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Indoor Track Opens Saturday

The indoor track & field teams open competition this season on Saturday at the Bast-Cregger Invitational hosted by Roanoke College.
The indoor track & field teams open competition this season on Saturday at the Bast-Cregger Invitational hosted by Roanoke College.

WINCHESTER, Va. – The Shenandoah University men's and women's indoor track & field teams open their respective seasons Saturday afternoon with their second-ever trips to the Bast-Cregger Invitational hosted by Roanoke College.

The event is also the lone intercollegiate competition for the two squads this semester. Following Saturday's competition, the two teams will be off until traveling to Johnson City, Tennessee for the East Tennessee State Opener January 12 and 13.

Saturday's trip to Salem for the Bast-Cregger is one of three times that SU will compete on that track this season. The Hornets return in January for the Finn Pincus Invitational and again in February for the 2018 ODAC Championships.

Head coach Andy Marrocco is bringing a select group to the meet on Saturday with the vast majority of the athletes that competed for the cross country teams this past fall sitting out this meet.

Two notable exceptions to that are women's standouts Aislynn Smith and Alexandria Caljean, who will compete in the 3000 meters. Smith, an All-ODAC honoree that just missed out on All-Region honors for cross country, is looking to best her top 3K indoor time of 11:40.30.

Caljean, who was one of the top three finishers for the cross country team in every meet this fall, has an indoor best of 12:10.37.

Mariah Graves and Batres Maku will compete in the 60 meters and the 300 meters, respectively. Graves had an 8.49 PR in the 60 meters last season while Maku makes her debut in the 300 Saturday afternoon.

In the throwing events, freshmen Bailey Hamilton, Natalie Lepri and Jamie Ryan will get their first taste of intercollegiate competition in the weight and shot put throws.

Delia Mack completes the women's competitors with her participation in the shot put, long jump and 800 meters. All three competitions serve as a base for Mack in her preparation for the indoor pentathlon next semester.

On the men's side, Chris Smith in the jumps and Elijah Morton in the 60-meter dash are looking to make statements after recording strong freshman year campaigns.

Smith had indoor bests of 6.49 meters in the long jump and 13.57 meters in the triple jump last season with the former mark set on the Cregger Center track at the 2016 ODAC Indoor Championships.

Morton's 7.07 personal best in the 60 meters came in the Ithaca College Bomber Invitational the first weekend of February.

Throwers James Knave, Kenneth McCauley and Jacob Morris will match their female counterparts and compete in both the weight and shot put throws.

"This is a great meet for us to get started with," Marrocco said. "The student-athletes that did not compete in cross country this fall have been working hard in their non-traditional workouts and it is great that they will have one competition this fall.

"We want to have a strong showing to build some momentum for the spring semester."