Aug. 30, 2005
Army is expected to win its second straight Patriot League women's cross country title according to the 2005 preseason poll voted on by the League's head coaches and sports information directors. The Black Knights tallied 93 points and were awarded nine first place votes. Navy was tagged as the next closest competitor with 82 points and four first place votes, while American (73 points) and Bucknell (70 points), followed with one and two first place nods, respectively. One point separated the next two teams with Colgate coming in fifth with 44 points and Lehigh sixth with 43. Rounding out the poll were Lafayette with 28 points and Holy Cross with 15.
The Black Knights will hit the courses this season in hopes of their sixth Patriot League Championship crown, having won each year from 1994-1997 and again in 2004. All but one of the team's five All-League performers from a year ago will be back this season, led by Army's top finisher, senior Jill Hajec (Camden, Del./Ceasar Rodney Senior). Hajec pulled off a sixth place finish in a time of 23:12.21, earning her second career All-League mention.
Senior Myra Markey (Freeland, Mich./Freeland) and junior Margaret Clark (Waukesha, Wis./Waukesha) came in eighth and ninth, respectively, at last year's championship. Clark was also a recipient of the League's Runner of the Week award on Oct. 19, 2004. Junior Andrea Edgar (Quincy, Ill./Quincy Notre Dame) is the other returning All-Leaguer after a 13th place finish, clocking in at 23:37.16.
If Navy continues its upward climb since joining the Patriot League in the sport of cross country, then the Mids could be poised to win their first championship in 2005. The team's inaugural year resulted in a third place finish, while last year's squad came in second by a margin of 10 points.
The Mids bring back two of their three All-League runners in Emily Castro (Centennial, Colo./Cherry Creek) and Kyleigh Millhouse (Boiling Springs, Pa./Boiling Springs). Castro was the third place finisher a year ago with a time of 22:58.30 and came in 28th at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional, while Millhouse came in 11th at the League championship with a time of 23:28.72. Also back in uniform are top-20 finishers, sophomore Arwyn Becker (Avon, Colo./Mountain View) and junior Justine Whipple (Duxbury, Mass./Duxbury), who came in 17th and 20th, respectively.
Despite American's back-to-back titles in 2002 and 2003, the polls only show the Eagles mirroring their third place finish from 2004 again this season, even though two-time All-American Keira Carlstrom (Oakton, Va./Oakton) will be back in action. Carlstrom returns to Washington, D.C., for her senior campaign with two individual cross country titles under her belt, having won last year's in a time of 21:44.39. The 2004 Cross Country Scholar-Athlete of the Year competed as an individual at last year's NCAA Championship, earning All-American status for the second season in a row with a 17th place finish in Terre Haute, Ind. Also back for the Eagles is senior Zaia Wharton (Elkins, W. Va./Elkins), who ran to fourth place at the 2004 League Championship with a time of 23:00.53.
Bucknell may have a hard time returning to the type of championship success it had from 1998-2001, having won all four of their Patriot League titles in that time frame, with only one All-League runner back this season. Junior Leanna Nastase (Beaverdale, Pa./Forest Hills) finished 12th last season in a time of 23:33.96, for her first career All-League recognition. Sophomore Erin Cramer-Hart (Slippery Rock, Pa./Slippery Rock Area) was also a top-20 finisher, missing All-League status by just four places, coming in 18th in a time of 23:46.76. The Bison's other returning top-20 runner is senior Kayla Halloran (Norwell, Mass./Norwell), whose 23:47.29 time placed her 19th.
Much of Colgate's success will depend upon the performances of senior Lia Cross (Skaneateles, N.Y./Skaneateles) and junior Hannah Failing (Deerfield, N.Y./Whitesboro). Cross was Colgate's lone All-Leaguer from a year ago, finishing 14th in a time of 23:38.60. The one-time Patriot League Runner of the Week earned her second All-League mention in 2004. Failing was consistently one of the Raiders' top three runners last year and ended her Patriot League season with a 16th place finish at the championship.
Lehigh has fallen to the middle of the pack in recent years, topping out at second place in both 2000 and 1993, having yet to win a championship. A bright spot for the Mountain Hawks is the return of junior Jen Schappert (North East, Md./Rising Sun), who was second at last year's championship with a time of 22:53.62. Schappert was named Runner of the Week on Sept. 27 after winning the dual meet against archrival Lafayette. She also placed 19th at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional with a 21:52 time.
Senior Andrea Luebbe (Bozeman, Mont./Bozeman) should make an impact for the Mountain Hawks this year, after being plagued by injury in 2004. Luebbe was first team All-Patriot League in 2003, finishing eighth at the championship. Junior Carolyn House (Apo, N.Y./Patch American) is back this season and was Lehigh's second finisher at last year's championship, coming in 21st in a time of 23:52.52.
Lafayette's top returner from last year's Patriot League Championship Meet is sophomore Frannie Morro (Stockholm, N.J./Pope John XXIII), who completed the 6K course in a time of 24:27.75 and was selected as Lafayette's Outstanding Freshman in 2004. Senior Hannah Tuson (Yorktown Heights, N.Y./Somers) should also be a contributor this year, after a 46th place finish at last year's championship. Tuson was honored as Lafayette's Outstanding Runner on last season's women's cross country team.
Holy Cross' best performer back in uniform from last year's championship is junior Megan Hyland (Rye, N.Y./Rye), who came in 56th with a time of 24:54.40. Grace Doherty (Scranton, Pa./Scranton Prep) returns for her senior year, coming off a 63rd place finish at the 2004 League meet.
The 2005 women's cross country season kicks off Friday, Sept. 2 with Bucknell, Lafayette, Lehigh and Navy all in action. The Patriot League Championships will take place Saturday, Oct. 29 at Lehigh University.
2005 Patriot League Women's Cross Country Preseason Poll
|Rank||Team||Points (1st)||2004 Championship Finish|
|1. ||Army||93 (9) ||1st|
|2. ||Navy||82 (4) ||2nd|
|3. ||American||73 (1)||3rd|
|4. ||Bucknell||70 (2)||4th|
|8. ||Holy Cross||15||8th|