Wheeling, W. Va. – Even though the pandemic wreaked havoc on the sports world last season, Wheeling University’s men’s and women’s track teams stayed the course and ranked among the top programs at the Mountain East conference. The men’s team finished second overall at the MEC Championships, and the women won the MEC title for the third consecutive season and one person qualified for the NCAA Division II national competition.
On the women’s side, the Cardinals have six reigning MEC champions in their respective events, with four of those six girls returning. At the head of the group, is senior Caroline fodor, winner of the 800 meters last season. Fodor has competed in the cross country season before and is looking to continue his success in the indoor track season. Fodor finished with a time of 2: 20.93 in the 800 meters at last year’s outdoor championships, and hopes to build on that as the team heads into the 2021-22 season.
The Cardinals’ other best returning player is in his sophomore year Isha sesay, who was the 2021 100-meter hurdles outside champion. Sesay set a new personal best at the event, with 14.89 seconds to win the championship. It was a solid performance for the first year, and one she can build on as she enters her first full season of college competition. Second year Breya clopper also found her place in the top five of the event, clocking 15.09 seconds for a fourth place finish. The young duo give Wheeling a solid core in case they can take advantage of it.
However, one of the big losses for Wheeling is the departure of the reigning female athlete of the year. Liz fleming. Fleming qualified for the NCAA Division II Nationals last season and was 13th in the shot put. However, taking his place will be a second year princess love. Love had a strong performance at the MEC Championships, finishing first in the shot put with a distance of 12.88 meters. Love is looking to lead this year’s pitching group in field events.
On the men’s side, they had an MEC champion last season, with the 4×100-meter team setting a new MEC tournament record with a time of 41.44 seconds. The team consisted of Julian Griffith, Jabez Reeves, Brian Vandusen, and Cameron Ferguson, and of those four riders, three are expected to return this season. This gives Wheeling a strong core of sprinters who can help pace the track for the Cardinals.
One thing the guys’ team showed a lot last season is resilience, as they had to fight to reach second in last year’s championship. The team started the final day of competition in fifth place and managed to rally three places to claim the victory. It was the track athletes who led the team to victory with several top-five finishes on that final day as Wheeling prepared for success heading into the indoor season.
The MEC Co-Head Coach of the Year is also back at the head of the squad.
Patrick stanton. Stanton leads a group that has a healthy mix of freshman talent and veteran comebacks. With both teams scoring so high last year, both are expected to be in the thick of it again, once again being one of the Mountain East Conference’s top programs in 2021-2022.
Wheeling University’s men’s and women’s track and field teams open their 2021-2022 indoor season on Friday by visiting the YSU Ice Breaker on the Youngstown State campus.