SLU track and field will open seasons at McNeese
The Southeastern Louisiana men’s and women’s track and field teams will kick off their 2014 indoor seasons when they travel today to compete in the McNeese Indoor I at the Ralph Ward Memorial Complex.
Southeastern Louisiana University head coach Sean Brady is looking forward to opening at McNeese.
“It’s a great place to open up,” Brady said in a university release. “It’s a very low-key meet, being that there are only five other schools competing. It’s also close to home.”
The Lions are coming off a strong 2013 season, highlighted by some key performances from both the men’s and women’s teams.
One of those performances came from senior thrower Jeffrey Milliron, who finished his 2013 outdoor season earning All-Southland Conference and All-Louisiana accolades.
Milliron, the reigning 2013 Southland Conference Indoor Male Newcomer of the Year, won the men’s discus event at the Southland Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships with a throw of 163 feet, 1 inch.
“I’m excited about our group of male throwers,” Brady said. “We have three guys in that group that could potentially go 1-2-3 in the indoor weight and shot-put. Jeff, Jonathan Kinchen, and Brett Olsen will be big for us.”
Joining Milliron on the 2013 All-Southland Conference team is junior Derek Hampton (men’s javelin), Central Catholic High School alum Kendall Robinson (men’s high jump), and the relay team of Brandon Daniels, T.J. Herbert, Billy Minnifield and Jerome Rudolph.
“T.J. Herbert has been consistent the past couple of years, and I’m excited to see what his senior year will bring,” Brady said. “And Brandon Daniels is one of those guys who has bought all in. He’s one of those who’s fully invested in what we’re doing.”
Herbert, Daniels and Minnifield earned first place at both the McNeese Springtime Classic and the Southland Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships as a part of the men’s 4x400 team relay. They also were named Southland Conference Co-Athletes of the Week this past February.
One the women’s side, both upperclassmen and freshmen alike recorded strong performances in the 2013 season.
Senior Alicia Noel earned First Team All-Southland Conference Honors as a junior after winning the women’s 400-meter hurdles at the Southland Conference Outdoor Championships. She currently holds the school record, with a time of 59.47 seconds.
Sophomore thrower Misha Frazier made an immediate impact as a freshman, as she was named the Louisiana Sports Writers Association 2013 Female Freshman of the Year. The Kenner native earned All-Southland Conference honors after placing third in the women’s hammer throw and fourth in the javelin at the league championships. She also had a second and two third-place finishes in the javelin.
“On the women’s side, we have role-players for every position,” Brady said. “Alicia is definitely someone to look for this season. And Misha made a big splash last year. She’s got a full year under her belt and there’s no doubt she’s ready.”
The Southeastern track and field teams also will have some new faces this year, including three freshman female pole-vaulters. After losing school record-holder Brittany Pfantz to graduation, Brady is ready to see what the underclassmen will bring to the table.
“I’m excited about our women’s pole vault team,” Brady said. “We will have three freshmen coming in who were high school state champions. They can do big things for us.”
Another Tri-City area member of the Southeastern track and field team is senior Nia Stewart, a Central Catholic alum.
Saturday’s meet is one of the three events the Lions and Lady Lions will attend in Lake Charles this season. But Brady said he believes this meet will be a measuring stick for the entire year.
“This is the one meet where you’ll see just about everyone on our roster compete,” Brady said. “It’ll show how hard you worked over the break. It’s really a meet to show us what you’ve got.”