March 28, 2013
STANFORD, Calif. - In Stanford track and field, there is a lineage.
For the men, it goes back to the likes of Ben Eastman, Bob Mathias, and James Lofton.
For each of the athletes who wear the Stanford singlet today there comes a responsibility to uphold a tradition that runs deep into the lore of the sport itself. But one thing is clear, that tradition will be enhanced by the talent of the athletes representing the Cardinal in 2013.
Stanford, under the direction of first-year Franklin P. Johnson Director of Track and Field Chris Miltenberg, has athletes who will be remembered for years to come. On this year's squad are 20 All-Americans and five school-record holders in individual events.
A strong distance crew had a senior-heavy lineup last season with 14-time All-America Chris Derrick, as well as Jacob Riley and Elliott Heath, two other elite runners who competed either indoors or outdoors in 2012. This season, the baton has been passed to Michael Atchoo, Tyler Stutzman, Erik Olson, and the Rosa twins, Joe and Jim - all of whom are establishing themselves in their own right, as shown by their NCAA West Regional cross-country title last fall and their quality during the recently-completed indoor season.
The women have as complete a team as they've had in years and own a No. 9 preseason ranking. The men enter the season unranked, but have athletes in a variety of disciplines that may make an impact at the NCAA Championships.
And as for tradition ... it's in good hands with Stanford's freshman class that may go down as one of its greatest. Among them, Australian 400-meter specialist Steven Solomon was eighth in 2012 Olympic Games, and Amy Weissenbach already has taken down the school indoor record in the 800.
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The following is a breakdown of the Stanford men's and women's teams:
Other than losing some top distance runners, plus defending NCAA 400 hurdles champ Amaechi Morton, the rest of the men's squad is mostly intact, which means scoring opportunities in the throws, high jump and distances.
"We've got a lot of people who've proven to be at NCAA scoring level," Miltenberg said.
The Cardinal is loaded, which was evident during the indoor season when Tyler Stutzman placed fourth in the NCAA mile and Michael Atchoo broke the school indoor record in that event. Both clearly have emerged from Chris Derrick's shadow and seem to have even better races ahead, having trained through the indoor season with a minimum of speed work.
"The first step was to take guys who were used to being passengers and make them drivers," Miltenberg said.
As for Stutzman and Atchoo, Miltenberg was impressed with how tough they ran during the indoor season, not to mention how fast. Atchoo's Mountain Pacific Sports Federation-winning mile time of 3:57.14 was second in Stanford history only to an outdoor 3:55.3 by Olympian Jeff Atkinson in 1986.
"My hope is that these guys can be ready to run with anybody in the 1,500 final," he said.
Michael Atchoo, jr. (top mark: 3:57.14, mile, school indoor record)
Andrew Berberick, sr. (top mark: 4:00.78, indoor mile; 1:49.54, 800)
Dylan Ferris, sr. (top marks: 3:58.90, mile; 1:48.67, 800; 3:40.07, 1,500)
Luke Lefebure, so. (top mark: 1:49.92, 800)
Tyler Stutzman, sr. (top marks: 3:58.85, indoor mile; 3:40.53, 1,500)
Erik Olson, jr. (top mark: 13:54.55, indoor 5,000)
Jim Rosa, so. (top mark: 13:59.76, indoor 5,000)
Joe Rosa, so. (top mark: 13:58.74, indoor 5,000)
Steven Solomon is healthy and ready to make his mark at Stanford, but the coaching staff has to keep the international season in mind. Solomon has received permission from Australia to advance directly to the IAAF World Championships, which take place Aug. 10-18 in Moscow, Russia. However, because of his extended season, he is easing into the collegiate schedule and is expected to make his Stanford debut on April 20 at the Big Meet against visiting Cal.
"We're going to take a slow progression with him," Miltenberg said.
Solomon is one of seven active collegiate athletes who reached the Olympic finals last year, and the only freshman in that group. The others, according to research by Tom Lewis of USTFCCA, are: Wisconsin's Mo Ahmed (men's 10,000), Arizona's Brigetta Barrett (women's high jump), Colorado's Emma Coburn (women's steeplechase), Indiana's Derek Drouin (men's high jump), Jackson State's Anaso Jobodwana (men's 200), and Kansas State's Erik Kynard (men's high jump).
Stanford has had eight seven-foot high-jumpers in school history, and two are on the current squad: Jules Sharpe and Dartis Willis II. Sharpe's 7-3¼ on Feb. 8 was the third-highest indoors or outdoors ever at Stanford. And he was consistent at that level, clearing 7-3 in three consecutive meets before finishing 13th in the NCAA Championships at 7-2½.
