BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- Moravian College continues its look back at the 2013-14 athletic campaign with Top 10 Stories from the past year including the No. 3 story – the women's cross country and both women's track & field teams winning Landmark Conference Championships, completing their second "triple crown" of titles in the last three years.
Since the Landmark Conference began competition in 2007-08, the Greyhound women have won two cross country championships, all seven indoor track & field titles and all seven outdoor track & field championships including the sweep of all three titles in 2013-14 for the second time after accomplishing the "triple crown" in 2011-12. Moravian's men's program has also won all three titles in the same academic year twice in 2011-12 and 2012-13.
"In order to be able to win a triple crown you need good depth, a lot of good luck in particular with respect to health, and a lot of versatility," explained third-year Director of Cross Country and Track & Field Jesse Baumann. "We knew going into last year that we were a well-rounded team so the depth would likely be there across virtually all events. Aside from a pulled hamstring to one of our sprinters, for all intents and purposes we stayed healthy. Finally, we have a lot of athletes who can excel in a number of events such as Emily Lambright, Jenny Kratch, Lauren Suelke, Christelle Reglas, Morgan Redmond, Claire Del Casale and Brielle Sutter just to name a few who can cover myriad events to help you gain points. It's invaluable when you're trying to shift people around into events where you see opportunities to optimize points, even if the events don't happen to be their forte. For all these reasons we were able to have a very successful season."
The Greyhounds earned their first championship of the year at the 2013 Landmark Cross Country Championships hosted by The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. on November 2. Moravian won its second title in three years by scoring 47 points, edging runner-up The University of Scranton by 16 points thanks to the balance of the Hounds' squad. Baumann was named the Landmark Coach of the Year as well.
Moravian had five of the top 15 runners in the race with the junior Del Casale finishing as the runner-up in the race of 61 competitors, earning Landmark All-Conference First Team honors for the second time in her career.
"Each course is different in cross country and the challenge is that you can only prepare so much physically and mentally before you have to overcome those challenges," stated Del Casale. "Some courses are difficult because they are hilly and other courses are difficult because there is a good portion of the race where it is just you and the competition. Whatever the challenge is, that's when you have to work the hardest in order to not get behind."
Lambright, another junior on the Greyhounds' squad also earned All-Conference First Team honors for the Hounds with her seventh place finish.
"I think the cross country championship is the toughest to win," stated Lambright. "In track, there are so many different events and our team is strong in everything from sprints to hurdles to field events to distance, so if someone is having an off day, we can usually make up the points elsewhere. The cross country team is much smaller, and everything depends on that one race, which makes for a very competitive day."
Junior Devon Bedell ran to her first All-Conference honor in 2013, placing 11th to make the Second Team, as the top seven runners earn First Team honors and the harriers in spots eight to 14 make the Second Team. Freshman Meg Brockett was just one spot behind Bedell to earn a spot on the Second Team as well. Freshman Sarah Hughes was 15th to round out the scorers for the Hounds.
On March 1, Moravian headed to Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove for the seventh consecutive year as host of the Landmark Conference Indoor Championships. The Greyhounds recorded a team score of 190, edging the host Crusaders by 37 points for their seventh straight title. Baumann and his staff of assistant coaches - Jonathan D'Ottavio (throws), Elijah Trusty (jumps), Mike Lawyrk (pole vault), Bob Luciano (javelin), Steve Rahn (sprints/hurdles), Alyssa Wert (sprints/relays), Gary Zack (javelin) and Micah Leonard (jumps) were selected as the Landmark Co-Coaching Staff of the Year.
The freshman Suelke led the Greyhounds as she earned Co-Field Athlete of the Year honors. Suelke, who shared the honor with Mary Clark from The Catholic University of America, was an All-Conference First Team selection by winning the long jump.
Redmond, a junior, earned First Team honors in the 60-meter hurdles, and she joined with Sutter and Brianna Wright, both juniors too, and the sophomore Reglas for a first place finish in the 4x200-meter relay.
Redmond and Sutter also garnered All-Conference Second Team honors with sophomore Corinne Glass and senior Jennifer Smilgis for a runner-up finish in the 4x400-meter relay. Sutter added a second place in the 200-meter dash while Smilgis was second in the 800-meter run.
