HARRISONBURG, Va., March 22, 2013 – The James Madison track & field team is ready for the second half of its spring as the Dukes open the outdoor slate with the Virginia Cup on March 23. The one-day meet is hosted by Virginia at Lannigan Field in Charlottesville, Va.
The Dukes currently have athletes slated to compete in 16 events at the Virginia Cup. The field events begin at 9 a.m. with the hammer throw and run through 3:50 p.m. with the javelin. Track events start at 1:30 p.m. with the 100-meter hurdle trials and end with the 4x400-meter relay at approximately 5 p.m.
JMU will send 27 athletes to compete at Virginia against athletes from several teams, including host-Virginia, Liberty, Radford and VCU. The meet this weekend marks the first competition the Dukes have seen since closing the indoor season March 1-3 at the Eastern College Athletic Conference championships.
It is also the first step on the Dukes’ road to the 2013 Colonial Athletic Association outdoor championships held on May 3 and 4. JMU won the 2012 championship, the first in the program’s history, and the team looks to start off on the right foot this weekend.
“With it being this early in the season and given the cooler weather conditions, we are looking for execution and competitive spirit,” head coach Ta’ Frias explains. “If we are consistent in those areas each week, we are starting on the right foot."
The Dukes will have several opportunities to execute their skills as the outdoor track & field season provides new competition opportunities compared to the indoor season. Some of the outdoor-only events on tap for this weekend include the hammer, discus and javelin on the field side and the 3,000-meter steeplechase and 4x100-meter relay on the track side.
One athlete who will take part in the javelin competition will be senior Jennifer Monk (Bloomington, Ill./Central Catholic). A member of last year’s championship squad, Monk finished second in the heptathlon at the 2012 CAA championship meet with 4,436 points to help lead the Dukes to victory.
Also leading Madison this weekend will be senior Marissa McDonald (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin East), the reigning CAA long jump champion. At the championship meet, she launched herself 6.03 meters to win the event and tally 10 team points for JMU. This weekend, however, McDonald will stick to the track and run in several sprints.
Several JMU freshmen will make their outdoor track & field collegiate debuts on Saturday, including freshman Adrienne Alexander (Queens, N.Y./Bishop Loughlin). In her first indoor season with the purple and gold, Alexander heaved the shot put 13.66 meters, the second-best toss in school history.