One-on-one with Sandy Ford-Centonze
The women’s track and field team took third at the Ivy League Heptagonal Indoor Championships last season to match its best Heps performance since 2014. As the indoor season gets underway, Jake Philhower sat down with longtime head coach Sandy Ford-Centonze to discuss her expectations for 2019.
How do you expect the team to progress headed into the indoor season?
SF-C: I think we have potential to have a have a strong season and perform well in the meets. Not having really done anything, I can’t really project or even say. This weekend is gonna be the first time we’ve seen some of the athletes compete at the relay. We did have two meets over the winter break [the Boston University Season Opener and a home meet against New England foes] and we had a strong showing there. If we look at that and the athletes progressing according to how they competed in those two meets, I think we’re a very strong team.
Are there any standouts from last year which the team will have a tough time replacing?
SF-C: Our team was fairly young in all areas last year. That’s one of the reasons why I think we could look forward to a very strong season this year. We’re a little bit older and definitely much more mature. We’re used to strong competition so that should bode well for us. We are bringing back a very strong team.
Who in particular are you looking to have a big season?
SF-C: Well I mean, we have a few upperclassmen who I think should perform well. We’ve had some good performances and good seasons with Maria Garman ’19 our captain. She’s a multi event athlete, so she does the pentathlon indoors and then she does the heptathlon outdoors. She is also a very strong high jumper who has qualified for regionals in the high jump. Another one of our captains is Cha’Mia Rothwell ’20. She has done very well for herself in her two seasons here. She’s a junior who has won several titles at Heps and is looking to continue on that path.
We also have some very strong ladies who had phenomenal cross-country seasons [including Georgia Fear ’20 and Lauren Sapone ’20]. I would think that those are really the nucleus of our team. We also have some very strong first-years that have performed well, and so we’re looking for them to add onto those veterans that we have.
What goals have you set for the season?
SF-C: Track and field is very different — we can’t necessarily set a win goal heading into the season, but I think even when we come in to fall preseason in September, we’re talking about the Heptagonals, and that meet is not until February. For us, we’re looking to perform at every meet and to get better at every meet. You’re always looking to try to improve your skills while also motivating your peers to train harder. We’re always looking to contend for the Heptagonal title any time we step on the track or on a cross-country course. Our cross-country team finished second in the northeast region this year, so that bodes well — bringing in the runner-up team with those folks because those are our distance kids. I think we just want to perform at a high level. We want to focus in and not look past any meet and build upon every meet going into the titles.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and length.