Donald Pollitt is back on the track for the Syracuse University men's indoor track team.
Pollitt (Hazleton Area) captured the 60 meter hurdles at the Cornell Upstate Challenge with a time of 7.97. He was third in the prelims (7.88) but had to settle for eighth place with a 8.19 time in last weekend's talent-laden National Open at Penn State.
Donald red-shirted last year so I'm really happy he's back, head coach Chris Fox said. He's certainly one of the top three hurdlers, we think, in the Big East Conference. He should score really well. He's a really hard worker and we expect big things from him.
Assistant coach Dave Hegland, who works with the hurdlers, is also happy to have Pollitt back competing.
Donald had a great freshman year before being red-shirted, Hegland said. He ran a couple of meets unattached and showed some really good things. Being below eight seconds in the 60 hurdles puts you in an elite group.
The coach feels that Pollitt has the talent and that he's a real hard worker.
He wants to improve, Hegland said. He's always asking to watch film and do the little things. He has started to pay a lot of attention to his diet and his sleep and all those things that ultimately separate the really great runners from the pretty good ones at the college level. We think the world of him. He's a really great kid. You wish you could have 100 like him.
The Orange return to action in the New Balance Collegiate Saturday at the Armory in New York City.
MINICHINI CHIPS IN – Sophomore Samantha Minichini (Holy Redeemer) is competing on parallel bars for the strong Southern Connecticut women's gymnastics team which is 5-0 after defeating Rhode Island College 185.50-167.35 last Saturday in Providence, R.I.
Minichini's best effort thus far is a 9.300 recorded in a meet against Ithaca and Yale. It was third best on the Owls and seventh overall.
Sam has made a tremendous effort to maximize her successes this season, coach Jerry Nelson said. She trained hard during the offseason and continues to prepare herself physically and mentally for a successful season. She is a team player with national aspirations and the work ethic to get there.
The coach also lauded her work outside the gym.
Sam proved herself in the class room last semester as a Scholar-Athlete and in the community with several hours of community service, Nelson said. We are very proud of her commitment to this team and the university.
RYAN RUNNING FOR WILDCATS – Senior Michael Ryan (Lake-Lehman) is an outstanding cross country runner for the University of New Hampshire. He also competes in indoor and outdoor track for the Huskies. This winter, he's running the 3,000 and is already closing in on his career best (8:52.3).
Mike has been slowed by an injury but is healthy now and will be focusing on the 5k and 10k in the spring, coach Jim Boulanger said, indicating that Ryan's best time in the 5k is 15:31 and that his best 10k time is 32:20. Our goal is to improve on these performances in May at the conference (America East) championships.
Ryan has earned America East honors in three of his four cross-country seasons.
Mike is a very good student as well majoring in social studies, Boulanger said.
The Huskies will compete in the URI Invitational at Rhode Island in Kingston, R.I. Saturday.
BIG MEET FOR ROGERS – Senior Lauren Rogers (Holy Redeemer) had a big effort for the Washington women's gymnastics team recently.
Rogers captured the All-Around title to help the Huskies kick off their home season to total 194.800 and defeat No. 17 California (194.125), UC Davis (193.625) and Illinois-Chicago (191.350).
Rogers totaled 39.025 to lead the way. She also took first in the vault (9.850) and finished tied for third on bars (9.800).
It felt really good to win the all-around because I haven't been in the floor lineup lately with an injury, Rogers said. It just felt really good to get back out there because floor is my favorite event.
Rogers had a career-high total of 39.175 in the all-around last Saturday when the GymDawgs competed in the Metroplex Challenge in Fort Forth, Texas facing four nationally-ranked squads. She posted 9.850 in both the floor and vault, 9.800 on bars and 9.675 on beam.
PIPER HELPING GIANTS – Sophomore Raisha Piper (Hanover Area) is scoring points for the Keystone women's indoor track team. At the recent Orange and Maroon Classic at Susquehanna, she finished fourth in the 200 meter dash (27.65) and helped the 800 relay finish fifth (1:53.54). Earlier this season, she broke the school record in the 400 meter dash (1:04.17).
This is Raisha's first year running indoor track (instead of basketball) so we are hoping for her to make a huge impact in the conference in both the 200 and 400 as well as play a big part in our relay teams, coach Michael Badway said. Her biggest improvement is with her starts and as the season goes on, the strong start that she has developed will help bring her times further down.
Senior Rebecca Drumheller (Hazleton Area) is also a point scorer for the Giants in the 400 and 800 and in the distance medley relay.
Rebecca plays a huge part on our DMR which is ranked fifth in the region, Badway said. And she'll be a key member of our 1,600 relay in the spring. Coming off a strong cross country season here endurance has greatly improved. She set a personal record in the 800 at our opening meet.
Sophomore Jackie Nat (Coughlin) and freshman Mariah Stevens (Tunkhannock) are also on the squad. Nat is competing in the long and triple jumps while Stevens is competing in the shot putt and weight throw.
Jackie has already broken her personal record in the long jump twice this year and as her technique continues to improve she will consistently achieve better marks, Badway said. Mariah is using the indoor season to prepare for outdoor track where she should make an immediate impact in the conference in both the discus and hammer throw.
SHINER'S LEARNING – Freshman Samantha Shiner (Wyoming Area) played field hockey for Stevens Tech in the fall and then came out for the women's indoor track team this winter. She's a sprinter and ran the 400 leg on the distance medley relay at the Gotham Cup in New York City. Last weekend, she competed, but didn't score, in the 60 and 200 as well as with the 1,600 relay at the Empire 8 Conference Championships, which saw the Ducks finish second.
I've been especially happy with Samantha's willingness to step up for the team in whatever situation we need her for, coach Justin Wood said. It's difficult to adjust to the intensity of training and racing at the college level but Samantha has been doing a good job of keeping that in perspective and continuing to learn and grow as an athlete.
Shiner played in 19 games and started 10 with the 16-7 field hockey team in the fall.
EYER'S IMPROVING – Junior Zach Eyer (Berwick) continues to get better running with the Bloomsburg men's indoor track team.
Eyer has been competing in the 800 and also in the 800 lap of the Huskies distance medley relay. He helped the DMR finish second (11:02.59) at last weekend's Class of '32 Invitational at Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y. He also competed in the 800 and with the 4x800 team the previous week at the Gulden Invitational at Bucknell in Lewisburg.
Zach has made steady improvements during his time at Bloomsburg, coach Bernie Empie said. Each season he has trimmed off his 800 personal best time and he is being counted on heavily to lead the middle distance group to success during the season.
Eyer competed in cross country this past fall and the coach feels that will help him this winter and spring.
I think he'll benefit from the additional volume and increased work capacity, Empie said.
The Huskies will compete in the Division II Challenge this Friday and Saturday in Geneva, OH.