YORK, PA - Strength in numbers.
That old adage holds true for the 2010 York College men’s track & field team under third-year head coach Erick Camodeca. However, it is not just the increase in student-athletes that have bolstered the quality of the Spartan program, it is the strength within those numbers that has the Green and White prepared for one of the best seasons in school history.
“Last year’s squad broke five outdoor individual records and five relay records,” Camodeca beamed, “and every one of those athletes, save for the graduation of standout sprinter Gabe Henise, will be back this year.”
Perhaps the Spartans’ most talented and potential-filled unit entering the 2010 campaign is the sprinting core – a group about which Camodeca is exceptionally excited.
“Our sprinters experienced very good success last year and will be able to build off of that,” Camodeca said. “With the type of talent and depth that we have entering the season, I truly believe we can compete and score in the 100, 200, and 400 events, as well as each of the relays.”
Leading that core of high-caliber sprinters is sophomore Darren McKoy, the reigning Capital Athletic Conference Rookie-of-the-Year. McKoy quickly established himself as one of the league’s top sprinters in 2009 and has a great opportunity to become the CAC’s best in the 100 and 200 races this season. He will also anchor the Spartans’ talented 4x100 squad.
“Darren really came on strong in just his first collegiate season,” Camodeca said. “With a full year under his belt, we are all extremely excited to see what he will accomplish in 2010.”
Joining McKoy within the sprinter ranks are seniors Thomas Kentouris, Ryan Liggitt, and Bill Horner as well as sophomores Damian Myers and Le Von White. Kentouris enters the year as one of York’s captains and will look to remain a vital and consistent member of the 4x100 crew. Liggitt has the chance to become one of the conference’s best 100 and 200 sprinters as well as continue to be a significant cog in the 4x100 team. Myers begins his Spartan career after transferring from Millersville. A speedy runner who is also versatile, Myers should find himself entered into events ranging from the 100-meter dash to the 1600-meter relay. Horner and White will provide quality depth as each has the ability to perform well on meet day.
Nearly as talented as the sprinting core, York’s hurdlers enter 2010 looking to make a splash in the CAC. Junior captain Ben Edwards leads this crew after becoming a standout in 2009. Edwards shattered York’s previously held school records in both the 110- and 400-meter hurdles last year and, after a strong off-season of training, is primed for an even better 2010.
“Ben is definitely the top hurdler we have had here, evidenced by his record-breaking season a year ago,” Camodeca raved. “But more than that, his leadership proves to be his most valuable attribute. Ben has done a tremendous job of taking a sport that easily gets caught up in individual efforts and has expressed the importance of the team aspect of track & field.”
Senior Ryan Campbell and freshmen Todd Humphrey and Matthew Marthaler join Edwards in the hurdling ranks. Campbell is another quality student-athlete whose experience will help him make his way back toward the top of the CAC. Humphrey comes to the collegiate level loaded with potential and has the ability to be able to quickly adjust to the increased hurdle height in the 110 and the elongated distance of the 400. Marthaler is a versatile runner who should provide added bite to the Spartans’ hurdling unit.
York’s distance crew, comprised mainly of Spartan cross-country student-athletes, is an experienced and talented group that has the potential to make some noise come conference championships. The Green and White sport a quality lot of juniors led by captain Andrew Friesema, a very talented distance runner. Matt Provonche, Paul Wallace, Ryan Janes, and Akeem Mackall round out York’s deep and strong junior core as each could have breakout campaigns. Sophomore Patrick Lestrange returns to the lineup after garnering All-CAC accolades in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and will look to nab top honors this season. Senior Jason Hinkle, another standout on York’s cross country squad, gives the Green and White even more talent and experience that will be utilized throughout the season.
Aside from the veteran runners, the Spartans welcome a pair of rookies who could each provide significant contributions in just their first collegiate track seasons. Steven Childres is coming off a fantastic cross-country campaign and will look to carry that confidence onto the track. Greg Bivona will provide great depth and push Lestrange in the steeplechase.
