The Wolfpacker

March 2012

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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includes fellow juniors Danielle Adams and Jazueline Daniels. Both have come close to equaling their previous career bests, Adams in the high jump and Daniels in the triple. Together with Shepherd, they are one of the strengths of the NC State's women's program. "I think all my teammates in the jumps have a chance to get to regionals," Shep- herd said. "This is by far the best group I've been a part of since I've been at NC State. We have a lot of talent and we have a great coach in Chris Coleman. "For me personally, the possibilities are endless. I'd like to go out and qualify for ACC indoors this weekend and go from there. I feel like I'm peaking right now. I feel like I can take on the whole world." The Wolfpack's traditional strength in track and field, men's and women's, is the distance and middle-distance races, and those events should be a source of points again in 2012. Both of the team's All- Americans from 2011, sophomore Keny- etta Iyevbele and senior Andie Cozzarelli, run cross country and are two of the better stories on the team. Iyevbele, who earned All-America no- tice in the 800 meters last spring, didn't even make the ACC finals in that event. Af- ter the NCAA Championships, she capped the year by winning the 800 meters at the Junior Pan-Am Games. Cozzarelli, a lo- cal product from nearby Apex, suffered through two inconsistent seasons before having a gluten issue in her diet corrected. She responded in a big way last spring and came on quickly at the end of the outdoor season, finishing second in the 10,000 me- ters at the ACC Championships and 13th at the NCAA Championships to capture etta Iyevbele — For someone who didn't even make the ACC finals, Iyevbele had a big finish in 2011, earning All-America honors in the 800 meters and then winning the same event at the Junior Pan- Am Championships. She's already run a personal record in the 800 indoors this winter, and as a true sophomore, the sky would appear to be the limit. Junior jumper Karimah Shepherd — A top- Sophomore middle distance runner Keny- Three To Watch level recruit, Shepherd began to come into her own a year ago when she qualified for regionals in the long jump. She's already bettered her previous personal best in both the triple and long jump. The national stage awaits. Fifth-year senior throwers Brittany Hamp- Fifth-year seniors Brittany Hampton (above) and Lawanda Henry anchor a strong group of Wolf- pack throwers. PHOTO COURTESY NC STATE MEDIA RELATIONS All-America honors. The race at nationals came just 13 months after her first-ever 10K race. "That's two great stories," Geiger said. "Kenyetta doesn't even make the confer- ence finals, and makes All-America and wins the Junior Pan-Am. And Andie goes from Apex soccer player to All-American after only a year at her event. That's really good stuff." Iyevbele and Cozzarelli run events at the opposite end of the distance scale, 800 meters and 10,000 meters. The Wolfpack should be strong at all points in between. Tiayonna Blackmon, a true senior, was an NCAA qualifier at 800 meters last spring and has run the 800 meters, the 1,000 meters and the mile during the in- door season this year. Redshirt freshman Laura Hoer was a ton and Lawanda Henry — Head coach Rollie Geiger affectionately calls Hampton and Henry his "two H's" and has trouble separating the two fifth-year throwers. Hampton is just coming back from having her first child and should be ready to compete by the outdoor season. Henry earned All-ACC accolades in the hammer throw last year. sensation out of the gate as a true fresh- man in cross country in 2010, winning four races and earning All-America honors. Hoer sat out last season in track with medi- cal issues. She began her recovery in the fall during cross country and has steadily improved. She has run the mile and the 3,000 meters this winter. Her ceiling is still virtually limitless. She is a potential national finalist. Redshirt sophomore Erin Mercer was a regional qualifier in the steeplechase last spring and is running the mile, the 1,000 meters and the 3,000 meters this winter. Freshman Joanna Thompson finished third among all freshmen at the NCAA Cross Country Championships and is capable of making waves nationally in the 5,000 meters and the 10,000 meters. Samantha Norman, another redshirt sophomore, is a transfer from Kentucky who should be ca- pable of scoring points in the longer runs, especially the 10,000 meters. One area where the Wolfpack has strug- gled is the sprints. As Geiger points out, the women don't have the luxury of borrowing speedsters from the football team, making that area one Geiger said needs to be ad- dressed through recruiting. Junior Paige Eley has carried the standard for the Wolfpack in the sprints, running the 100 meters and the 200 meters outdoors, and everything from the 60-meter dash to the 200 indoors — setting personal records in the 60 and just missing in the 200. The front-line talent is there for the Wolfpack, but can this team take enough athletes to the national meet and score enough points for a top-25 finish? That's the program's goal. "I expect improvement from these ath- letes," Geiger said. "We've got to get some conference titles, make all-conference, at least make the second tier at regionals and get to nationals. "Ultimately, we have to get athletes at nationals who will score. You have to get a core group of kids who can do that. There's enough talent here that this should be a goal of the program. All the assistant coaches know that. It's on all of us. The conference is one level, but our goal is to get to the national championships and not only be a competitor, but score." ■ MARCH 2012 ■ 79

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