NWL T&F looks to gain experience – Times News Online
Almost every team in every university sport lacks the experience for the 2021 season.
Without the 2020 season, this year’s undergraduate and undergraduate class is all new to the varsity class, while their junior and senior colleagues who may have competed in the early years of high school are now two years from the last varsity. Competition are removed.
Not only will Northwestern’s track and field teams be lacking in experience, but also somewhat young teams looking to learn and improve in the coming season. Despite the youth and inexperience, the Tigers will continue to expect to be competitive in the Colonial League and District 11.
The Tiger Boys team completed several point athletes who may have had a successful 2020 season, including Rhys Fenstermaker (pole vault), Mike Marrazzo (throws), Joe Pleban (long distance), Michael Rebert (middle distance) and Matthew Renner (middle distance), Deven Bollinger (Sprints), Luke Hallman (litters) and Gabe Miller (litters).
The team brings back a core of talent and should have some athletes scoring some of the points for the team at each meeting.
While these losses will be difficult to overcome, the Tigers return Tony Beidler (senior, sprints and hurdles), Andres Garrido (senior, jumps), Rhys George (senior, pole vault), Brandon Smeltz (senior, sprints) and Jared Stitzel ( Senior, middle distance, javelin and hurdles), Justin Rodda (senior, sprints, high jump and long jump), Cole Chukoskie (junior, distance), Josh Heilman (junior, middle distance), Cayden Kuhns (sophomore, hurdles and pole vault) and Nate Vincent (Junior, middle distance) to the pack.
“We’re going to try to get points in sprints, long jump and high jump from Justin Rodda,” said Chuck Groller, fourth-year head coach. “One of our strengths this year should be our medium / long distance group, which includes the most important returnees Jared Stitzel, Cole Chukoskie, Josh Heilman and Nate Vincent. Rhys George in the pole vault should be one of the best pole vaulters in the Colonial League. Like the girls, we are a very young team. We’re going to challenge these young men to do their best but ultimately have fun and enjoy their season. “
Like other spring sports programs that couldn’t keep up last season, Groller and the Tigers were devastated to stay out of the competition. But the lost time has given the program a new meaning and perspective.
“Our goal was to come out of the regular season as champions and have a strong performance at the Colonial League Championship meeting,” he said. “Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, it is very sad to say that we will never know what could have been. On the positive side, we can hardly wait to christen our new track and field facility on March 30th with a home game against Bangor and Palisades. Our athletes, parents and the community are very excited. “
Northwestern also has talent in Joe Chukoskie (junior, distance), Sam Bower (sophomore, distance), Matt Santana (sophomore, distance) and Zachary Santana (sophomore, distance), many of whom helped the Tigers get their second straight District 11 capture Class 2A Cross Country Team title last fall. A mix of youth and experience could lead Northwestern’s athletics program to achieve similar success this season after playing 5-6 in the Colonial League in 2019.
“We hope to be competitive and we look to our top management to pave the way for our underclassmen,” said Groller. “We are still a young team with a lot of strangers. Time will also tell how these young men respond to the challenges ahead. “
Graduates Kristen Brown (middle and long distance), Allison Costa (middle and long distance), Jillian Fink (sprints), Carly Fogal (sprints, long and triple jump), Alexandra Hallingstad (sprints), Allyson Myers (sprints) and Sydney Sevrain (Speer) left a squad that won the Colonial League 9-2 in 2019.
But Tiger’s head coach Chuck Groller, now in his seventh year at the helm, still has a lot of talent on this year’s team. Kate Betz (senior, sprints), Lauren Hinks (senior, middle distance), Caitlyn Miller (senior, litters), Lauren Schellhamer (senior, sprints), Molly Boushell (junior, hurdles), Jakayla Holmes (junior, middle distance), Kirsten Mauer (junior, jumps) and Emma Nelson (junior, jumps) are counted to help the squad maintain their high level of success.
Amy Andreoli (sophomore, pole vault), Ashley Haas (junior, pole vault), Kailyn Jones (senior, middle distance), Angelina Klein (sophomore, distance), Sarah Yeakel (junior, jumps) and Faith Yost (sophomore year , Hurdles and jumps) will also play an important role for Northwestern.
“Overall, we have very few girls who have ever attended a Uni-Track meeting,” said Groller. “We have to rely on Kate Betz, Lauren Schellhamer, Lauren Hinks and Caitlyn Miller for their experience and leadership skills to take the lead. We’re a very young team with a lot of strangers, but we have good athletes who come from other Lehigh sports teams in the northwest. With the inexperience we have as a team, we will face some challenges. Only time will tell how good we will be. Most of all, I want them all to have fun and enjoy the season since we didn’t have any last year. “
Like other spring sports programs that couldn’t keep up last season, Groller and the Tigers were devastated to stay out of the competition. But the lost time has given both programs a new purpose and perspective.
Time will tell what this season brings for Northwestern, but Groller looks forward to the opportunity to find out.
“The unknown and challenges will be the theme for our girls this year,” he said. “We have some returning athletes with experience as well as some younger inexperienced team members with athletics. Our senior and junior guided tour for these younger girls was great. Time will tell how quickly the younger, inexperienced athletes can build their confidence to face the challenges that lie ahead of the competition. “
PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZ After last year’s spring season was canceled, the northwest athletes are eager to start the 2021 season.