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Bethany Looking Forward to Big Year on the Track

March 14 -BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany College track and field teams are carrying high hopes into the 2013 outdoor season, as the men’s team will have one of its strongest rosters in years with expected contributors in all areas and the women will lean on a deep collection of sprinters who had successful indoor seasons.

2091Grinkley13.jpg Off the strength of the talented core of sprinters, the Bison women finished fourth out of eight teams at the PAC Indoor Invitational. It was the youngest of those runners who had the biggest impact during the PAC meet, as freshmen Heather Grinkley (Woodbridge, Va./C.D. Hylton), Heather Goolsby (Washington, Pa.) and Maria Jackson-McBride (Spotsylvania, Va./West Potomac) all had top five finishes. In the 60, Grinkley (right) took fourth with a time of 8.21 seconds, Goolsby was right behind in fifth (8.31) and Jackson-McBride raced to third place in the 200 (27.18).

Mixing four newcomers, including freshman Bri Steich (Hagerstown, Md./North Hagerstown), who has shown great potential, with three returners who were on the 4x100 relay team that set the school record last year gives Bethany a stable of seven quality sprinters. Junior Paige Prato (Gibsonia, Pa./Deer Lakes) won the conference title in the 100 last year and owns the Bethany record in the event with a time of 12.76 seconds. Her indoor season included a sixth place finish at the PAC Invitational with a time of 8.32.

Two other relay members return this season in sophomore Megan Butler (Brooklyn, N.Y./Homeschool) and junior Hayley Acree (Middlebourne, W.Va./Tyler Consolidated). With this kind of quality depth, not only will the Bison be set in the 100, 200 and 400, but spots on the 4x100 relay will be a source of great competition throughout the spring.

7536Prato12.jpg “Our women’s sprinters are as strong as they’ve ever been,” said Bison head coach Andy Upton, who is in his ninth year at the helm of the programs. “We had the best recruiting year we could hope for in landing three freshmen like Grinkley, Goolsby and Maria. Grinkley and Goolsby had the two fastest indoor 60 times in school history, with Paige (right) behind with the third-fastest, and Maria has already proven she will compete in the 200 and 400.

“With those four, Bri, Megan and Hayley, we will have seven competing for four spots on the 4x100 relay,” said Upton. “It’s going to be very competitive throughout the season and the relay should be very strong.”

In addition to her work in the sprints, Grinkley will also be looking to contribute in the jumps, as she took fifth place at the PAC Indoor meet with a measurement of 15-2.75. The BC distance runners will be led by a pair coming off good cross country seasons, as well as solid indoor campaigns. Freshman Brooke Bosworth (St. Clairsville, Ohio), who earned Honorable Mention All-PAC on the trails in the fall, took sixth place in the 5K during the PAC Indoor Invitational and sophomore Jess Olson (Moon, Pa.) earned seventh place.

7144Moore12.jpg The Bethany men turned in several outstanding performances to finish third overall at the PAC Invitational in February to set the stage for a big outdoor season. Freshman Umar Moore (right - Coraopolis, Pa./Moon) arrived on the scene by taking first place in a pair jumping events and will contribute on the track as well. He won the triple jump with an effort of 43-10, more than two feet in front of the runner-up, and his measurement of 21-10 in the long jump was the winning jump by more than eight inches. Moore also placed fifth in the 200 (23.30) and will be on the 4x100 relay.

There are many familiar faces that will be scoring big points for the Bison this season. Junior Arkangelo James (Pittsburgh, Pa./Baldwin), the school record holder in the 800, won that event during the indoor PAC meet with a time of 1:57.71, his fastest ever in indoor. He also anchored the 4x400 relay to a win at the meet with a time of 3:27.59.

7170Gregg13.jpg The BC throwers will be highlighted by junior Ben Gregg (Eighty Four, Pa./Bentworth). A provisional qualifier for NCAA Championships as a freshman in 2011, Gregg (right) earned Second Team All-PAC last year and placed fifth overall at ECAC Championships for the highest placement by a Bison at the meet.

“We’ll be looking for big things from Ark and Ben this season as two of our top returners,” said Upton. “Ark had the best indoor season of his career and PR’d in the 800, as well as anchoring the 4x400 relay to the fastest indoor time in school history. Ben is as strong and powerful as he’s been. With the PAC champ in the javelin graduated, the door is open for Ben this year, but this could also be the year he gets to nationals.”

Bethany will boast a pair of veteran hurdlers this spring who finished in the top three at the indoor PAC meet. Sophomore Austin Williams (Euclid, Ohio) placed second at the indoor meet in the 60 hurdles by crossing the line in 9.01 seconds. Junior Zac Everhart (Gerrardstown, W.Va./Mussleman) took third in indoors in a time of 9.23 seconds and was Second Team All-PAC in the 110 hurdles.

5314Pinchom12.jpg Like the women’s team, Bethany’s men can also turn to a plethora of options in the sprints, including some returners and some newcomers. Senior Raymear Pinchom (Willingboro, N.J.) had an exceptional indoor season, capped off by his fourth place finish in the 200 (22.99) and sixth place showing the 60 (7.31) at the PAC meet. Pinchom (right), Moore, freshman Matt Brower (Washington, Pa.), who was seventh in the 60 at PACs in February, and sophomore Anthony Thompson (Colquitt, Ga./Miller County), who was one of the top seeds in the 100 last before getting hurt just prior to PAC Championships, will make up BC’s 4x100 relay.

In the 400, freshman Kyle Minger (Richmond, Ohio/Edison Local) is already on the radar to be a major threat at the conference meet. He finished second overall in the 400 with a time of 51.07 at the PAC indoor meet and will be on the 4x400 relay while also looking to chip in points in the high jump. Bethany will go pretty deep in the 400 overall, as sophomore Derrick Tolliver (Bellaire, Ohio) was fourth last month at PACs with a time of 52.39 and junior Lamine Balde (Guinea/William L. Sayre) placed seventh (53.97). With James, Minger, Balde, Tolliver and Pinchom to choose from, the Bison 4x400 relay should also be a strong point this spring.

“Our sprinters should be strong again for the men,” said Upton. “We have a lot of guys competing for spots. Raymear looks the best he has in his career and placed in the 60 and 200 at PACs. Anthony was one of the top sprinters in the PAC last year before getting hurt right before the conference meet. Umar could be one of our top point scorers because of his ability in the jumps, as well as the 200 and the 4x100 and Matt is also a freshman who who has shown us a lot so far.

“Another freshman who should be a big contributor is Kyle,” said Upton. “He either won or placed in the 400 throughout indoor and took second at PACs. With the depth of runners we have, our 4x400 should be as good as we’ve had here in recent years and compete for a PAC title.”

Similar to the women, the Bison’s distance crew will be featured by younger runners. Freshman Ryan Donnelly (Pittsburgh, Pa./Penn Hills) earned Honorable Mention All-PAC in cross country during the fall. His first indoor season was capped off by scoring in two events at the PAC meet, including a third place finish in the 5K (16:36.55) and a seventh place in the one-mile run (4:45.78).

The Bison open up the outdoor season March 23rd at the Muskingum Invitational. The schedule also features a pair of home meets with the Bethany Invitational April 6th and the PAC Quad Meet at Bison Stadium April 17th. The 2013 PAC Championships will be April 26-27 at Washington & Jefferson and the ECAC Championship Meet is slated for May 16-17 in Springfield, Mass.