As the men’s and women’s track teams prepare for what could be a very exciting season, the rest of the NESCAC will most likely be discounting the Cardinals. Though recent history has shown the squads to produce a number of outstanding performances, depth has been an issue. The likes of Amherst and Williams consistently boast much larger rosters, which gives them a de facto edge when it comes to outscoring Wes at meets. Yet listening to track stars Jack Pacelle ’13 and Michael Onah ’13 makes it clear that numbers are not the only source of strength.
This year’s Cardinals have a determination that could propel the team to great heights. One major reason for this mentality shift is the addition of Michael Simeone Jr. as an assistant coach. A Middletown resident, Simeone was at one point ranked third in the nation over 200m indoors. He brings to Wesleyan’s coaching staff a philosophy of perfect practice as a stepping stone to peak performance.
“Simeone has really come to the program and immediately changed the way we train and the way that we even think about running,” Onah said. “He is really all about practicing perfect running form and building the body in order to generate the strength to run a fast race.”
Another boon for the team is the continued presence of head coach Walter Curry. Heading into his 13th year in charge of Wesleyan track, Curry also enjoyed an impressive track career.
Whether the coaching duo of Curry and Simeone will be enough to place Wesleyan right alongside the best NESCAC sides remains to be seen. But the optimism is there, even if Wesleyan’s squad is on the smaller side.
Additionally, while they may not be vast in number, the Wesleyan athletes are confident in their skill.
“We definitely have the talent to compete with the likes of Williams and Amherst,” Pacelle said. “Our success is dependent on our ability to all compete to the best of our abilities at the right time.”
If Wesleyan runners are to compete to the best of their abilities in 2012-13, many returning athletes will need to have excellent seasons. On the men’s side, Paulie Lowther ’13, Ernie Wingate ’14, LaDarius Drew ’15, and Pacelle will certainly be ones to watch over short distances, while jumper Shane Bernard ’14 will be looking to emulate some of the success achieved by recent graduate and All-American Tommie Lark ’12. On the women’s side, Geneva Jonathan ’15, Orelia Jonathan ’15, Kimora Brock ’15, and Idara Foster ’15 all have excellent short distance pedigree, while Sierra Livious ’14 is a talented multi-eventer. Over longer distances, Bryan Marsh ’13 and Skyler Cummins ’13 have the potential to go out with a bang in their senior years, while Hannah Zimmerman ’13 and Julia Mark ’13 should star for the women.
“We’re down on quantity but we can roll with the best of them in skill level and speed,” Onah said.
It is this quality that may well allow the Cardinals to challenge the perennial NESCAC contenders.