BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- Moravian College finishes its look back at the 2015-16 athletic campaign with the No. 1 story in Top 10 Stories of the Year – the men's and women's track & field teams sweeping the Landmark Conference Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field Championships for the second straight year and the seventh time in the nine-year history of the conference.
The women's program has won all nine indoor and outdoor titles since the conference began action in 2007-08. Their 2016 titles came by 85 points over host Susquehanna University at the indoor championship and by 93.5 points over Elizabethtown College at the two-day outdoor championship hosted by Juniata College.
The men's squad has won the last seven and eight total indoor championships and captured its second consecutive outdoor title after winning the first six in conference history. This year, the Greyhound men won the indoor title by 10 points over rival Susquehanna, and the Hounds had a 65-point win over the Crusaders outdoors.
"With a track meet, it's difficult to give due credit to everyone who contributed since there are so many parts, but our coaching staff has certainly been proud over the years to have teams with so many "gamers" who step up when called upon," stated fifth-year Head Coach Jesse Baumann. "Kahron Walker always has, even when hurt like this past season, Corinne Glass was dominant for us the past few Landmark meets, Parker Munson and his leadership were invaluable. I could go on, but it's the sum of so many like them who step up when needed and are eager to contribute to the tradition that was started decades ago with Coach Doug Pollard and his teams."
In addition to winning the team titles, the Greyhounds picked up numerous All-Conference and major awards.
Baumann and his staff of assistant coaches - Jonathan D'Ottavio (throws), Mike Lawyrk (pole vault), Bob Luciano (javelin), Steve Rahn (sprints/hurdles), Gary Zack (javelin), Michael El Kazzaz (pole vault), Racquel Farquharson (jumps), Tim Lorah (throws) and Robert Shaffer (sprints) earned both the Men's and Women's Coaching Staff of the Year honors at both championships.
"Our coaches without a doubt are the reason that the programs are so dominant," explained graduate student and thrower Parker Munson. "They love the sport and create an environment that encourages athletes to strive towards excellence. They all have a deep understanding of the sport and how to train for it. Pair that with the ability and effort to create resonant relationships with their athletes and you get an atmosphere that breeds success at the highest level."
For the women indoors, senior Corinne Glass led the women's team, which had 16 student-athletes garner 18 All-Conference nods, as she earned Landmark Track Athlete of the Year honors. Glass was an All-Conference First Team selection by winning the both the 200 and 400-meter dashes. Glass alongside of freshmen Anna Osman, Tamara Suchan and Maike Krischer, took home the 4x400 meter relay title, while sophomore Melissa Cheong was named the Landmark Conference Co-Field Athlete of the Year.
Junior Meg Brockett also took home two Landmark All-Conference First Team nods from her wins in the 3,000 and 5,000 meter runs. Also earning First Team honors were juniors Kiara Bright in the triple jump, Jackie Finnegan in the weight throw, sophomores Casie Cronk in the high jump, Beth Ann Davies in the pole vault, Cheong in the long jump and freshman Amari Schooler in the 60-meter hurdles.
The Greyhounds also had six student-athletes named to the Landmark All-Conference Second Team including Cheong for her finish in the high jump, senior Chelsea Swick in the pole vault, senior Christelle Reglas in the long jump, senior Abbey Clark in the weight throw, junior Rebecca Flitcroft in the 60-meter hurdles, and sophomore Ciara Stewart in the shot put.
"It's kind of an indescribable feeling honestly," Glass stated when asked about sweeping the conference titles for her career. "It's an honor to be apart of a team that wants to win and will do anything they possibly had to do to achieve that. If our team was not as close as we were, it would of been ten times harder to do what we did. There were only four coaches for the entire team so we learned how to coach and push each other to do the best we could. How hard we worked really paid off and I can say that I was not really surprised how well we've done in the past and I won't be surprised when the tradition of winning Landmarks continues.
"I think as a team both men and women wanted to continue our winning streak, we definitely did not want to mess up the long line of winning so going into every season, the first day of practice we set goals for ourselves and the main goal for everyone was to win Landmarks," Glass continued. "Everyday at practice we knew we needed to work as hard as possible to achieve our individual goals and if we did that we knew that winning would be easy. We go into each Landmarks telling ourselves we did not need to do anything crazy to win, we just needed to run, jump, or throw exactly what we did to get us there and we would be alright."
Outdoors, Glass led the women's team, which had 18 student-athletes garner 22 All-Conference nods, as she earned Landmark Track Athlete of the Year honors. Glass was an All-Conference First Team selection by winning the both the 200 and 400-meter dashes along with combining to take the 4x100 meter relay title with teammates senior Meghan Newman, sophomore Lauren White and Schooler and taking All-Conference Second team in the 100-meter dash.
Osman was honored as the Landmark Conference Rookie of the Year for her victory in the 400-meter hurdles and her second place in the 4x400 meter relay with teammates sophomore Monica Richardson, Krischer and Suchan.
