See Also: Men's Outdoor Track and Field Preview
MOUNT PLEASANT – With key student-athletes making their 2011-12 debuts and many others returning to their natural events after the indoor season, the women's outdoor track team is ready for a competitive season.
Senior long-distance runner Raeanne Lohner, who holds the outdoor 10,000m run record and the indoor mile run record, is set to return for her final season of eligibility after sitting out the indoor season. She had used all four years of eligibility in indoor track, but had redshirted the 2011 outdoor track season. Lohner is the only student-athlete in CMU women's track and field history to have been named the MAC Championships Outstanding Performer, which she was in 2010. She won both the 5,000m and 10,000m runs at that meet.
The women finished 10th out of 12 at the Mid-American Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships, but director of track and field and cross country Willie Randolph believes the addition of Lohner and many athletes returning to their natural events will give the Chippewas a boost.
“The women's team is going to be much stronger outdoors than they were indoors,” Randolph said. “It'll be a stronger team, and a more balanced team. Obviously it's very exciting to add an all-conference student-athlete in Raeanne Lohner back into the mix.”
Lohner will join senior Holly Anderson, who set the indoor 5,000m school record this year, and senior Maddie Ribant, who holds the steeplechase school record to form one of the most formidable distance corps in the conference. The trio will be joined by sophomore Krista Parks.
A number of hurdlers will be returning to their natural events in the middle-distance hurdles, which are not contested during the indoor season. Sophomore Megan Heffner and freshman Bridget Doughty will compete in the 400m hurdles after being displaced into other events during indoors. Junior Tamica Harbour will lead the short-distance hurdlers. They will be joined by seniors Emily Dienhart and Andrea Pawlowski, junior Kelsey Beatty, and freshman Emma Fishnick.
Both youth and experience are abundant among the sprinters. Sophomore Shawntoreah Turk finished fifth in the 400m dash in a career-best time of 54.74 at the Mid-American Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships, while senior Kirlene Roberts was just one-hundredth of a second from a career-best time in the 60m dash in a sixth-place showing. Senior Dierra Riley, the 100m dash MAC Champion in 2010, will also be competing for the Chippewas.
Heffner, Harbour, Dienhart, senior Misha Lamphere and sophomore Samantha Stein will be competing in the jumps for the Chippewas. Sophomore Kelly Morrissey and Halley Love will compete in the pole vault, and junior Kayla Brindley and freshmen Kyla Walworth and Milica Kulidzan will compete in the throws.
The Chippewas open the outdoor season Friday, March 23, at LSU for the LSU Relays.