Lexington, Ky. – The 2017 edition of the Transylvania Track & Field team has its sights set on a historic season, as it brings back numerous top performers from last year's squad, including multiple Transylvania record holders.
The Pioneers will look to move into their outdoor season this week on the heels of a successful indoor season that culminated with a trip to the NCAA Championships for Transylvania senior and two-time All-American, Jordin Fender.
Transylvania track and field head coach Heidi Pinkerton believes that the team's indoor success will translate to the outdoor season. "We had an amazing indoor season with the women's team finishing fourth, two spots higher than last season," remarked Pinkerton. "The men's team scored the most points at HCAC (conference championships) in school history. We had multiple conference champs and several top eight finishers. All this has set a great tone for the outdoor season."
The Pioneers will be led this spring by some familiar faces in Fender and fellow men's sprinter Cole Green. During her time in Lexington, Fender has become one of the most decorated athletes in Transylvania history. On Saturday, March 11 at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships, Fender finished second by the slimmest of margins in the women's 60-meter hurdle finals to become an All-American for the second time in her college career.
The Lexington, Kentucky native currently holds numerous records at Transylvania, including in the outdoor women's 100 and 200-meter dashes. Fender is the reigning HCAC outdoor champion in the women's 100-meter hurdles, and the 100 and 200-meter dashes.
Transylvania assistant track & field coach Max Coleman looks for Fender's continued dominance in both indoor and outdoor competition to be a huge part of the team's overall success. "After Jordin's amazing accomplishments during indoor season, all the other athletes are excited to get back on the track and show what they have been doing," said Coleman. "We look to build off of the indoor season."
The Pioneers will also welcome back Green to Lexington for his senior year, as he looks to cap off a stellar career at Transylvania with a strong showing this spring.
Green recently claimed the HCAC indoor championships in both the men's 60 and 200-meter dashes. During the indoor season, Green set the Transylvania record for the 60-meter dash with a time of 6.90 seconds, and the 200 meter dash record with a 22.28 second finish.
Green is also the reigning HCAC outdoor champion in both the men's 100 and 200-meter dashes.
Sophomore Malik Jackson projects to have a tremendous season for the Pioneers, after a spectacular freshmen year in which he set the school record in the triple jump with a mark of 12.93 meters. Jackson's first year at Transylvania was highlighted by a fourth place finish in the men's triple jump event at last April's HCAC Championships.
Jackson is coming off a progress-laden indoor season, in which he set the school records for the long jump and triple jump, with marks of 6.19 and 13.25 meters respectively. At the HCAC indoor championships this February, Jackson placed third in the triple jump finals with a leap of 13.12 meters, just behind fellow Pioneer Nathan McCullough who finished as the runner-up in the event.
The Pioneers' well-balanced team also features the return of senior thrower Taylor Sanders, who took the championship in the women's shot put at the HCAC indoor championships.
During the indoor season, Sanders added to the slate of numerous new records at Transylvania, as she set a new high mark in the weight throw event with a distance of 14.10 meters. Sanders also took home fifth place in the women's hammer throw at the HCAC Championships.
Transylvania throws coach Christian Spaulding has high expectations for his returning athletes as well as some newcomers this season. "Taylor had a great indoor season and she along with the rest of the throwers are ready to continue the momentum into the spring," said Christian. "Kailey Price will be joining the squad who can get some good marks for us in the discus."
The Pioneers and their coaches are eager for the new season to get underway. "The team is on a roll and ready to start competing again," said Pinkerton. "It is great to see the culture and talent of the team grow."
The outdoor season gets underway this weekend, as Transylvania hosts its annual Pioneer Invitational at Pat Deacon Stadium in Lexington, Kentucky. The meet will span Friday and Saturday March 24 and 25.