BABSON PARK, Mass.—After recording its most points at the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) meet in over a decade last spring, the Babson College women's track & field program will look to build on last year's success in 2018.
Under the direction of 14th-year head coach Russ Brennen, the Beavers bring back 11 athletes from a team that finished eighth at the 2017 conference meet. Six different veterans were part of a school record last year and three returners have qualified for the NCAA New England Championships over the last two seasons.
REACHING TOP SPEED
Junior Angelina Raffone (Westbrook, Conn.) put together a tremendous rookie campaign that saw her set the program's 100-meter dash record on two different occasions last spring. She came in fourth with a time of 12.38 at the NEWMAC Championships and owns Babson's top seven times in the event. Raffone also recorded the second fastest time (26.96) in school history in the 200-meter dash last April.
GOING THE DISTANCE
Junior Chaela Hood (Plymouth, Mass.) came in third in the 10,000-meter run at last year's NEWMAC Championships and qualified for the NCAA regional meet in the event for the second year in a row. Senior Heather Murphy (Perrineville, N.J.) also returns for the Beavers after missing last season due to injury.
MIDDLE DISTANCE DEPTH
Sophomore Stephanie Rodriguez (Guatemala City, Guatemala) and senior Melanie Plattner (Fort Lee, N.J.) are Babson's top returners in the middle distance events. The duo teamed up with Hood and senior Natasha Kellas (Fort Lee, N.J.) to set a new school record in the 4x800-meter relay at the 2017 NCAA New England Championships, and were both part of the Beavers' record in the 4x400-meter relay last April. Sophomore Maeve Sullivan (Wilmington, Mass.) will look to build on a solid rookie campaign, while classmate Jenna Sweeney (Forestdale, Mass.) returns after missing all of 2017.
LEARNING THROUGH EXPERIENCE
In addition to Raffone, the Green and White returns four athletes that competed in the sprint events last season. Kellas and sophomores Margaret Barr-Forget (Westhampton Beach, N.Y.) and Taline Karozichian (Pleasantville, N.Y.) all competed in the 200- and 400-meters, while classmate Swathi Nachiappan (Short Hills, N.J.) raced primarily in the 100- and 400-meter hurdles as a rookie. Karozichian also was part of the team's record in the 4x400 relay last year.
Along with his 11 returners, Brennen welcomes a 10-member first-year class to the program in 2018. The group will have an opportunity to make an impact in multiple events right away.
THE PATH TO NEWMACS
After having Saturday's Bridgewater State Invitational cancelled due to weather, the Beavers will now kick off the 2018 season with the Snowflake Invitational at Tufts on March 31. The Green and White will also compete in familiar meets at Coast Guard, Connecticut College and MIT prior to the NEWMAC Championships on April 28.