SP and 5th in the discus); Gerzain Valenzuela (3th in the 5K and 4th in the 10K); Garrett Thomas (the LSC champ in the 110H); Casey Keeter (4th in the discus and 7th in the hammer – transferred to TCU); Jonathan Kern (8th in the 1500); Ryan Quesada (7th in the 5K); Andrew Grant (8th in the PV); and Tyler Stowell (8th in the hammer). That is 61 points or about 60% of the 2010 total lost to graduation or transfer! That will be tough to recover.

There is still a solid group of returnees that could help cover some of the losses, starting with Westyn Rosiles (2nd steeple and 6th in the 5K) who did a good job of stepping up for TSU in cross country. Other returnees include Kolin Styles (3rd in the steeple), Tyler Rushing (3rd in the HJ), Jamal Mays (3rd in the 100 and 9th in the 200, just missing finals in that event), Jordan Hurd (4th in the 800), Aaron Donohue (5th in the 400), Hayden Eubanks (6th in the discus), Chris Hearell (7th in the 1500 and 8th in the steeple), and Cyler Matlock (7th in the high jump). Others who did not miss the final 8 by much were Sherraud Roberts (12th in the 400), John Morin (DQ’d in the 400, but came into the meet ranked in the top 10); Travis Montgomery (9th in the 200) and Austin Griffin (13th in the 100). What you notice is that few of the returnees scored in multiple events and the way this team can still improve in 2011 is for these returnees to score in 2-3 events each, instead of just one.

The newcomers are not overwhelming as a group. They are athletes with interesting potential, but I don’t see many instant contributors. The group includes:
• Jordan (Montrell) Larkin from Mineral Wells – won the Dist 6-4A 400
• Kenny Odunaiya from Round Rock Stony Point – won Dist 16-5A shot put, before finishing 7th in the Reg II-5A meet
• Eli Pratt from Fairfield – won the Dist 20-3A SP and DT, before finishing 5th in both at the Region III-3A meet
• Miles Joslin from Georgetown – placed 3rd in the 1600 and 6th in the 3200 in Dist 16-5A, which is traditionally one of the toughest distance districts in the state
• Brian Cooper from Justin Northwest – 3rd in the Dist 5-5A 800
• Tai Odunaiya from Round Rock Stony Point – 2nd in the Dist 16-5A shot put, finishing behind his twin brother, who is listed above
• Ed Riewerts from Mansfield Timberview – 3rd in the Dist 8-4A discus in 2009

I just don’t see the kind of talent that can make up for Tarleton’s massive losses from this group. 3-4 of these newcomers can probably help the Texans as early as 2012, but it will probably be 2013 before they will make their mark on the conference level.

Eastern New Mexico
The Greyhounds and Zias definitely make more noise at the conference meet in 2010 than any time in recent memory. The women’s team took almost no loss and the men’s team lost 2 scoring athletes, but look like they have replaced their losses with newcomers. The men’s cross country team came very, very close to beating ACU for the LSC title, another sign that ENMU is moving into the middle tier of track teams in the LSC. I would hate to see ENMU move to the Rocky Mountain Conf just when they are becoming competitive in the LSC in track.

WOMEN – the Zias only lost one woman who scored at last year’s meet, Jerri Martin, who scored 2 points in finishing 7th in the 10K. Those 2 points can be made up by this year’s team.

The returnees for ENMU are headed by Nicky Reid, one of the top distance runners in the LSC – she was the runnerup in the steeple and the 5K in 2010, along with finishing 6th in the 1500, which totaled 19 of the 35 total points scored by the school. Other returnees include Kassie Daugherty, who was 5th in the discus; Danielle Jones, placing 6th in the 10K; Nicole Blackwell, 8th in the 800; and Theresa Chacon, 8th in the steeple. Others who came close to scoring were: Megan Bryant (14th in the 5K last year, but 10th in the 10K in 2009), Samantha Draper (15th in the 800), and Vanessa O’Neal (13th in the 400).

