The Widener men’s indoor track team is shooting for its third straight Middle Atlantic Conference Championship and brothers Gavin and Josh Colley (Tunkhannock) will be key performers for the Pride when it comes to the championship meet.
Gavin, a junior, has been a standout for Widener his first two seasons. He won the 60-meter dash, finished sixth in the 200-meter dash and helped the 800 relay finish second at last year’s MAC meet.
Prior to the recent holiday break, he was named MAC Indoor Track Athlete of the Week after he won the 60 (7.09 seconds) and the 200 (23.00) at the Haverford Holiday Meet.
Josh, a freshman, captured the long jump (6.71 meters) and finished sixth in the 200 (24.62) at Haverford.
“The team is really excited to have the Colley brothers team up to help us in our bid to win another MAC championship,” coach Vince Touey said.
Gavin Colley qualified for NCAAs in the 100-meter dash in outdoor track last spring and just missed All-America honors when he finished ninth. The coach believes that his athlete will work off of that.
“The coaching staff sees a more seasoned athlete now that he has the national championship experience,” Touey said. “The next step for him is to earn All-American status.”
And, it may come during the indoor season where he’s currently ranked 12th in the 200 and 17th in the 60. And he has his brother helping him this season.
“Josh is working hard and pushing Gavin in practice each day,” Touey said. “Josh will concentrate on the sprints and jumps, with a focus on becoming a better sprinter.”
He is currently ranked second in the MAC in the long jump.
Widener is back in action Friday at the NYC Gotham Cup in New York City.
SKAMMER READY FOR ACTION – Junior Sara Skammer and her Rutgers women’s gymnastics team kicks off its season in a home meet against New Hampshire Saturday in New Brunswick, N.J.
Skammer (Dallas and the United Sports Academy) competes in all events, including all-around for the Scarlet Knights. She set a career-best 36.975 in all-around as a freshman. Her other high marks came last season – 9.775 in floor, 9.725 in vault and bars, and 9.075 on beam.
“Sara was an integral part of our lineup throughout last year and she has become an even bigger part this year with a great off-season of hard work,” coach Louis Levine said.
Skammer told her coach that she wanted to come back and step up her game in the gym and as a leader this season.
“Sara came back in the fall improved and has really become one of the leaders in the gym,” Levine said. “She has upgraded her routines on floor and bars and has made great strides toward becoming a top-notch vaulter.”
GILL BACK ON TRACK – Freshman Cassandra Gill (Holy Redeemer) is competing with the Iona women’s indoor track team this winter. She opened the season by finishing eighth in the 800 (2:33) at the Fordham Opener and finished sixth (11:22.29) overall and first in her heat in the 3,000 meter run at the Fairleigh-Dickinson Indoor Classic.
“Cassandra was injured during the cross country season, so the focus has been on getting her ready for the indoor and outdoor season,” coach Ricardo Santos said. “Essentially, she was red-shirted for the cross country season.”
The coach feels that Gill has been training well and seems to be adjusting to the Iona training procedure.
“The focus will be on her to run the 3,000 indoors and then possibly the 5,000 during the outdoor season,” Santos said. “She’s a hard worker and has had a great attitude so far and I look for her to do well in the future.”
DUDECK DOING THE JOB – Senior Brianna Dudeck (Hazleton Area) has been a solid performer for the Bloomsburg women’s basketball team but the 5-foot-5 guard has done even better the first two games of the second half of the season.
Dudeck had 11 points in a 72-52 victory over Clarion last Friday and 10 points in a 90-64 triumph over Pitt-Johnstown last Saturday. On the season, she’s averaging 6.5 points with 29 rebounds, 19 assists and 13 steals.
“Brianna is a constant when it comes to her dedication and commitment to the game,” coach Bill Cleary said. “She provides such energy and enthusiasm when she is in the game that it becomes contagious and spreads through the team. We love what Brianna brings to our team.”
The Huskies are 9-3 overall and 2-2 in the PSAC.
CHIRICO’S A VET – Senior Amy Chirico (Hazleton Area) is in her fourth season with the Hampton women’s bowling team. This season, however, she’s been slowed by an injury.
“Over the last three seasons Amy has been a blessing to the bowling squad,” Hampton’s Maurice Williams said. “She is a proven leader, a great team player and she’s seen her bowling average increase over the years.”
Chirico is one of just two seniors on the squad, the Pirates currently winless after four tournaments.
“She should be back on the lanes soon,” Williams said. “We look forward to her picking back up where she left off.”
Hampton returns to action Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 18-19 against Bowie State in Bowie, Md.
TWO JULIAS HELPING DUKES – The Duquesne women’s indoor track team is expecting quite a bit from sophomores Julia Wignot and Julia Franzosa.
Wignot (Holy Redeemer) competed in the Youngstown Icebreaker to kick off the season in December and finished fifth in the triple jump (34-5) and 14th in the long jump (15-10.5) in a field consisting of 15 colleges.
She also raced in the prelims of the 60-meter dash.
“Julia is improving her speed in addition to the technical aspects of jumping,” coach Caitlin Cotter said of Wignot. “With this added versatility we are optimistic she will make great strides to help us achieve our goals this year.”
Franzosa (Hazleton Area) competes in the javelin for the Dukes but she also has been working hard to compete in the multi-events this year.
“It’s been challenging to learn six new events,” Cotter said of Franzosa. “However, Julia has shown courage, dedication and maturity and I’m encouraged by her training that she will be a key contributor to the team at conference.”
LEIGHOW WORKING HARD – Red-shirt freshman Emily Leighow (Berwick) kicked off the indoor track season with the Millersville women’s team by finishing eighth in the 1,000 meter run at the Fast Times Opener at Lehigh. Her time was 3:40.78.
“Emily decided to get much more serious about the sport this year,” coach Andy Young said. “She is a very raw athlete but we expect she may improve fairly well in the next year or two if she keeps working and stays healthy.”
Young doesn’t expect Leighow to be a factor in the upcoming PSAC Championships.
“Emily still has a lot of work in front of her but she finally seems willing to put in that work which is a very important step for her,” the coach said. “She may be able to impact for us in a year or two.”