YORK, PA - The York College women’s track & field team approaches the 2010 season with renewed expectations after a record-breaking 2009 season. The Spartan women broke seven school records and earned four first-place titles for the first time at the Capital Athletic Conference Championships last year. Overall the team placed third in the meet but look to jump into the top two this year.
The Green and White begin the year with 21 returners, including a handful of seniors and three All-CAC performers.
“We have a larger team than last season, including some freshmen that could be key contributors already,” Spartan head coach Rebecca Lankford said as she embarks on her 15th season with the program. “My goal is for them to improve and perform even better than last season. I would like to break and reset even more YCP school records.”
The strength of the team lies in junior Caitlin Rizzardo and senior captain Alaina Smelko. Rizzardo is a two-time CAC champion in the pole vault and has become one of the best pole-vaulters in the Division III area. In 2009, she broke her own pole-vaulting record en route to her second consecutive title. After recovering from a year-long foot injury, Smelko looks to return as one of the top triple-jumpers in the league. Despite last season’s setback, she still set a new school record in the triple jump. Now healthy, Smelko is set up for a tremendous senior campaign.
The Spartans’ 4 X 400 relay has each of the four legs returning for this year. Laura Zimmerman, Amanda Parshall, Allyson Montello, and Smelko all return from their 2009 second-place finish in the conference meet. With all four a year older, stronger, and wiser, this
York garnered four first-place finishes for the first time ever at the CAC Championships, yet Lankford is not content with just that.
“We are still looking to place higher in CAC Championships,” Lankford said, “where for most years since the beginning of women’s track at York College we have placed third. We would like to break through that barrier and place in the top two.”
Parshall, joined the second-place relay team as a freshman last season. Making an immediate impact, she also set a new school record and claimed the title in the 1500 at the 2009 CAC meet while also securing the 800 crown. Those outstanding marks led to her capturing CAC Co-Rookie-of-the-Year honors. For such a young student-athlete she held the teams highest score with 76.75 points.
Zimmerman set a new Spartan record in both the 100- and 200-meter races last season. A key member of both relay teams, she also participates in javelin and was a top performer last season. Zimmerman tallied 73.5 points in 2009, ranking her second on the squad, and will look for an even better showing this year.
Mackenzie Dolan, a junior, is the only returning thrower for the York side. Lankford feels this will make Dolan step up and be a leader to her younger teammates. Dolan’s strongest event is hammer while she also competes in shot and discus.
In 2009, the Green and White won both the Lebanon Valley Invitational and the Goucher Track & Field Classic. With so many key performers returning to the 2010 roster, the Spartan women should have no problem setting the bar even higher this season. They will look into the upcoming campaign knowing they have the potential to be one of the best teams in the CAC.
“As a program, last season was a big step for us in winning some meets as well as setting seven new school records,” Lankford said. “We are not content with what we have accomplished but want to achieve even more success as a program. Our focus will be to keep pushing to achieve better individual performances that will strengthen us as an entire team unit.”
The Green and White compete in a trio of indoor meets, including two in February, leading up to their own York College Spring Opener. The Spartans first outdoor meet of the year is slated for a 10:00 a.m. start on Saturday, March 13.
Mandy Parshall photo courtesy of Charlie Covell
Preview written by Caitlin Reagan