There are only a few newcomers, but one in particular should help a great deal:
• Adrienne Montoya, from the NM Academy of Performing Arts – this kid looked great at the LSC XC meet and she was the NM 2A champ in 2010 in the 800 and 1600 running for Estancia, because the Performing Arts HS did not have any athletic teams
• Tegan Volberding – Dayton, Nevada/Transfer from U of Nevada – redshirted at Reno last year, but was the former NV 3A triple jump champ
• LaDawn Spiller, from Killeen HS and a transfer from Highland CC in Kansas – 10th in the JC indoor long jump in 2009, she is a decent collegiate jumper/sprinter
• Sonja Scales, from San Antonio Stevens – 2nd in the Dist 25-5A 200
• Brittany Buchanan, from Albuquerque Hope Christian – 11th in the NM 3A 1600 and 3200

Not a huge number of newcomers, but I was really impressed with Montoya at the LSC XC meet (she was the 2nd best place among all freshmen). Plus, the few newcomers fill holes in the ENMU roster. I think this team should certainly improve on its 35 points total from 2010.

MEN – the Greyhounds lost several athletes from the 2010 team, but only 2 who actually scored points for them – Jonathan Bull, who was 5th in the SP and Steven Aragon, who was 2nd in the Decathlon. They represent 12 points from the 52 points scored by ENMU in 2010. There were others who are no longer at ENMU who came close to scoring – John Rea (9th in the steeple), Antwone Cobbin (11th in the 800), Jeremy Thompson (14th in the 400) and Chace Cauthen (15th in the 100). The Greyhounds should be able to overcome these losses.

The key returnee for ENMU is Bill Squire, who won the LSC shot put and was 2nd in the hammer for 18 huge points. The other returning point-scorers include: Daniel Draper (4th in the javelin); Pedro Martinez (5th in the steeple); Dustin Francke (6th in the 800); Jacob Lozano (6th in the 10K), and Marcus Oakley (8th in the discus). There were also several returnees who came close to scoring at conference in either 2009 or 2010 – Kenyatta Carter (9th in the TJ in 2009), Lawrence Chavez (11th in the 800), Richard Kogo (9th in the 5K and 10th in the 10K in 2010, after finishing 6th in the 1500 and 7th in the 10K in 2009), Justin Netcher (14th in the 10K and ran very well in the LSC XC meet in the fall), Logan Robertson (11th in the steeple in 2010, after finishing 9th in the 10K in 2009) and Brian Smith (who actually made the finals in the 100, then did not run – this after finishing 6th in the race in 2009).

There are some excellent newcomers for ENMU, beginning with:
• Mohammed Noor, from Lewiston, Maine/Transfer from Garden City CC in Kansas – a good junior college runner who ran GREAT in the LSC XC race last fall, finishing 2nd
• Casey Robertson, from Columbus, Iowa/Transfer from North Iowa Area CC – 12th in the JC steeplechase – should make the steeple much more competitive
• Cory Clark – Augusta, Maine, Cony HS – the Maine Class A champ in the 100 and 200
• Jake Espinoza – Aztec, NM – NM 4A champ in the 200 and 400
• Robert Matthew – Chandler, Arizona – at the AZ 5A Division 1 state meet was runnerup in the triple jump and 4th in the long jump
• Kris Cogswell – Las Cruces, NM, Onate – 8th NM 5A 800
• Benjamin Faust – Cloudcroft, NM – 2nd NM 2A Javelin
• Edgardo Meza – Texico, NM – 6th NM 2A 200
• Derrick Vriseno – Belton – 5th Dist 12-5A 3200

Noor and Robertson will probably cover the holes left by the 2010 graduates all by themselves. ENMU looks to have also improved their sprint corps markedly. This looks like a much better team that could move up to challenge for a spot in that 4th or 5th place range.

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