HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover women's track & field team is set to open the 2019 season this Friday, Jan. 11, at the Rose-Hulman Friday Night Spikes. To celebrate, we open our annual preview series with a look at the returning runners.
Competition at Rose-Hulman is set to begin at 6 p.m. this Friday, inside the RHIT Fieldhouse. For the complete meet schedule, visit the link above.
The Panthers are coming off a 2018 campaign that saw them place third at both the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference indoor and outdoor championships. Hanover will be searching for its fourth HCAC indoor title this winter and first since 2017.
Below is the outlook for some of the top returning sprint and distance runners for Hanover.
A trio of all-conference performers return to headline the group of HC sprinters. Leading the way will be junior Kenna Hunter (Mooresville, Ind.), who was a first team all-HCAC indoor pick in 2017 before adding an honorable mention selection last winter. The junior scored in six total events at last season's indoor conference championship, including the 400m dash. Hunter has personal best times of 27.68 seconds and 1:01.82 in the 200 and 400m races, which rank ninth and third in program history. She is also on three of the top five 800m relay teams and two of the top four 1600m relay teams in school history.
Senior Teal Burnett (Marshall, Ill.) and junior Simone Henderson (Liberty Township, Ohio) will look to bounce back in 2019 after dealing with injury-riddled campaigns last season. A three-time indoor all-conference selection, Burnett scored in both the 200 and 400m dashes at last year's HCAC meet. The senior's best times though came in 2017, where she clocked in at 27.40 and 1:02.03, respectively, which put her among the fastest runners in school history. During her indoor career, Burnett has six total relay and individual wins, as well as 13 top five individual finishes.
Henderson competed just once during the indoor slate in 2018, logging a time of 8.31 seconds in the 60m dash. The junior placed fourth in the 60m and 200m at the 2017 conference championship, logging personal best times of 8.20 and 27.39 seconds, respectively. Both marks rank among the top five in school history.
"Teal and Simone will look to rebound from injuries that limited their 2018 season," stated head coach Brian Power. "Both have potential to compete for conference titles."
Several newcomers will also have the potential to compete in the sprinting events, including freshman Alexis Harsh (North Vernon, Ind.), who is coming off a strong high school career at Jennings County.
On the distance side, Hanover will look to build off a solid cross country campaign this past fall, which was led by freshman Arig Tong (Columbus, Ind.). Tong, who was named HCAC Freshman of the Year during the cross country season, also became the first freshman in program history to qualify for the NCAA Division III National Championships.
"Early in her cross country career, Arig has proven herself as a national level athlete," added coach Power. "We are eager to see her success translate to the track."
Tong led the Panthers in each race this past fall, including a second-place mark at the HCAC Championships. The freshman was also 13th at the NCAA Great Lakes Regionals with a personal best six-kilometer time of 22:12.8, which qualified her for nationals. Her best five-kilometer time this past fall was 18:28.4, which ranks third in school history.
Also earning honorable mention all-conference accolades during the cross country season were junior Ariel Barlow (Francesville, Ind.) and senior Amanda Stump (Garrett, Ind.). Barlow debuted her indoor career last winter, competing mainly in the 3000m run, where she logged a best time of 11:24.33 at the HCAC Championships for an eighth place finish. Stump, a 2017 indoor honorable mention choice, has been a mainstay in the 3000 and 5000m runs. The senior's best times came last season, where she clocked in at 12:23.96 and 20:58.31, respectively.
Joining the distance group is senior Morgan Hamilton (Connersville, Ind.), who last competed during the indoor campaign in 2017. Hamilton was an honorable mention all-conference pick that year, as her individual performances were highlighted by a seventh place finish in the mile run, with a time of 5:50.27.
Contact: Tyler Jester