Though Oregon posted its fourth consecutive national championship, the 2013 women’s indoor track and field campaign was hardly lacking in turnover. At least on the conference championship level, numerous recent coaching hires lifted their squads to the podium’s top tier, a position they’ve been progressing towards since the moment they took over their programs’ reins.
In just their second seasons at the helm, Arkansas State’s Jim Patchell and Loyola Chicago’s Randy Hasenbank have already brought conference titles to programs starving for victory. Patchell’s Red Wolves claimed their first Sun Belt championship since 1998, while the Ramblers brought home the program’s first ever Horizon League title.
So too were there first time champions in the Mountain West, where fourth-year coach Sheila Burell vaulted her San Diego State squad to the top of the conference. Additionally, in the Great West, the consistent year-in, year-out improvement by sixth-year coach Theresa Fuqua’s Houston Baptist team finally reaped the Huskies’ their first ever conference title. And while Caryl Smith Gilbert had already boosted a struggling Central Florida team to the C-USA summit, Gilbert again has the Knights atop the conference. And even more, Central Florida’s fifth place NCAA championship result this season is also a program record, besting last year’s 8th place finish. As a result of their successes, all of these coaches were named their conference’s Indoor Coach of the Year.
But many more non-traditional programs are also hot at these—and other champions’—heels, making up ground just as swiftly, and in prime position for a pass in 2014.
- Franklin’s Lady Lobos have only finished at or better than each of their previous MWC final standings. Their 2nd place finish in 2013 meet marked the program’s highest ever point total.
- Though Ritchie Beene’s Alabama State team has claimed five straight SWAC titles, Williams’ Panthers finished 2nd in the conference in 2011, for the first time in over a decade, and haven’t left Alabama State’s back pocket since.
- An old proverb says that slow and steady wins the race. They may have only finished 4th in her 6th season, but McField’s Kangaroos have improved their final placing in five straight Summit meets.
- On the backs of a fearsome sprint program, Harrison’s squad, dead last in his first year, has steadily pushed itself all the way to the Big Sky runners up spot.
- In the Roadrunners’ inaugural WAC campaign, UTSA built on its recent strides in the Southland Conference to achieve the program’s highest conference point total in 17 years.
- Campebll’s Lady Panthers have come a long way since their 10th place season in his first year, and haven’t looked back since.
- In 2013, Gilroy’s Cowgirls continued to climb higher, posting their best conference finish since 2000.
- Thomas’ Blazers made quite a leap in 2013, posting their best conference finish since 2005.
- Dead last with .5 points in 2010’s MEAC meet, the Lady Rattlers have quickly catapulted to the top half of the conference.
- Cooper has his Bethune-Cookman women’s program on the rise after scoring their most conference points since 2008.
- The Sycamores’ recent 2nd place finish in the MVC was the program’s best since 2001.
- Severns’ Murray State squad is on an upward trajectory that finds them in the top half of the OVC.
- In a conference meet where the top two squads haven’t given any ground for three years running, the Lady Jaguars leapt up five spots to grab third place.