Young Spartans Put Together Solid 2008

What three words best describe the 2008 women’s track & field team? Young and talented. Head Coach Rebecca Lankford’s squad sported only one senior on a roster of 21 student-athletes yet still turned in several strong team finishes this season.

“For being as young as we were, we had some great performances this year,” Lankford said. “We have some very talented athletes and they gained a good bit of experience this season.”

The Spartans captured an overall team victory on March 19 at the York College Quad Meet as they notched a 63-point performance to best Goucher, Columbia Union, and Hood. The green and white took seven individual crowns during the event highlighted by a pair of wins from York’s lone senior Sarah Becker (Red Lion, Pa./Red Lion).  Becker earned victories in the shot put and the hammer throw, with tosses of 33’ 1.75” and 115’ 6” respectively.

Junior Anna Hershner (Glen Rock, Pa./Susquehannock) pole-vaulted a height of 7' taking first place.  Freshman Caitlin Mahan (Delran, N.J./Delran) joined Becker with a throwing win as she threw a meet best of 85’ 3” in the javelin. Melody Parshall (Dover, Pa./Homeschooled), the Capital Athletic Conference cross country Rookie-of-the-Year, captured the 1,500-meter run in a time of 5:19.29 while Alaina Smelko’s (Punxsutawney, Pa./Punxsutawney) triple jump distance of 32’ 2.25” was tops on the day. Terah Bloemer (Stewartstown, Pa./Kennard-Dale) won the 400 meters with a time of 1:21.13. The 4x400 team of Allyson Montello (Adamstown, Md./Urbana), Mackenzie Kauffman (Belleville, Pa./Indian Valley), Parshall, and Smelko crossed the line at 5:13.5 to capture the relay victory.

“Even under rainy and windy conditions, our team performed well.” Lankford said. “It is great to see your team pick up wins in a variety of events. That home meet was a real confidence builder for our program.”

Ten days later, the Spartans traveled to Towson for the Goucher College Classic and scored 130 points en route to a second-place finish. The 130-point total was bolstered by 20 top-fives, which included a trio of wins. Becker recorded two more firsts in the discus and hammer throw, while Kristen Cronise (Shrewsbury, Pa./Susquehannock) earned the other victory with a win in the pole vault.

“Goucher was a successful meet for us,” Lankford said. “Any time you land in the top-five as much as we did that is definitely a positive.”

At the Capital Athletic Conference championships, the host Spartans garnered a third-place finish, scoring 97 points for the meet. Three Spartans captured first-team All-CAC honors as all three came in the field events. Becker, who was simply outstanding for the green and white all year, repeated last year’s title in the hammer throw with a championship heave of 133'7" this year. Mahan grabbed first in the javelin with a toss of 96' 3" in only her first CAC Championships while fellow rookie Caitlin Rizzardo (Jacobus, Pa./Dallastown) pole-vaulted a height of 10' take home the title. Rizzardo's jump also set a new school record in the pole vault.  Smelko earned York’s only second-team honor with her 33' 8 3/4" leap in the triple jump.

“Three titles and four all-CAC finishes was a great accomplishment,” Lankford said. “The CACs proved that we are working in the right direction.”

With such a young crop of talented athletes who have already experienced significant success, the Spartans’ future looks extremely bright.

“We had a good season, but next year could be even better,” Lankford said. “With nearly everyone coming back we will have plenty of experience. If everyone works hard over the off season, 2009 could be very successful.”

Sarah Becker photo courtesy of Scott Guise