|Senior Kassady Murphy projects to anchor the throws for the Scots this year.|
The College of Wooster women's track and field program has a proven track record of sending individuals to the NCAA Div. III Championships, as the Fighting Scots had at least one qualifier for the national meet in each of the last eight seasons. Veteran head coach Dennis Rice is hopeful that the core principles of strong commitment, establishing a great work ethic, and having great success at the championship meets are the blueprint to extend that run, and the Fighting Scots have plenty of experience throughout the roster to back that up.
"We're focused on the team making a strong commitment to the weekly training development as we go through the season to eventually hit our ultimate peak at the NCAC Outdoor Championships," summed up Rice. "We had excellent success this past fall and want to carry that confidence and work ethic through the indoor season and come to a close at the outdoor championships come May."
Carolyn Webster headlines the returnees as a four-time national qualifier in the high jump, and Rice sees the potential for one of his senior leaders to look to make a push for nationals in the multi-events.
"As a senior, we're confident that Carolyn will be very excited about branching out (with national aspirations) in the pentathlon and heptathlon," shared Rice. "Carolyn's always been a great team member in terms of doing multiple events at the championship meets to enhance the overall team outcome."
Webster, who also regularly competes in the long jump and 60- and 100-meter hurdles is one of three Scots with major scoring potential in the jumps among the returning letterwinners. Webster's joined here by senior Mallory Crane and junior Akwia Tilton.
"We're excited about the jumps," said Rice. "We feel our jumps specialists can be a big part of our conference teams, especially with three letterwinners being able to score within those events."
On the track, Rice has several veteran leaders capable of setting the tone, starting with middle-distance and relay anchor Emani Kelley, who is coming off an all-conference season on the cross country course. Junior Korri Palmer and senior Erika Womack are the Scots top returning sprinters, and both have made their mark as well on relays.
"We have a strong core of sprinters back in the fold who also factor in heavily on relays," said Rice. "Here at the College, we always put a strong emphasis on our relays. We're excited about the possibility the women's relays have at being all-conference and challenging for the relay titles."
While Webster is the clear-cut team leader in the hurdles, the Scots do have some up-and-coming talent among the returnees. Junior Audrey Cordova has "untapped potential," per Rice, while sophomore Ciara Hudson gained experience in the hurdles last year and is forecasted to see even more action there this year.
Shifting to the longer distances, Rice has plenty of optimism and high expectations for his middle-distance, distance, and steeplechase student-athletes.
"We have excellent, experienced members of the team to enhance those events, and great younger women as well," commented Rice. "We're excited to see what we're capable of doing with a great mixture of upperclass and underclass women. They did a great job this fall in terms of work ethic to create that team atmosphere that needs to be in pace at the championship meets."
Sophomore Zoe Covey and junior Cobi Warstler are the returning letterwinners who project to compliment Kelley in the middle-distance events, while sophomore Emma Busch, and seniors Sophie Hawkins, Rebecca Kreuzman, and Collier Summay project to be the distance anchors among the returning letterwinners.
The Scots also have a talented first-year class looking to make their mark on the program.
Wooster's indoor slate starts at the Oberlin College Tri-Meet on Jan. 11. The Scots host the Wooster quad on Jan. 19 and the Fighting Scots Invitational on Jan. 26. Wooster will also host the NCAC Indoor Championships March 1-2 and the Wooster Invitational March 29-30.