COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – Ready to host the Centennial Conference indoor championship for a third straight year, the Ursinus College women's track and field team hopes to use the familiar setting of the Floy Lewis Bakes Center to its advantage and make a run up the standings.
Ursinus placed sixth at last year's meet, but the Bears boast a number of medal contenders and appear fully capable of moving into the top four for the first time since 2013.
Championship action gets underway at 11:30 a.m. Saturday and runs through Sunday evening.
The Bears expect to get off to a fast start as junior Caroline Buckley challenges for gold in the triple jump. Seeded second at 33-10.75 (behind only F&M's Alyssa Ward), Buckley is hoping to become Ursinus' first triple jump champion since Amber Howard in 2003. She finished fifth last year as Ward took home gold.
Junior Morgan Cope was one spot out of scoring range in the pole vault at last year's indoor championship, but is seeded eighth this time with a top mark of 8-11.75.
Freshman Gianna Speranza gets her first look at championship action in the 60-meter dash, entering as the seventh seed at 8.32 seconds.
Sophomore Kira Miller is seeded seventh in the 60-meter hurdles (9.95), where she placed 17th a year ago.
The Bears have the fifth seed time in the distance medley relay but figure to be contenders in the 4x200, where their top mark of 1:51.17 is a close fourth.
Senior Katherine Damato won bronze in the pentathlon at last year's championship and will look to return to the podium in an event with just five competitors.
Freshman Kateryna Swan will contend for a medal in the high jump, ranking tied for fourth in the CC with a personal best of 4-11. Speranza is seeded 10th and could attain scoring range with a strong performance.
The 400-meter dash could be a gold mine of points for the Bears, who have two returning place-winners in the fold. Junior Catherine Buczek (1:01.44) is seeded fourth after a fifth-place effort a year ago, and senior Jenna Kelly is eighth at 1:02.79. Sophomore Catherine Curran will also race.
Following the finals of the 60-meter dash and 60-meter hurdles, the Bears will be represented by first-year Meredith Steele in the 800.
Swan and Buckley hope to ascent to scoring status in the long jump; Swan is seeded ninth and Buckley is tied for 10th after placing 11th in 2017.
Ursinus has a trio of entrants in the 200-meter dash, led by fifth-seeded freshman Michela Coleman (27.35). Buczek is pegged sixth and Speranza eighth.
The championship concludes with the 4x800-meter relay, for which the Bears own the second-fastest seed time, and the 4x400-meter relay, where they expect to contend for gold. Ursinus tops the conference at 4:10.01 and hopes to win gold in the event for the first time in school history.