A large roster, bursting with potential and promise, has Washington and Lee Head Women's Track & Field Coach Nate Hoey eagerly awaiting the start of the 2010-11 season.
"I am excited to get underway," Hoey exclaimed. "We are young, with around 40 women and 18 of them are first-years, but we have a lot of talent and we are going to have more depth than in previous years."
Coming off fourth-place finishes at both the ODAC Indoor and Outdoor Championships last season, Hoey knows that talent alone will not help W&L to the top of the podium. A willingness to put in the work and maintain a positive attitude will be key, and so far Hoey has not been disappointed.
"The team really wants to compete at a high level," he said. "The attitudes have been great thus far and I have been pleased with the work ethic as well."
Even though his roster is largely made up of first-year athletes, Hoey still has a talented and experienced core of returnees looking to build on past successes and also serve as a model for the first-year athletes.
Among the returnees are two of W&L's three captains, seniors Ashley Carr and Cathy Collier. Carr, who moved from the 400m to the 800m with immediate success last season, and Collier, who is coming off a solid cross country season, are two of Hoey's hardest-working athletes and their work ethics and positive attitudes will be invaluable as the season moves forward.
Another senior that Hoey welcomes back is Katherine Fenwick. Making her return to the team after studying abroad last year, Fenwick is coming off her best cross country season (Second Team All-ODAC) and has the ability to score in several events, and her flexibility and experience will be vital.
The third captain for W&L is junior Natalie Stier. An "extremely competitive" athlete according to Hoey, Stier returns for her third season after setting an ODAC-Championship record in the 400m hurdles (1:04.45) at last year's outdoor conference meet and she will be counted on to score in a variety of events, including the 100m, 400m and a variety of relays.
Joining Stier as one of W&L's top sprinters will be sophomore Marissa Thompson. According to Hoey, the current school record holder in the 100m (12.65) is coming off her best fall and has the potential to score in many of the sprint and jump events.
"She is an explosive sprinter and jumper and will be looked upon to lead this very young team," he noted.
Several other sophomores figure to be key components for the Generals, including Lauren Schultz, Taylor Maxey and Molly Ortiz among others.
Schultz, is arguably the Generals' most decorated athlete. She is a two-time first team all-conference honoree and the 2009 Rookie of the Year in cross country, as well as the 2010 Rookie of the Year Award winner at the Outdoor ODAC Championships. The defending ODAC champ in 5000m at the indoor meet and the 3000m steeplechase at the outdoor meet, she is expected to a valuable contributor in the distance events once again for the Generals.
Ortiz is also expected to contribute in the middle distance events. A second team all-conference honoree in cross country as a first-year and a member of the second-place finishing distance medley relay team at last season's indoor conference meet, Hoey is excited about her potential entering just her second-ever season of track & field.
Maxey will look to anchor the Generals' contingent in the throws. The school's current record holder in the discus (122' 6"), she finished third in the event at 2010 conference meet and will look to continue her improvement across the disciplines.
Several of Hoey's incoming rookies have already made a name for themselves during the cross country season. Rebecca Bryer and Annelise Madison are among the first-years that will look to translate their experience gained competing for the ODAC Champion women's cross country team into a successful track season.
Bryer was, in fact, W&L's most decorated cross country athlete this fall. She was an All-South/Southeast Region and First Team All-ODAC finisher, in addition to being named the ODAC Rookie of the Year. Madison was named to the Second Team All-ODAC squad by virtue of her 11th-place finish at the conference meet.
A deep and talented roster that has showed the willingness to do the little things and put forth maximum effort has coach Hoey eager to start the season. The Generals' season opens on Saturday when it takes part in the Marietta First Glimpse Invitational.