“We have a great group of distance runners this season,” Camodeca said. “There is talent, experience, leadership, youthful exuberance, and confidence throughout. If we stay healthy and focused, we could begin to decrease the distance between us and the top squads in the CAC.”
One area where sheer numbers do not bring strength for the Spartans is the jumps, but that does not mean the Green and White are void of strength.
“Sure, we may not have the depth in the jumping events that I would like,” Camodeca said. “But that does not mean that we will not be able to out-jump our opponents. We are very top-heavy in these events with student-athletes who can do some impressive things.”
Sophomore Mark Kseizopolski returns for his second year in a Spartan uniform, entering the season as York’s top pole-vaulter. Exceptionally talented, Kseizopolski set the program-record in just his rookie year and, with a renewed focus, will look to become the league’s best in 2010. Rookies Nick Paulovich will add significant depth behind Kseizoploski, as the Spartans vie for a return to the top of the CAC ladder in the pole vault.
With the arrival of a pair of freshmen, the Green and White immediately put themselves into conference contention for the long-jump title. Jerry Bowers and Phil Cavaluchi each posted tremendous high school careers and have the potential to become some of the conference’s best right away. Bowers will also look to be the Spartans’ top triple-jumper this season. Spartan sophomore Chris Camodeca, a prep teammate of both Bowers and Cavaluchi, returns to the lineup as York’s lone long-jumper with collegiate experience and will look to guide the youngsters into a new level of competition. Both Camodeca and Cavaluchi will also be highly active in York’s 100- and 200-meter dash efforts as well as the relays.
Junior Brandon McLaughlin, who has improved
each year, enters 2010 as the Spartans’ best in the high
jump. With continued improvement, McLaughlin could find himself in
the mix for the CAC title come mid-April. Daniel
Bosenbark begins his collegiate track & field career
of talent bolstered by his exceptional size and athleticism.
The Spartan throwing unit will rely heavily on young student-athletes in 2010. Junior Zach Raywood, the lone upperclassman among the York throwers, is set to lead this group after being named a captain for this season. After a quiet 2009, Raywood will look for a return to his freshman-year form when he garnered second-team All-CAC honors in the javelin.
“We definitely feel the loss of our graduating seniors from last season,” Camodeca admitted. “But that just leaves the door open for our young guys to step up. We are confident that each of them, led by Zack, will be able to do just that and perform well throughout the year.”
Highlighting the crew that will be joining Raywood are sophomores Austin Dubos and Steven Goldberg as well as freshmen Cavaluchi and Kameron Wansel. Dubos, who starts afresh after missing the 2009 campaign, has the athleticism and strength to be an impact performer especially in the discus. Goldberg’s relentless determination and commitment sets him up well to be York’s best in the hammer throw. Cavaluchi, in addition to his jumping and sprinting duties, will also help the Green and White in the javelin. Wansel possesses quite possibly the best potential of the group. The six-foot three-inch, 235-pound rookie has all the tools to become one of the league’s top throwers in each of the four events.
Overall, Camodeca is excited about the season as the Spartans are exceptionally strong in several areas and have the potential to be one of the best teams in the CAC.
“We are looking to take last year’s individual successes to another level as well as turn them into a team effort,” Camodeca commented. “With that said, finishing third in the CAC is no longer a goal of ours. We need to pull together as a team and challenge the teams in front of us and distance ourselves from those behind.”
Although highly optimistic, the third-year head coach knows that there is no sure thing about the 2010 campaign.
“This should be a very interesting and surprising year for us,” Camodeca said with optimism. “We are truly moving in the right direction at a fast pace, and we only hope that we can continue that trend this season.”
The Spartans open their outdoor season on Friday, March 5, at the University of North Florida Spring Break Open.
Current Outdoor Records - as of 12/17/09
Ben Edwards photo courtesy of Charlie Covell