Track coach Roger Erricker is anxious to see how his track squad performs without a roof over its head as the Tigers travel to the Coastal Carolina Invitational for their first outdoor competition of the season.
"We want to get everything going this weekend," said Erricker. "There are some events like the 400 hurdles, the steeplechase, 4X100 relay, the hammer throw and discus, that are not held inside for obvious reasons."
What's the team goal this spring?
"Our goal is to at least hold on to third place in the CAA meet," Erricker said.
The Tigers surprised everyone in the Colonial Athletic Association in 2010 by finishing third. They had never placed higher than fifth before and were eighth the previous three years.
"I think we can certainly be as good this year as were last year," Erricker said. "We're probably a little stronger in some events but a little weaker in others so on balance we should be as good as we were."
Towson will have to make up for the losses of graduates Alana Nedd (heptathlon), Jill Meshey (400 meter run), Megan DiGregorio (steeplechase) and Rachel Jochem (400 hurdles). All scored points for the Tigers in the CAA meet last spring.
Adams was the CAA's Female Track Athlete of the Year after recording breaking hurdle victories. She is unbeaten in all regular season indoor and outdoor hurdle events the past two years including her sweep of the 100 and 400 hurdles at last year's CAA meet. This past winter she won the coveted ECAC Pentathlon title. Adams also set the indoor long jump record (19'5.5").
Okusaga is right on Adams' heels in the hurdles. She's also a jumper.
Senior Katie Ogden is the school record holder in the 10,000, having clocked a 36:32.88 for a fourth place at the CAA Championships. Junior Kaylin Gilmartin-Donohue placed in both the 1500 and 800 meter runs last spring. Senior Brandi Gervais, the school record holder in the indoor 5,000, is another long distance threat along with junior Erika Griffith.
Sophomore Jessica Cooke tied for second at the CAA's last year in the high jump with a 5'3" leap. Juniors Shianna Smith and Shannel Shivers are expected to score points in the throws. Senior Lindsay Bumbernick is a solid jumper. Sophomore Katie Salke showed much improvement in the hurdles during the indoor season.
Several newcomers served notice during the indoor season that they could contribute in the spring too, including sprinter Desiree Vaughn and high jumpers Evan Campbell and Ashley Dabney, both of whom cleared the bar at 5'3.75".
Competition at Coastal Carolina will be held both Friday and Saturday. There will be no team scoring in this event.