WILMINGTON, North Carolina - After turning in strong performances at the historic Penn Relays, the UNCW track and field teams head to Harrisonburg, Va., this weekend for the 2014 Colonial Athletic Association Championships.

The meet is hosted by James Madison on Friday and Saturday, May 2-3, at University Park. Events begin Friday with the Women’s Javelin at 10 a.m., and close with the Men's 10,000-meter run at 8:30 p.m. Saturday’s events kick off with events in the Men's Decathlon at 9 a.m. and ends with the Men's 4x400 Relay at 4:10 p.m.

On the men’s side, the Seahawks hope to continue a tradition of stellar performances at the conference meet. Since 2005, the men have won four titles and fashioned four runner-up finishes. The team has finished second the last three years and hopes to return to the top of the podium in 2014.

“We’ve had a great tradition at the conference meet,” said UNCW Track and Field Head Coach Jim Sprecher. “We won our first championship back in 1997. Since then, we’ve been very competitive, have won 10 championships and have probably been runner-up the majority of the other years.”

The men return three CAA champions - Cam Walton (Long Jump), Aerial Chapman (Triple Jump), Anthony Colon (400m Hurdles), along with All-Conference performer Kevin Webb (Pole Vault). The quartet will be joined by several conference-leading runners, including Cam Shaw (100m), Dylan Skinner (800m and 1500m), Matt Foster (110m Hurdles), and Cody Love (400 Hurdles).

“Experience is always important for any team. When you have people that have been there, they know what to expect and the atmosphere, which will always be beneficial. It’s definitely an advantage to have guys like that return,” said Sprecher.

The women, meanwhile, look to be in contention once again after their third place finish in 2013. The team will be led by conference champion Maleena Reid (100m) and the top-ranked high jumper in the CAA, Margaret Edwards. Reid is the CAA’s leading runner in the 100m and 200m.

“On the women’s side, a lot of people are counting us out, but we have been really pleased with how the girls have competed this year and not letting that set them back,” added Sprecher. “They continue to prepare hard and compete well going into the meet. The women’s meet will be anyone’s to win and hopefully we will be in contention.”

Reid and Edwards will be joined by All-Conference performer Dn Cherry (Hammer). Cherry finished third in the CAA meet at Towson last year. Mid-distance standout Emily Mauro (3rd in the 800m) and Hailey Blackburn (2nd in the 100m) round out the leaders for the women’s team heading into the conference meet.

Sprecher said: “There will only be three teams competing in the men’s meet, so it will be more about depth in the various events. As for the women, it will be more about the quality performances and getting the first, second or thirds, because there are seven teams competing.”

The men will compete against Northeastern and William and Mary. The women will be up against  the College of Charleston, Delaware, James Madison, Northeastern, Towson and William and Mary.

“When student- athletes come here, they’re motivated to help win championships, but championships aren’t decided on paper. We still have to go up there, take care of business and compete the way we’re capable.”