Jan. 11, 2012
CLEMSON, SC – Clemson women’s track & field was fifth in the preseason indoor ratings released Tuesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. The Tigers are coming off an 11th-place indoor finish from a year ago and a pair of ACC team championships. In fact, Clemson’s women have claimed each of the last four indoor and outdoor ACC crowns.
“Our team is hungry to be one of the best in the country,” said Lawrence Johnson, Clemson’s Director of Track & Field. “We’re searching for gold medals this year. Our ranking is a testament to where the kids are in our program. We look forward to some competition; we have the toughest schedule we’ve had since I’ve been here. The kids are enthusiastic about the season.”
Clemson returns a great deal of talent from its 2010-11 squad. The Tigers produced an NCAA individual champion last winter in Miami native Brianna Rollins, who won the 60 hurdles. She will be supported by a group that includes defending ACC champion Jasmine Edgerson, Pan American Junior bronze medalist Bridgette Owens, and freshman sensation Keni Harrison, who won national championships at the high school level last year.
Stormy Kendrick returns in the sprints as the ACC’s indoor and outdoor track MVP from last season. She won individual titles in the 60 last indoor campaign and advanced to the NCAA Championships in that event, as well as the 200 dash. Dezerea Bryant is expected to contribute quickly in the short sprints. She and Kendrick were teammates together at the IAAF World Junior Championships in the summer of 2010 for Team USA on the gold medal 4×100-meter relay.
“Stormy will be a huge weight carrier for us during indoor season,” Johnson said. “We also look forward to Marlena Wesh coming into her own this year – she showed glimpses of her talent last year.”
Wesh is the top returner in the 400 for the Tigers. She won the ACC’s indoor and outdoor championship in the event, and was a first-team indoor All-American in the event as well.
“Our senior class, led by Alyssa Kulik and Kim Ruck, will carry a load for our underclassmen,” he noted.
Ruck is coming off a track season in which she won All-ACC honors in three events, including an outdoor championship in the 10,000 meters last April. She was an indoor 5K All-American as a sophomore two seasons ago. Kulik looks to put together a solid senior season following a first-team All-America outdoor campaign in the spring of 2011 in the steeplechase.
On top of Clemson’s returning standouts, the Tigers welcome an exciting freshman class led by the additions of Bryant and Harrison.
“I’ve seen great focus out of our young freshmen,” Johnson said. “They have developed exponentially since enrolling. They’ve been provided good leadership from some of the older kids. We look forward to them being key contributors right away for the program.”
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