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STATEN ISLAND, N.Y.  -- The indoor track & field season will official begin for the University of Delaware women Friday afternoon when the Blue Hens take part in the season-opening Wagner Invitational held at the Ocean Breeze Park Athletic Complex.

Head coach Wendy McFarlane-Smith, who will begin her ninth season at the helm of the team, will take a group of 58 student-athletes to the event, which will begin at 1 p.m. with the shot put and weight throw and the 60 meter hurdles. Athletes will compete in 16 different events during the meet with the final event scheduled for 7 p.m.

“Right now we are not really sure what to expect coming off the winter break,” said McFarlane-Smith, whose team placed 15th at the ECAC Championships last season to close a successful season (the Colonial Athletic Association does not sponsor an indoor track & field championship). “We look to have some good performances leading into better performances as we move forward into the season. The first meet is the best indicator of where we are as a team. Each meet and each season we get better our opponents also get better. Preparation each week is key for maintaining a good peak when and where it counts.
“We look forward to a great indoor season, qualifying as many athletes as possibility to compete at the ECAC Indoor and Outdoor Championships, and to achieve a top 10 finish team finish,” McFarlane-Smith continued.

Delaware welcomes back six performers who competed at the ECAC meet a year ago, but will have to replace Amira Idris, the two-time defending ECAC triple jump champion who graduated.

Back to lead the Blue Hens are junior Sarah Hillman in the throwing events, sophomore Ashley Bailey in the pole vaults and jumps, and sophomores Tyra Reid and Carly Pettipaw and seniors Tyler Jackson and Carolyn Darr in the sprint events.

Hillman earned All-East honors last season with a third place finish in the shot put at the ECAC meet; Bailey earned All-East honors with a seventh place showing in the ECAC pole vault as a freshman; and Darr and Reid were part of the 4 x 400 meter relay squad a year ago. Reid also qualified for the ECAC meet in the 200 and 400 meter events while Jackson qualified in the 200 meter dash.

Delaware will take part in eight events during the indoor season, including the season-ending ECAC Championships March 4-5 at Boston University.

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