Jules Sharpe, sr. (top mark: 7-3¼, high jump)
Dartis Willis II, so. (top marks: 7-2¼, high jump; 23-11½, long jump)
Darian Brooks, so. (top mark: 50-2w, 49-11, triple jump)
Dalton Duvio, so. (top mark: 17-1, pole vault)
Garrett Starkey, fr. (top mark: 17-0, pole vault)
Geoffrey Tabor placed ninth in the discus at the 2012 NCAA Championships with a personal record 192-6 and is seeking an even better placing. Javelin thrower Aaron Konigsberg seems capable of a breakthrough season on the national level under new throws coach Michelle Eisenreich.
New jumps and multis coach Michael Eskind intends on building this area into a strength. Stanford is seeking its first conference decathlon champion since Travis Clark in 1994.
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"We plan to go to the Pac-12s and be in the hunt for a top 2-3 finish," Miltenberg said. "That should set us up to compete well at the national meet, which is our goal."
The Cardinal was second in the Pac-12 last season and should contend again, though the conference is loaded with four teams ranked among the USTFCCCA Preseason Top 10 and eight in the Top 25.
Stanford's excellence in this area begins with nine-time All-America Kathy Kroeger, the reigning Pac-12 cross-country champion and an Olympic trials finalist in the 5,000. Kroeger's problem is that she competes in one of the most competitive and deepest events in the country.
Kroeger had five All-America honors in the 2012 calendar year and has three first-team outdoor track selections. Her highest NCAA finish - in track or cross country - was fifth in the 5,000 in 2010 and 2011.
With Kroeger and Jessica Tonn, Stanford has two sub-16-minute runners in the 5,000, making it one of the team's power events, alongside the 800.
The 800 features outdoor school-record holder Justine Fedronic (2:03.54) and indoor school record-holder Amy Weissenbach (2:05.56). That one-two punch is complemented by Claudia Saunders, another freshman, who is in her first season in the event after specializing in the hurdles in high school.
Cami Chapus, a 4:39.64 high-school miler, is another gem from the class of 2016.
Aisling Cuffe, so. (top mark: 9:07.79, 3,000, American junior indoor record)
Justine Fedronic, sr. (top mark: 2:03.54, 800, school record)
Kathy Kroeger, sr. (top mark: 15:33.76, 5,000)
Claudia Saunders, fr. (top mark: 2:09.80, indoor 800)
Jessica Tonn, jr. (top mark: 15:56.42, indoor 5,000)
Amy Weissenbach, fr. (top mark: 2:02.04, 800, Nat'l Federation high school record)
Mary Kate Anselmini, so. (top mark: 10:15.16, 3,000 steeplechase)
Cami Chapus, fr. (top marks: 4:39.64, mile; 4:17.12, 1,500)
Juniors Kori Carter and Katie Nelms are the best hurdlers in Stanford history. The difference is that Nelms has more explosion, as evidenced by advancing to the NCAA Championships in the 100 meters last year. While Carter, the MPSF indoor 200 champion, has greater stamina, as evidenced by her 52.2 400 split in the distance medley relay at the NCAA Indoors. That's one reason why coaches believe Carter's future may rest in the 400 hurdles.
Together, Carter and Nelms went 1-2 in the 2012 Pac-12 Championships in the 100 hurdles and their best times in that event are separated by only 0.01 - a school-record 12.99 for Carter to 13.00 for Nelms).
Of Williams, a Texas Class 4A high school champ in both the 400 and 800, "She's going to be great," Miltenberg said.
Kori Carter, jr. (top marks: 12.99, 100 hurdles, school record; 57.10, 400 hurdles, school record; 23.61, indoor 200)
Carissa Levingston, sr. (top marks: 23.43, 200; 11.48, 100)
Katie Nelms, jr. (top marks: 13.00, 100 hurdles; 23.36, 200; 11.45, 100)
Kristyn Williams, fr. (top mark: 52.59, 400)
Karynn Dunn has emerged from the shadow of Olympian Arantxa King to become the featured jumper and a national contender. In 2012, she earned two first-team All-America honors by placing fourth at the NCAA indoors and fifth outdoors. Her NCAA outdoor jump of 21-6 was 13th-best in the U.S. in 2012. The former U.S. junior national champ also went on to the Olympic trials.
Karynn Dunn, sr. (top marks: 21-6, long jump; 42-1½, triple jump)
Ellie McCardwell, jr. (top mark: 13-7¾, pole vault)
Jordan Merback, sr. (top mark: 42-4¼, triple jump)
Elaine Patten, sr. (top mark: 5-9, high jump)
Brianna Bain was Stanford's highest NCAA finisher in 2012, throwing the javelin a personal-record 180-2 as a freshman. Much is expected of Bain, the defending Pac-12 champion, who has set a high standard.
In the discus, Rebecca Hammar got off to impressive start, throwing a personal-record 171-10 at the Stanford Outdoor Opener on March 2 and comes into the season looking like a conference contender.
Madeline Treasure placed ninth in the Pac-12 in the heptathlon as a freshman last season and is poised to make her mark in the event.
-- David Kiefer, Stanford Athletics