Keydets Have Reason for Optimism in 2005-2006 Men\'s Track and Field Seasons

Several new faces and seasoned veterans give VMI Track and Field reason to think Big

2005-06 Men's Track and Field Outlook:

This year\'s team has improved their depth in many events and returned some of their top performers to yield a blend of talent that should lead to outstanding success this season.

\"This year's team has an excellent blend of experience and youth,\" said head coach Mike Bozeman. \"The talent demonstrated by the new guys this fall is a sign of good things to come. Combine that with the performances of some of our guys in cross country and we are really excited about the spring.\"

The sprint/hurdle corps is probably the most improved unit this year. Paulvince Obuon, an All-American, IC4A and Big South Conference champion, should have his best year ever and new additions Taili Evans and Jasper Watkins will offer support in the 100m and 200m events. Chris Gilliland (football) returns in the 100m and will also contend for a spot on the 400 meter relay team. Derek Behney adds relay depth and, along with Watkins, will be part of a strong 400 meter contingent. Joey Robinson (football) will be the best high hurdler we've had in several years and will also add sprint relay depth. The intermediate hurdles will also be very strong, with Bryan Yerger, Tim Greer and Michael Wilson returning from last year. Yerger is an all-conference performer and will be pushed by Hamid Abdurrhim, the Virginia state champion in 300m hurdles.

The vastly improved middle distance and distance corps, coming off a strong cross country season, should yield a solid number of points to the indoor/outdoor track effort. Anthony Harris and Donnie Mikels return as the top milers, and will receive support from Mark Bush, Ben Switzer and possibly Erik Uber, Joe Brennan, and newcomer Jared Kljanbart. Bush, Brennan, Switzer and Uber will get added help in the 800 meters from Kljanbart, Adam Hernandez and David Schlaseman. The 3000m/5000m events will feature Edwin Lugo, Graham Forbes, Kurt Able, Mikels, Nick Mazzenga and newcomers Andrew Rademaker and Patrick Eggleston. Lugo, Mikels and Mazzenga will also compete in the steeplechase. Moving up to the 10,000m outdoors event is Able and Forbes, who will be joined by Shawn Hogan.

The horizontal jumps should be another vastly improved area as well. The Big South Indoor Conference champion in the long jump, Garrett Brickner, will be joined by Evans and freshmen Tyler Tucker and Robinson. Evans will compete in the triple jump along with Jeff Bennett, and could receive some help from Robinson.

The vertical jumps might be lacking in vault depth, but still have an improving Brickner and Tucker. The high jump is strong with Big South Conference and IC4A champion Brickner returning, along with Bennett.

The throws lost several cadets due to graduation and will begin a rebuilding year in the shot, discus, hammer and weight. Wes Lokey (football), along with Nathan Gede, Matt Hyatt, Andrew Gore and Daniel Popper (football) provide potential in these four events, and the javelin is strong with Big South Conference champion, Brandriff returning along with Phil Hahn, Edward Griffith and freshman Bridger Hodsden.