March 20, 2013
CHICAGO - After completing an indoor season full of school records and a pair of conference championships, the Loyola University Chicago track & field squads will kick off the outdoor portion of their schedule at the Vanderbilt Black & Gold Invite, this Friday and Saturday.
Field events will begin the action on both days, with Friday's action slated to commence at 4 p.m. and Saturday's at 11 a.m. in Nashville, Tenn. A full schedule of events, along with a link to live results, can be found above. A stacked field, led by host school Vanderbilt, Big Ten power Michigan and local rivals Southern Illinois and Bradley, will await the Ramblers in Nashville.
"We are really looking forward to the outdoor campaign," commented Loyola head track & field coach Randy Hasenbank. "We will take about 50 athletes to Vanderbilt this weekend to compete in the Black & Gold Invite. We have a lot to accomplish within the next six weeks. The schedule is very aggressive but we feel that it will prepare our athletes for the championship portion of our season. I am looking forward to watching us compete in some of the long throws (javelin, discus & hammer). Of course we will have a few steeple chasers and 400m hurdlers in action. The women's 4x100m relay team will compete for the first time. We are holding a few of our athletes out of this competition after the long indoor season. The meet will be very competitive with Big 10, SEC and Big East schools competing."
Loyola will be looking to follow up on a stellar indoor track & field campaign. A grand total of 90 new additions were made to the school leaderboards on the men's and women's sides. The teams also capped off the regular season in fine fashion, completing a clean sweep of the team titles at the Horizon League Indoor Championship meet.
A pair of seniors, Declan Murray and Gina Valgoi, will be looking to write the final chapter in their storybook careers at Loyola this spring. During the indoor season, Murray (800m) and Valgoi (5000m) both ran their way to the NCAA Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. Murray earned First Team All-American honors, while Valgoi became the first All-American on the women's side in program history, earning a spot on the second team. Both competitors will be looking to qualify for the NCAA Regionals for the second straight year on the outdoor circuit.
As they did during the indoor months, the Ramblers will put youth on full display in the outdoor season. Chris Strup and Rebecca Stearns hope to carry their success from the indoor season into the outdoor slate. Strup and Stearns were both recognized by the Horizon League as Track Newcomers of the Year after their performances at the Horizon League Championships in February.
In the field for Loyola, James McLachlan and Candice Carajohn have their sights set on bursting their way onto the national stage as well. Carajohn, like her senior counterparts Murray and Valgoi, qualified for last year's NCAA Regionals in the long jump. McLachlan will be looking to qualify for his first regional meet after having a stellar indoor season highlighted by capturing individual titles in the long jump and triple jump at the Horizon League Championships.
Following their trip to Nashville, the Ramblers will send squads to the Ted Haydon Invitational at the University of Chicago, the Raleigh Relays in Raleigh, N.C. and the Stanford Invite in Palo Alto, Cal., March 28-30.