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Track and Field 2012-13 Season Preview

Senior Vanessa Jules did great things for the Herd last season

Dec. 6, 2012

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- The Marshall University track and field team will enter the 2012-13 season with high expectations after setting 10 school records and improving upon both of its Conference USA Championship finishes last spring.

Returning three NCAA qualifiers, the team’s lone C-USA Champion, and eight school record holders, the Thundering Herd ladies appear poised to once again reach new heights in what will be head coach Jeff Small’s 17th season with the team.

The Herd’s all-conference trio of Vanessa Jules, Amanda Kennedy, and Jasia Richardson will return to lead the team, but won’t be alone this year after Leslie Thomas and Crystal Walker proved their worth to the squad last spring by scoring in conference events. The team’s record setting and point earning 4x100, 4x200, and 4x400m relay teams also remain largely intact heading into the season, and 2011 Conference USA Heptathlon Champion, Elaine Derricott will start the year recovered from the injuries that forced her to redshirt for the entire 2011-12 indoor season.

Factor in the emergence of distance runner Celia Leonard, who led the ladies in cross country this past fall, and the arrival of exciting newcomers like sprinters Shyra Molton and Shanice Johnson, and the Herd ladies appear further set to expand Marshall’s growing track and field reputation.

“The girls’ goal this season is to let all of the hard work they’ve put in show up at the meets,” said assistant coach Willie Johnson. “They want to continue to elevate this program to new heights.”

With all of the athletes falling into place, a new-look coaching staff that mixes the veteran experience of Small with the youthful wisdom of Willie and his wife Lacee, and the recent announcement of a major donation to the forthcoming Marshall track and field complex, it becomes clear why 2013 is shaping up to be yet another exciting season for the Thundering Herd track and field program.