Wright earned Second Team honors in the 60-meter dash while Reglas was second in the long jump. Lambright had second place finishes in both the mile and 3,000-meter runs while Del Casale was the runner-up in the 5,000-meter run, junior Dana Fineman finished second in the pole vault and Kratch, also a junior, placed second in the 20-pound weight throw to round out the women's Second Team honorees.
Del Casale and Lambright have different takes on what is the most difficult part of the year on trying to win the "triple crown."
"The most difficult part of the year would probably be the beginning of the Outdoor Track and Field season," Del Casale said. "At this point in the year, I have already had two seasons worth of races and about 9 months' worth of training under my belt so my legs are tired. I have learned that this is the time where I have to take my good days with my bad and push through because at the end of the season is when it's time for Landmark Conferences or ECAC's I know that there is no choice but to give it my all."
"Last year, winter was tough because the frigid temperatures and ice/snow forced us to run inside much more than usual--which is not the best training conditions for a distance program," commented Lambright. "Usually though, I'd probably say the toughest part of the year is the end of spring track. It is a busy time with finals and everything else that comes with the end of the school year, and on top of that we are trying to run our fastest times of the year to hit marks for meets like ECACs."
The squad headed to The United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York on May 3 and 4 for the outdoor championship. The Hounds scored 311 points while Susquehanna was the runner-up again with 177.5 points. Baumann and his staff were also honored once again as the Landmark Coaching Staff of the Year.
Suelke and Kratch led Moravian during the two-day meet as they were named the Rookie of the Year and Co-Field Athlete of the Year. Suelke earned Second Team All-Conference accolades with second place finishes in the three jumps, the long jump, triple jump and high jump. Kratch, who shared the honor with Clark from Catholic, was a three-time All-Conference Second Team selection by finishing second in the shot put, discus and hammer throw.
Redmond earned First Team honors in the 100 and 400 meter hurdles, and she joined with Sutter, Wright and Glass for a first place finish in the 4x100 meter relay. Wright was an All-Conference First Team after winning the 100-meter dash in a meet record in 12.19 seconds while Glass captured the 200 meter dash title.
Junior Hailey Kester was named to the First Team after repeating as the champion in the pole vault while Reglas won the long jump. Bedell was first in the 3,000 meter steeplechase while Del Casale was named to the First Team with her victory in the 10,000 meters.
Sutter also earned All-Conference Second Team honors in the 200 and 400 meter dashes. Lambright had a second place finish in the 5,000 meter run while freshman Meghan Newman was the runner-up in the 100 meter hurdles, Fineman finished second in the pole vault and sophomore Tyler Clore placed second in the javelin to round out the women's Second Team honorees.
"It is an honor to be a member of the cross country and track and field teams at Moravian College," explained Lambright. "The success of the program is a result of the hard work of every athlete on the team and the endless encouragement and enthusiasm of the coaches. Running for Moravian has been a huge part of my college experience, and I hope to do everything I can to help perpetuate the tradition of success for Moravian cross country and track.
"I would love to finish out senior year with three more conference championships--another Triple Crown. Our cross country team is also looking for a good regional finish, with our goal being the one of the top five teams in the region," concluded Lambright.
Del Casale has the same outlook on the Greyhounds' program. "I am extremely lucky to be part of such an outstanding tradition and an amazing program. The entire cross country and track and field program works hard year round and it's great to see that hard work all come together in May when we claim that final title of the Triple Crown.
"My goals heading into my senior year are to defend our championship title now that Elizabethtown is entering the conference and make it to NCAA Division III Nationals for Cross Country. Last year, I just missed qualifying by 0.85 seconds and I want to finish out my final year of cross country at the national race," finished Del Casale.
Top 10 Stories of 2013-14
#10 – Women's Basketball Leads DIII in Blocked Shots
#9 – Seven Hounds Earn All-America Honors
#8 – Negron Becomes 3rd Hound to Rush for 1,000 Yards in a Season
#7 – Moravian Captures Matte Award for First Time Since 2002-03
#6 – O'Rourke First Hound to Four Milestones
#5 – Men's Indoor Track & Field Wins 5th Straight Landmark Conference Title
#4 – Kristopher Joint & Katie O'Rourke Named Senior Athletes of the Year
#3 – Hounds Claim Triple Crown of Landmark Championships in Women's Cross Country and Track & Field
#2 – TBA
#1 – TBA