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Associate Head Coach Gavin O'Neal (left) and Director of Cross Country and Track & Field Willy Wood have five new additions to the...
Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics/Gene Boyars

Cross Country/Track & Field Benefits From Outstanding New Volunteer Coaches

NEW YORK - With the 2011-12 Columbia sports season well underway, the Lions cross country and track & field athletes have benefited from the expertise and coaching of four new volunteer assistants and a new director of operations.

The added experience and instruction provided by volunteer assistants Joel Phillip, Sarana Hyatt, Kirsty Smith and Erison Hurtault and new director of operations Todd Weiss has strengthened the very talented staff of 18th-year Director of Cross Country and Track & Field Willy Wood.

Joel Phillip - Men's & Women's Sprints/Hurdles
Joel Phillip brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Columbia track & field program. Phillip represented Grenada in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and had a distinguished track career at Arizona State University from 2007-10. 

In 2010, Phillip was a national champion and All-American for both the indoor and the outdoor 4x400.  He was a member of ASU's 2008 National Indoor Champion team and was he NCAA runner-up in the indoor 400m. He was also an All-American in the 2008 NCAA men's outdoor 400 m. Phillip served as the Sun Devils' men's sprints team captain from 2008-10.

Prior to joining Arizona State, Phillip attended Central Arizona College where he won the 2007 NJCAA national men's decathlon championship and the 2006 national men's 4x400m relay championship.

He has also served as the elementary school track & field coach at Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn, N.Y.  

Sarana Hyatt - Men's & Women's Sprints/Jumps
Sarana Hyatt is an accomplished collegiate pentathlete and heptathlete at Sacred Heart University and will work closely with Columbia's sprinters and jumpers. From 2006-11, Hyatt was one of the most dominant pentathletes/heptathletes in the Northeast.

For the 2011 outdoor season, she garnered All-Northeast Conference honors in the high jump and All-New England honors in the heptathlon.  In 2008, she earned All-NEC recognition in the 4x400m, 100 m high hurdles and the long jump. In 2007, she was All-New England as a heptathlete and All-NEC in the 400m intermediate hurdles, the 4x100 m and the 4x400 m.

Hyatt received All-ECAC honors as an indoor pentathlete in 2008-09. She was All-NEC for indoor high jump, long jump, 55m high hurdles and 4x400m  and All-New England for the pentathlon for three straight years (2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09).

Kirsty Smith - Men's & Women's Distance
Kirsty Smith joined the Columbia cross country/track & field staff in the summer of 2011 and has been a valuable addition due to her experience competing at both the collegiate and international levels.

Smith represented Canada in 2006 at the World Cross Country Championships and at the NACAC Cross Country Championships. She also was a member of the Brooks Canada Marathon Project in 2007.

Smith graduated from Villanova in 2005 and ran cross country and the 1500m and 5000m events for the Wildcats. As a senior in 2004, Smith was a key member of Villanova's cross country team that finished seventh at the NCAA Cross Country Championships. Smith's 3000m steeplechase time of 10:55.00 stands as the fifth-fastest time in Villanova history.

Erison Hurtault  - Men's & Women's Sprints
Erison Hurtault was one of Columbia's most decorated track athletes, competing for the Lions from 2003-04 to 2006-07. As a volunteer assistant coach, he will share experience competing in the Ivy League and national spotlight and his commitment to excellence with the current Columbia sprinters.

A high-pressure performer who was able to perform at his best in the biggest championship events, Hurtault had his most impressive year as a senior in 2006-07. Hurtault earned All-America honors at the 2007 NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 400m, crossing in a school-record 45.50 and finishing third.  He was a member of the 4x800m team that captured Columbia's first Championship of America victory at the Penn Relays since 1938 (7:22.64). Hurtault was the Outdoor Heps Male Performer of the Meet in 2006 and 2007 and earned All-America honors after clocking a 400m time of 46.48 time to place sixth at the 2006-07 NCAA Indoor Championships.  As a senior Hurtault set the school, Ivy League and meet record at the Indoor Heps in the 400m when he ran a 46.34 to earn first-team all-conference honors. He was also the winner of the 2007 Connie S. Maniatty Award.

Todd Weisse - Director of Operations
Todd Weisse will move from his position of as a volunteer assistant coach to director of operations. In his new role, Weiss helps in the coordination of team events and travel.

Weisse has served as a volunteer assistant since October 2009, working primarily with cross country and middle distance athletes.

Weisse is also the head coach of the New York Flyers Marathon Training Program and the co-founder and head coach of the Williamsburg Track Club. He has previous coaching experiences with Urban Athletics and St. Bernard's School.

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