2017 UC Santa Cruz Women's Track and Field Season Outlook

Nancy Alvarado-Zevaleta
Nancy Alvarado-Zevaleta

The Banana Slugs are going to have a blend of experienced leadership and youthful enthusiasm on its roster for the 2017 Track & Field season.  With a strong group of returners in the distance events, the UC Santa Cruz women are going to rely on an incredible freshman recruiting class in the sprints and field events this season.  The UC Santa Cruz Women are going to use their expanded roster to become one of the most impressive Division III Programs on the West Coast.  Just as with the men, the women of UC Santa Cruz are led by an outstanding freshman recruiting class that will allow the Banana Slugs to compete in all 20 NCAA Sponsored Track & Field Events this season, with the goal of sending participants to the NCAA Division III Championships in just its second year of existence.

 

Sprints/Hurdles/Relays

The future is certainly bright for the UC Santa Cruz Women in the sprints and hurdle events after signing freshmen Emma McWaid, Antonia Fuller, and Siena Benevides.  Long Beach Poly HS's McWaid and Santa Monica HS's Fuller will provide a strong core for the Banana Slug sprint program in the 100-meter, 200-meter, and 400-meter events.  They will provide a solid foundation to the 4x100-meter and 4x400-meter relay events.

Benevides from Arvin HS in Arvin, California will be a key addition to the sprint and hurdle group.  An already accomplished sprinter, Benevides looks to make dramatic gains in the sprint hurdle event to become one of the premier hurdlers on the west coast.  She will be joined by sophomore sensation Natalie Marquardt who will be making her 400h debut this season.  Marquardt had an outstanding freshman campaign in the 400-meter and 800-meter but will look to add the hurdles to her event schedule this season.


Middle Distance/Distance

There is no doubt that the foundation of the UC Santa Cruz Track & Field program has been built on its success in the middle distance and distance events throughout it's history and that will continue this season under the guidance of third year head coach Jamey Harris.  The Banana Slug women will be led by the incredible sophomore duo of Sydney Gutierrez and Shannon McClish.  Gutierrez of Lowell HS in San Francisco, California had an outstanding freshman season in the 800-meter and 1500-meter.  After a breakthrough cross country season this fall she looks to be a team leader in the middle distances.  McClish capped off one of the best seasons in UC Santa Cruz cross country history as the sophomore used a top ten NCAA West Regional finish to qualify for the NCAA Championships.  With a jump to fourth on the UC Santa Cruz Cross Country all-time lists McClish looks to make a huge impact in the 5000-meter and 10,000-meter events.  The distance group is going to also heavily rely on veterans Raissa Boysen, Autumn Burton, and Lizzie Meredith as well as welcome newcomers Ashley Anderson and Jordan Rich.

 

Horizontal Jumps/Vertical Jumps/Multis

The UC Santa Cruz Women will bolster a mix of youth and experience in the jump program.  With sophomore returners Nancy Alvarado-Zavaleta in the horizontal jumps and Natalie Marquardt in the pole vault the Banana Slug women look to build on a strong foundation.  Among those looking to help fill the void in the jumping events will be freshman Siena Benevides and sophomore Madison Wright.  Benevides looks to apply her expertise in the long jump and become an immediate contender for an NCAA Championship birth.  Benevides will also look to try her hand at the Heptathlon this season after seeing success in a number of the events already.  Wright will look to build on previous success and become a top high jumper in the West region.

 

Throws

Freshman thrower Jordynn Dorado of Nipomo HS could end up being one of the most versatile athletes in volunteer coach Geoff Foley's throws group.  Already an impressive shot putter and discus thrower Dorado has begun to have immediate success in the hammer.  Dorado will be joined by fellow freshman Jenna Nwafor of Evergreen Valley HS in San Jose, California in the throws events.  Nwafor, a CIF CCS Shot Put finalist in 2016, will look to expand her resume from high school and become a key contributor across the throwing events for the Banana Slugs this season.