Coach Stroll names women’s track captains


Bobby MartinezSports Writer

NEW HAVEN — As a former student athlete at numerous Division I universities, womens track and field head coach Melissa Stoll had to make a decision on who will be leading this year’s team.

“Her experiences as a student-athlete,” said Director of Athletics Patricia Nicol, “and coach at UC-Riverside, Iowa State and most recently, Manhattan College, have provided an outstanding foundation that will allow her to excel in her new role leading our program.”

Stoll named seniors Brittany Brown and Nicole Strauss alongside juniors Elizabeth Bashir and Rachel Van Gilder as this year’s team captains. Brown is returning from an injury she suffered during last spring’s outdoor track season. Brown has reached numerous achievements in her years at Southern.

With plans to major in communications, Brownm who is from Mount Vernon New York, attended Pelham Memorial High School and was named All-League in hurdles and high jump. She was also selected for All Country team and also assisted her team in winning the D-II State championship. Brown was also team captain both her junior and senior years and also managed to play volleyball as well.

As a sophomore at Southern, she made indoor track All-Region 60 meter hurdles, outdoor 100 meter hurdles and high jump both inside and outdoors. She was also named outdoor Northeast-10 Conference champion in the high jump. As a junior, she was named Regional Indoor Field Athlete of the year by the United States Track and Field Cross Country Coaches Association.

During the UConn Triangular Meet, Brown captured first place in three events which included the high jump calculating 1.76 meters, 55 meters hurdle with a 8.25 and the long jump with a distance of 5.75 meters. Brown also captured indoors All-New England in the 60 hurdles and high jump for both indoors and outdoors and also outdoor 100m hurdles.

Stoll also selected Strauss who was born in Coventry, Conn. and majors in exercise science. She was named team captain her senior year at Coventry High School in Conn. During the 2010 cross country season, she completed the NCAA D-II Regionals with a total time of 24:26. As a freshman in track and field, Strauss grabbed the Northeast-10 champion in the indoors 4×800 relay. Asides from achieving high accomplishments on the track, Strauss also worked hard academically reaching Northeast-10 Conference Commissioner’s Honor Roll.

In her sophomore year, Strauss was still academically achieving recognition from the Northeast-10 Conference Commission. During the UConn Triangular Meet, she ran a mile in 5:38.34 landing her in third place. In the 5,000 meter run at the Roadrunner Invitational, she captured third place overall. As a junior, her academics were still a major priority which landed her another selection on the NE-10 Conference Commissioner’s Honor Roll.

With the third selection of this year’s season, Stoll selected Middlesex Conn. native, Elizabeth Bashir. Bashir, a junior exercise major, was an All-State selection at Waterford High School in Conn. During her years in high school, she managed to win Conference Champion for both indoor and outdoor track. In the 2011 nationals, Bashir captured second place. She was also named team captain for both her junior and senior year at Waterford High School.

In her first year at Southern, she was All-Region in shot put and weight throw. Academically, Bashir was selected to the NE-10 Conference Commissioner’s Honor Roll as well. During the UConn Triangular Meet, she captured first place in shot put with distance of 12.39 meters. She also left the UConn Triangular Meet in second place in weight throwing with a distance of 13.56.

With continued success in the classroom, another honor roll achievement was secured during her sophomore year. Bashir was named All-Region in the weight throw and the hammer throw and was also All-New England honoree in the weight throw. During the Yale Collegiate Invitational, she finished in sixth place in weight throw with a distance of 46 feet. Bashir also placed eighth with a 39 foot throw which was calculated as a 2.25 in distance for the shot put.

During the Metropolitan Championships, Bashir was a hair away from taking home first place in the hammer throw. She left as a runner-up with a toss of 49.95 meters which was only .01 meters away from first place.

Nursing major Rachel Van Gilder secured the final spot as team captain. Gilder, who was born in Hartford, Conn., attended Enrico Fermi High School where in her junior and senior year was named team captain. During her high school career, she was a four-time All-Conference and two-time All-Area selection. An All-Area selection is run by newspaper organizations in the proximity of the athlete.

As a freshman at Southern, she was selected to the All-Region for the 4×100 and 4×400 relays. Gilder was also selected to the NE-10 Conference Commissioner’s Honor Roll. She also competed in the NE-10 Championships assisting team on both the 4×400 with a time of 3:55.53 and 4×100  with a time of 48.16 which finished in second place. The lady Owls begin their season Dec. 6 at the Elm City Challenge versus University of New Haven.

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