Stafford Leader Winter Sports Previews

Southern Regional Girls Indoor Track Team Aiming for Big Things This Winter

Dec 08, 2017

For some indoor track and field teams, the winter season is used as a tuneup for the more competitive and prominent spring season. But for others, the indoor season is a time not only to tune up, but to dominate and bring home some hardware.

The Southern Regional girls squad is one that uses the indoor season for the latter, as the Rams often utilize their depth in several events to score big points at meets while fine-tuning athletes in others so they are better prepared for the outdoor season in a few months. It’s a strategy used well by coach Jason Church, too. Last season, the Rams were consistent winners at most of the major indoor events.

“We have a huge team with a lot of newcomers, but our expectations will not change,” Church said. “ We will expect to contend for county level titles and put our best effort forward if we feel we can contend and defend our Shore and South Jersey titles from a year ago.”

For sure, the Rams have enough depth and talent to do so.  And it all begins with the seniors, particularly multi-event star Morgan Koeppen, distance standout Taylor Mulch and Erin Rowland, who last season developed into a prominent hurdler.

Koeppen last season won the Ocean County and NJSIAA South Jersey Group IV pole vault titles, while adding a second-place finish in the SJ4 55-meter hurdles and a fifth-place spot in the county’s 400-meter dash final. Mulch was the top 1,600-meter runner in the county and seventh-best in a loaded SJ4 field, and also took second in the county’s 800-meter run and fifth in the sectional meet. Rowland was fourth in the county and eighth in South Jersey in the 55 hurdles. This season, senior Jenna Kulinski expects to be one of the team’s top throwers following a fantastic spring season.

The Rams’ depth really starts to show in the younger classes. Junior Gianna Citarella will be the team’s prime 3,200-meter runner after taking second in the county a year ago, while classmate Caitlin Hambor figures to be one of the better 400-meter sprinters after taking ninth in the county last winter. Junior Devin Scully, who also had a solid spring season as one of the team’s throwers and took sixth in the county’s shot put final last winter, also is back in action. Juniors Katelyn Brischler (distance), Gabby Conforti (pole vault) and Kari Klimek (throws) may be solid contributors as well.

With the sophomore class, Karagan Bulger broke onto the scene last winter and had a phenomenal indoor season, and the sprinter/middle-distance runner should figure into the points scheme again. She was 14th in the county in the 800 and 21st in the 400. Distance runner Emily Furlong also will add points in the 3,200, after taking 10th in the event during last year’s county meet. Sophomores Lauren Bakker (throws), Jaelyn D’Amelio (distance), Sara Fagan (distance) and Alexa Mulch (distance) may help add points as well.

Church also will be looking at some freshmen to make immediate impacts, including Gianna Crawford (high jump, hurdles), Ali English (jumps), Bella Hanvey (sprints), Brokelle Kline (sprints) and Maria Mezzo (sprints, jumps, hurdles), who is coming off an outstanding gymnastics season.

As for the boys, Scott Baker’s squad generally uses the indoor season as a tuneup for spring and to grab a few individual-event titles along the way, mainly because the Rams typically don’t run deep in the winter because many of the guys who compete in the spring play other sports for the winter season.

Still, the Rams will have some prominent athletes in multiple events. Junior David Springstead likely will rack up points in the 55 hurdles, high jump and pole vault. He was fifth in the county and ninth in SJ4 in the pole vault, sixth in the county and ninth in the section in the high jump, and 15th in the county hurdles event last year.

Seniors Evan Adanatzian, sixth in the sectional 3,200 last year, and Connor McBride, 11th in the county and 12th in SJ4 in the same event, will be the point-scorers in the distance events, while senior Joe Miele may be a factor in the shot put after taking fifth in both the county and sectional meets last year.

Baker expects newcomers Hank Gallacher (sprints), Ben Hanneman (distance), John Barberie (distance) and Jackson Braddock (distance) to be immediate contributors as well.

David Biggy

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