ROCKFORD, Ill. - The Rockford University men's and women's track and field teams are set to begin their 2018-19 seasons this Saturday. Rockford hopes to build off a successful 2018 season where the Regents broke at least one school record at every meet. Both teams appear primed to improve upon that success again this year thanks to an experienced group of returners and a talented crop of newcomers.
The men's team will rely heavily on an experienced group of returners. Senior Jared Johnson (Miami, Fla.) leads that group after finishing last indoor season with one of the top performances of his career. Johnson finished fourth in the weight throw at the NACC Indoor Championships setting a personal best and a school record with a throw of 14.12 meters. Fellow Senior Joe Werkheiser (Lena, Ill.) will once again be an integral piece to the Regents success in multiple running events. Werkheiser helped Rockford place fourth in the distance medley relay during the NACC Indoor Championships a year ago. He was also the key piece of a 4x200 meter relay team and the 4x400 meter relay team that finished third and fourth respectively at the UW-Platteville Select. Two other runners to keep your eyes on this year are Jesus Campos (Chicago, Ill.) and Christian Devant (Winnebago, Ill.). Both will be crucial to Rockford's success in the relay and individual events. Sophomore Tyrece Ahrens (Kankakee, Ill.) will look to continue to improve upon an impressive freshman season where he tallied a pair of first place finishes in the long jump. Ahrens top performance at the NACC Indoor Championship came in the triple jump where he placed fifth. Ahrens has already made his mark on the RU record book holding school records in the long jump (6.39 meters) and triple jump (12.73 meters).
The top newcomers on the men's team are transfer Isaac DeLaRosa (Rockford, Ill.) and freshman Carlos Flores (Elgin, Ill.). DeLaRosa brings veteran experience as he competed at St. Ambrose University before coming to Rockford. While Flores should step in and make an immediate impact on the relay teams this season.
The women's side will be anchored by sophomore thrower Kaylynne Terry (Streator, Ill.). Terry burst onto the scene last year at the NACC Indoor Championships when she won the shot put and set a school record with a throw of 13.30 meters. She also finished seventh and set the school record in the weight throw with a distance of 13.39 meters. Other key returners for Rockford include senior Virginia Reed (Rockford, Ill.) and junior Katrina Kopfhamer (Portage, Wis.). Reed should be one of the top performers for the Regents in the sprints, jumping and relay events, while Kopfhamer looks to continue to her ascent up the field in the throwing events.
A pair of newcomers to keep your eyes on for the women's team includes Alyssa Ashford (Springfield, Ill.) and Elizabeth Lisenby (Kasilof, Alaska). Both freshmen bring solid high school experience and will try to solidify their spot as a key contributor for the team.
"I am extremely excited this year for what this group can do after the success we saw a season ago," proclaimed Head Coach Morgan Goetschel. "Team camaraderie is huge and I believe that is why last year we were so successful. Everyone was so supportive of each other's accomplishments, and it really helped bring the team together."
The Rockford University indoor track and field season kicks off on Saturday, December 1 when the Regents travels to Bloomington, Illinois for the Titan First Chance Meet. The meet is scheduled to begin at 11 AM.