Track & field heads to post-season

The 2019 campaign of the men’s and women’s track and field teams is focused on defending their Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) title and sending the most individual athletes to the NCAA championships, according to head coach David Berdan.

Sophomore Dereck Davis (center, sprints) is one of the Mustangs’ returners with great promise. (Photo by Brett Adams)

This will be Berdan’s fifth year coaching at Stevenson. He been the head coach of the cross country team for five years, and it’s his first year as the track and field head coach. He wants his team to continue its success, especially as the men won the title last year. The coach believes that if they stay determined and focused, they will be successful. Both teams will rely on several athletes this season in order to be successful.

The men’s team has all their returners back from last year, including sophomores Dereck Davis and Ritchie Case, juniors Patrick Watson and Iddriss Iddriss and senior Kendall Belser.

“We’re going to rely on our returners to lead us further into the season in order to stay successful,” said Berdan.

The women’s team will rely on sophomore Rachel Panek, juniors Danika Ani and Kimberly Hammond and seniors Jess Rega, Allison Bishop and Lauren Dioses. “These girls are very special to this team and will drive us to be successful,” said Berdan.

Junior Kimberly Hammond participates in both sprints and jumps as a member of the SU track and field team. (Photo by Brett Adams)

The women’s team has had a successful season so far this year. The lowest they have finished all season has been eighth. Panek said, “The season is going well; we have a lot of people who are continuously improving and achieving new personal records.”

The men’s team was successful during the final weekend in April at the Penn Relays, held at at Franklin Field. In the distance medley relay (DMR), Langston Gash, Case, Iddriss and Watson did very well. The Mustangs finished 13th out of 19 Division I, II and III teams and had the best time among non-Division I squads.

Watson ended up getting named the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) Player of the Week with his performance at the Penn Relays. “He is a consistent runner who pushes all of us to do better,” said Panek. The lowest the men have finished all season was tied for 15th.

Berdan was happy with how the team competed in the Penn Relays. He said, “Penn Relays is an event more for the experience. We always compete hard, but it’s also just a really exciting atmosphere.” He wants the teams to challenge themselves in order to be successful in the MAC championships.

Both teams will be back in action on May 2 at Widener University for the MAC outdoor championship. According to gomustangsports.com, “The Mustangs, who are ranked third in this week’s USTFCCCA Mideast Region rankings, have been picked to repeat as [men’s] outdoor champions in the latest pre-championship coaches poll.”

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