After a year of anticipation, the Spring Hill College Men's and Women's Outdoor Track & Field teams will open their historic first season at the 2013 Mississippi College Twilight Invitational on Friday afternoon.
SHC head coach Craig McVey is excited to get his first crop of Badger runners on the track. "We're proud of how hard everyone has worked on both teams," he said. "The squads are just excited to get going after a long year of preparation and waiting."
For a first-year program, the Badgers feature a strong roster that is surprisingly deep. On the men's side, McVey points to his middle distance runners as the team's strength. Junior Fritz Boudreaux of Pensacola, Fla., sophomores Ben Fleming from Metairie, La., Connor Read of Pascagoula, Miss., and John Russell of Cullman, Ala., will join freshmen Brennan McLean of Baton Rouge, La., and Jordan Travis from Poplarville Miss., as the heart of the Spring Hill middle distance roster.
In sprints and relays, sophomore Minh Nguyen of Oneonta, Ala., will team with freshmen Greg Hardnett from St. Louis, Mo., Melin Portillo of Metairie, Phillip Travis of Poplarville and Robert Treuting of Alexandria, La., to form the core of the Badger runners.
Freshman Patrick Lameka from Chicago, Ill., will specialize in distance events as Boudreaux and Russell will also compete in those areas.
Freshmen Wesley Pietri from St. Paul's Episcopal School in Mobile and Lorenzo Abdur-Rahim of Marietta, Ga., will run hurdles and compete in the jumping events. Nguyen will also participate in jumps for the Badgers.
McVey looks for junior Harrison McNab and freshman Justin Rooks of Murphy High School in Mobile to handle throws while Boudreaux and Pietri will also attempt the field events.
The Spring Hill women will also be strong in middle distance, but McVey is confident that his sprinters and relay teams will be ready to perform. Junior Emily Dolan from McGill-Toolen Catholic High School in Mobile will run middle distance along with her sister freshman Katie Dolan and freshman Makena Lidie of Lake Forest, Calif.
In sprints and relays, senior Kiearstan Carter from Murphy High, sophomore Lauren Rubin from Lake Bluff, Ill., and Elissa Barahona of New Orleans, La., look to lead the Badger pack joined by Emily Dolan in the relays.
Junior Anna DeWine from Cedarville, Ohio, and freshman Anna Gable of McGill-Toolen will cover the distance events for the Badgers with Gable also participating in the steeple chase.
Sophomore Esperanza Pace of Murphy High will tackle the throws for Spring Hill while senior Yiting Cao of Shanghai, China, and the Dolan sisters will attempt the jumps.
"Obviously we are a very young team," said McVey. "This first meet will be a time for us to make adjustments and get our feet under us before we begin to look toward the conference meet in three weeks."
The meet is scheduled to run at the James E. Parkman Track in Robinson-Hale Stadium in Clinton, Miss. Field events are scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m. with the running events at 4:00 p.m.