Youthful track team leaps into winter

Photo by Austin Drucker ‘17

Lafayette track and field begins its winter season today.
Lafayette track and field begins its winter season today.

Today the Lafayette track and field team starts off its season at the Fast Times Invitational in Bethlehem.

“As a whole, the sprinters, jumpers, and throwers have all been training hard through the fall to get ready to compete so everyone is excited for this year to start,” sophomore distance runner Steph Benko said.

The team placed sixth in both men’s and women’s indoor track and fifth in outdoor track. Despite being in the lower end of the rankings last season, they improved throughout the duration, which bodes well for this year’s team.

“We had a really strong finish at the last meet of the cross country season, NCAA Regionals,” Benko said. “Everyone finished the season strong and despite a few injuries we are looking good for indoor track. We have a new coach this year who has been very helpful with our training and it will show this season.”

Lafayette’s fortunes will depend on a number of standouts in the course of the season. One is Jarrel Bobb ‘16, who currently ranks No. 9 All Time at Lafayette in the Indoor Long Jump and No. 10 All Time in the Outdoor Triple Jump. Bobb was a member of the Indoor 4x400m relay team that ranks No. 3 All Time in Lafayette history as well as the Outdoor 4x400m relay team that ranks No. 2 All Time. Last year he competed in the Long Jump, Triple Jump, 4x100m relay and 4x400m relay and placed 2nd in the Outdoor Patriot League Championships in the 4x400m relay.

On the women’s side, leading the charge will be Devin Smith ‘16. Last year as a freshman, Smith finished first in fourteen different events, including six of seven races in the Lafayette-Lehigh Dual Meets and also the 400m at the Indoor Patriot League Championships. Smith is the school record holder in the Indoor 200m, Indoor and Outdoor 400m, and a member of the School Record holding 4x400m relay team. She was the highest placing freshman in the 400m at the Indoor ECAC Championships and also snared 2nd place in the 400m event at the Outdoor Patriot League Championships.

Another key ingredient for Leopard success is captain Rose Willey ‘14. In 2012, Wiley came in fourth in the Lehigh/Lafayette Dual Meet and ran a 22:01.60 at the Leopard Invitational, which was good for 14th place overall. She also completed the Patriot League Championship in ninth place with a time of 23:09.7.

The team is optimistic for this upcoming season, but is anticipating success in the more distant future as well.

Despite being a young team, the Leopards are determined to make their mark this season in the Patriot League.

“Most of our team consists of sophomores and freshmen, and between juniors and seniors we only have three on the roster. At this point, experience will be the path to success for the team,” sophomore sprinter Jordan Roses said.