Brockett also took home two Landmark All-Conference First Team nods from her wins in the 5,000 and 10,000 meter runs. Also earning First Team honors were Clark in the shot put, sophomore Trista Cunningham in the discus, Cronk in the high jump, Davies in the pole vault, and Cheong the long jump and 100-meter hurdles.
The Greyhounds also had seven student-athletes named to the Landmark All-Conference Second Team including Cheong for her finish in the high jump, Swick in the pole vault, Newman in the 100-meter hurdles, Bright in the triple jump, Finnegan in the discus and hammer throw, Cunningham in the shot put, and sophomore Mary Kate Duncan in the javelin.
"What I will remember most is the overall Landmark Conference meet experience," Glass said. "From sitting on a bus for hours together, eating dinners with the entire team, and just everyone cheering for each other and being united is a great feeling. For me, I would have about seven or eight events I would have to do in two days and thinking about it, it seemed impossible and I would be dead but the entire team was behind pushing me and really helping me. I ran a national qualifying time on my 7th event of the weekend; that kind of puts into perspective how much the team really rallies behind one another. We tell the freshmen every year before their first conference meet that it will make them love track more than they ever had and with no surprise it does just that. It brings the freshman closer to the entire team and makes them want to work hard for the rest of their college career. I will definitely miss my team and the coaching staff the most though."
For the men indoors, the Hounds had 12 student-athletes earn 18 All-Conference honors with junior thrower Greg Cahill selected as the Landmark Field Athlete of the Year. Cahill was named to the Landmark All-Conference First Team for winning the weight throw, and he also earned All-Conference Second Team honors for a runner-up finish in the shot put.
Leading the Hounds with individual Landmark All-Conference First Team honors are seniors Ryan Karnopp in the pole vault, Gavin Bailey in the long jump, juniors Cory Taggert in the 800-meter run, Kahron Walker in the high jump, and freshman John Spirk in the 60-meter hurdles.
Garnering Landmark All-Conference Second Team finishes were junior Austin Gardener in the 200-meter dash, senior Ryan Sickler, who took second in the 60-meter hurdles, Taggert in the one mile run and Walker for his second place finish in the long jump. In the 4x200 meter relay the Hounds finished second with the team of Gardener, senior Tyler Dwyer, senior John Barr and freshman Chris Antoine while the 4x400 meter relay team of Bailey, Dwyer, Taggert, and sophomore Esco Blaylock also took home second place.
"It meant a lot to see the team come together when it mattered most at both the indoor and outdoor championship meets," stated Munson. "Headed into the indoor championships I believe we had the fewest amount of athletes qualified for the ECAC meet than we ever had in the years that I've been a part of the program. That championship weekend the number doubled. We had some incredible performances when it mattered most."
Outdoors for the Hounds, the men's squad had 15 student-athletes earn 19 All-Conference honors with Munson selected as the Landmark Field Athlete of the Year and Spirk named Landmark Rookie of the Year. Munson was named to the Landmark All-Conference First Team for winning the shot put and discus, and he also earned All-Conference Second Team honors for a runner-up finish in the hammer throw. Sprik grabbed All-Conference First Team nods for his finishes in the 110-meter and 400-meter hurdles.
Leading the Hounds with individual Landmark All-Conference First Team honors were Karnopp in the pole vault, Bailey in the long jump and Walker in the high jump.
Garnering Landmark All-Conference Second Team finishes were Gardener in the100-meter and 200-meter dash, Sickler, who took second in the 110-meter hurdles, Walker for his second place finish in the triple jump, Bailey in the 400-meter hurdles, freshman Chris Cordi in the pole vault and Cahill in the discus. In the 4x100 meter relay the Hounds finished second with the team of Gardener, junior Jamil Poole, sophomore Eric Morton and Antoine while the 4x400 meter relay team of Spirk, Dwyer, Blaylock and sophomore Andrew Mitchell also took home second place.
"I will always remember all of the great people I crossed paths with," Munson reminisced. "But, my biggest takeaway after competing for the Moravian Track and Field Program will be to have a dream and work tirelessly to make it a reality. Whether you accomplish all of your goals or not the lessons you will have learned along the way and the relationships that come out of it are priceless."
Moravian had 16 seniors between the two programs that won 15 Landmark Conference championships in their four years with the program.
"The seniors made this year special. Every group has their own identity, but this class was about as fun to work with, and as tight knit a group as you're likely to see on a team. It certainly added to the gratification with our success when you have a group that is so close and cares about each other as much as they did. They'll be missed, and hopefully they set the tone and example for future groups to continue the tradition here," finished Baumann.
The Greyhounds, who were selected as the top story for the second straight year in the Top 10 Stories of the Year, will look to continue their dominance of the conference when the indoor season kicks off in December 2016.