2000-01 PreviewWith the addition of several talented freshman and the return of many top performers, Ferris State Men's and Women's Track Coach Jeff Kavalunas is excited about the prospects for the 2001 season.
"We have a lot of upperclassmen leadership this year on the women's team," Kavalunas said. "They will be legitimate contenders for the league title this season."
The men's team is only a second year program. Despite the inexperience, Coach Kavalunas is optimistic that the men will move up the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) standings in 2001.
"The men are still learning how to be competitive," Kavalunas said. "We have some talent. We just have to keep improving."
That improvement will be necessary if Ferris State has hopes to finish near the top.
Sprints/HurdlesFerris State will be improved in the sprint and hurdle events this season. Defending GLIAC 100-meter hurdle champion Morgan Buckner, a junior, returns in 2001.
"The sprints/hurdles will be an improved area for us," said Kavalunas.
Joining Buckner in the sprint/hurdle events will be sophomore 400-meter hurdler Jessica Berube and newcomers Jennifer Delameter, Crystal Kuzma and Molly Machinski.
On the men's side, the Bulldogs will look to freshman Pat Hayes to score some points in the hurdles. In addition, newcomers Joe Klein and Gary Thelen will add depth in the sprint events.
Distance EventsFerris State should have several athletes in the distance events that will contend for All-GLIAC honors this year.
"We're not going to have a lot of depth, but we have some talent," Kavalunas said. "We ought to be able to place in several events."
Junior Katie Chapman and senior Michelle Terry should be contenders in the 800 and 1500-meter races. Senior Mackenize Woodring and junior April Smith should also place high in the longer distance races at the conference meets. Seniors Char Smith and Tianna Kennedy, junior Katie Klaver, sophomore Sarah Gooch and newcomer Angela Herzog will provide depth.
On the men's side, Steve Picucci will be the top runner. Picucci, a junior, will compete in the 5,000-meter race and the steeplechase.
"Steve is greatly improved," said Kavalunas. "He'll be competitive at the conference meets."
Juniors Ken Fessenden, Jared Kramer, Josh Wittenbach and Ken Zimmerman will add depth as will freshman Joe Every.
Field EventsFerris State has one of the top field events programs in the GLIAC. This season, Ferris returns seven All-GLIAC field event performers.
All-American Farrah Sewell returns for her junior season in 2001. She has continually proven to be one of the GLIAC's top throwers and this season will look to make her mark on the national scene. Last year, Sewell placed second in the hammer throw at the GLIAC Outdoor Championships (180-9) and placed fifth overall at the NCAA Outdoor Championship Meet. Sewell owns the school record in the hammer throw (180-9) and the weight throw (53-1).
"Farrah will be among the top throwers in the country," Kavalunas said. "She has the ability to throw very far in all the throwing events."
Senior Carla Buechler, an All-GLIAC performer in the javelin, will join Sewell competing in all the throwing events. In addition, basketball players Tianna Kirkland and Jennifer Brogger return. In 2000, Kirkland, a senior, qualified for the NCAA Championships in the shot put and discus events. Brogger, a sophomore, won the GLIAC Outdoor Championship in the javelin.
Ferris State will be strong in the jumping events. In the pole vault, sophomore GLIAC record holders Kristyn Buck and Adrienne Desenzio return. They will be joined by newcomers Susan Jadan and Becky Prielipp.
"The jumping events will be a big area for us," said Kavalunas. "We could have the strongest jumps program in the league."
In the horizontal jumps, senior GLIAC triple jump champion Jamie Sollose returns. Joining Sollose is senior Julie Kovach, Desenzio and Delameter.
On the men's side, long jump/triple jumper Jason Thompson returns and will be a contender for All-GLIAC honors. Freshmen Kurt Peterson will compete in the pole vault and Jay Dixon will compete in the discus, shot put and hammer. Freshman Joe Klein and senior Brian Green will add depth in the jumping events.
The ScheduleOverall, both the Ferris State men and women appear to be poised and ready to contend in the GLIAC during the 2001 campaign. The conference indoor meet will be held at Findlay (Ohio) on Feb. 24.
The outdoor schedule features four home meets at Top Taggert Field. Included among those four meets is the 2001 GLIAC Outdoor Championships on May 4. The home track could be a huge factor in determining if either Bulldog squad has a shot at the league crown.