By: KATIE OBEAR – Staff Writer
The University of Dayton women’s track and field team will be competing this weekend, Feb. 22-23 at the Mackal Fieldhouse in Kingston, R.I., in the Atlantic 10 2014 Indoor Track and Field Championship.
“For the most part we are all really excited, we have been doing a really good job at all of our meets,” said junior Katy Garica.
Unfortunately for the team, their previous meet in Bloomington, Ind., at the Hoosier Hills Invitational was canceled last weekend due to inclement weather and snowy conditions. This would have been the last meet for the Flyers to compete in prior to the championship.
In 2010, the Flyers captured their first title in the A10 Championship in a tie. UD then continued with another championship win in 2011.
For the team, this year should be interesting because one of the main competitors, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, left the A-10 to join Conference USA.
This is a major advantage for the Flyers because the 49ers have dominated in indoor track and field for many years.
Since 2006, they won over seven A10 titles, losing only once through a tie with Dayton in 2010, both teams had 145 points overall, and then losing to the Flyers the following year.
However, George Mason University, who joined the A10 this year, will be participating in the A10 Indoor Championship for the first time.
“It’s still a little bit of a new conference with George Mason joining the conference and having four schools leave the conference, so it will be interesting to see where everybody is,” said head coach Jason Francis.
Dayton has also had many of their athletes recognized at the championship. In previous years, Maureen Bulgrin and Khaleelah Sneed were awarded most outstanding track performers.
Mallory Barnes and Kelly Pohlman were awarded most outstanding field performers as well. Former track coach, Adam Steinwachs, was awarded coach of the year twice.
In addition, the Flyers have continuously had student-athletes on the academic all-conference team dating back to 1996.
UD will begin the championship Saturday starting with the shot put, long jump, and hurdles. Later, the team will compete in one of their strongest events, the pole vault.
The Flyers have had a strong season this year, breaking multiple school records and setting new personal bests for many members of the team.
“We are putting it in the ladies’ hands to go out and compete and get after it like they have been doing all year long,” said Francis.
If the team is successful in the A10 Championship, the team will head to the NCAA Indoor Nationals, which will be held March 14 and 15 in Albuquerque, N.M.
“This whole indoor season we have been setting up for this weekend, so it has been a good five weeks of competition, and competing really hard and putting ourselves in position to get one of the top three slots and hopefully capturing one of the tops two spots,” Francis said.