Season Preview: Men's indoor track aims for third straight Centennial title

HAVERFORD, Pa. - The Haverford College men's indoor track team seeks its third straight Centennial conference crown this winter. A veteran cast brimming with talent looks to carry on the proud tradition of a program that lays claim to 17 of the 19 indoor titles awarded in the history of the Centennial.

Distance

Key Returnees:

Junior Christopher Stadler, senior Peter Kissin and sophomore Brian Sokas headline an accomplished group of returning distance runners.  Stadler enters the winter season after a remarkable fall that saw him earn conference cross country runner of the year honors, second at the Mideast Region and All-American status with a 12th-place finish on the national stage.  Also an All-American in cross country with a 28th-place finish this fall, Kissin joined Sokas, a 2011 cross country All-American, as NCAA qualifiers during the 2012 outdoor season.

Others to Watch:

Bregman, Christian and Roza – each a member  of the All-Mideast region squad -- were integral members of the Fords' cross country team that ran to a second-place finish at the NCAA Division III national championship.

Middle Distance

Key Returnees:

Schilit, the 2012 United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Mideast Track Athlete of the Year, looks for another stellar winter on the track. Schilit is the fastest returning conference runner in the 800 meter run and 1,500m (as well as the 5,000m and 10,000m). An indoor and outdoor All-American in the 5,000m during his junior campaign, Schilit established new conference records in the 5,000m during the regular season (14 minutes, 12.77 seconds) and championship meet (14:34.74). Milic-Strkalj, a three-time All-American (mile, distance medley relay, and 1,500), aims for a memorable winter while Keny looks to once again challenge for conference crown in the 800 after finishing in the runner-up spot during last year's indoor season. Providing depth and experience, Riccio has anchored many winning relays at the indoor conference championship over the course of his career.

Others to watch:

Colletta and Krause were members of last year's conference-champion distance medley relay team while Rasmussen provided points in the mile. McNeilly looks to build off a solid junior campaign that included several strong performances as a member of the 4x800 relay team.

Sprinters

Key returnees:

Callon capped off a solid freshman year by scoring in both the 200 and 400 at the 2012 outdoor conference meet. Torain, captain of the squad, is expected to be a key man on a few relays.

Field Events

Key Returnees:

Bennett captured the conference long jump championship in 2011 and Iannacone is one of the top returning pole vaulters in the Centennial as he finished in the runner-up spot last winter.

Freshman class

Head coach Tom Donnelly, in his 38th year, expects a lot of contributions in many areas from a strong freshman class. Jeff Ainsley looks to make his mark in hurdles, sprints and jumps while Jonathan Yellets aims to make an impact in the sprints and 400. Charlie Marquardt, Sam Fujimori, Nick Gandolfo-Lucia, Dylan Verner-Crist and Ryan Gooding will provide help in the mid-distance and distance events.

Overall

Haverford will once again look to the mid-distance and distance events to produce significant points at the conference meet. Additionally, Donnelly feels the relays will be very good and that the Fords will be stronger in the sprints, 400 and hurdles than they have been at any time in the past eight to 10 years.

The line-up for field events include a new group at throws which Donnelly believes will develop over the course of the season. Jumps will lack depth but the team will have at least two quality performers in every event.

Schedule

Haverford will host four meets at the Gary Lutnick Tennis & Track Center at Alumni Field House beginning with the Haverford Holiday Meet on Dec. 15. The New York University Invitational, Boston University (BU) Terrier Classic, Lafayette/Rider Invitational and BU Valentine Meet should provide opportunities for development and growth as the Fords keep an eye towards the Centennial championship at Ursinus College on Feb. 23.

Outlook

The quest for the Centennial crown will be highly contested as usual with a number of teams carrying championship aspirations. A three-peat seems within reach when one pieces together all of the components of Haverford's talented squad, but the Fords know they will have to be at their best to claim the program's 18th title.