As promised, here is the preview for the top six women's university Cross Country teams in Indiana based on their finishing position in last year's NCAA Great Lakes Cross Country Regional Championship (GLXC): Butler (2nd), Notre Dame (4th), Indiana (6th), Purdue (13th), IUPUI (18th), and Indiana State University (20th). Because I am a (running) Professor Emeritus from IUPUI, I will start with the Jaguars and then take the Dawgs, Irish, Hoosiers, Boilermakers, and Sycamores in order.
Like most of these teams, two of the Jags runners from last year's GLXC used up their last year of eligibility. Nevertheless, with a strong core of young runners and some new additions, IUPUI hopes to remain well within the top 20 and may threaten the top 15.
|IUPUI Women's XC Team 2014|
Rachel Zajac and Allie De Baker provided the 1st and 5th place finishers last year. But even though Zajac finished 35 places ahead of the 2nd runner in, Jordan Hanaway, there were only 36 seconds between them. Hanaway seems poised to continue to move up and by season's end, she could well run faster than Zajac did last year.
If she is joined by junior Leah Brooks, who has been one of their steadiest runners, and sophomore Savannah Turner, who is hoping to build off of a dynamite track season, the Jags could be dangerous.
Other runners who may move up include senior Amy Mattingly, juniors Lexi Hunt and Julie Riggins,
and sophomore Valeria Guzman. Coach McDaniel also pulled in a lot of talented runners this past year and some of those recruits may push up into the top bunch by the end of the year. Zoey Johnson and Marina Konow, at least on paper, appear to be the two most likely to make that kind of transition.
The Dawgs appear to be loaded again this year. Although they lost the runners who finished first and fifth for them last year, Katie Clark (4th overall) and Kirsty Legg (23rd), they have the runners to fill in pretty much without a break. The trio of senior, Mara Olson, junior, Olivia Platt, and
sophomore, Lauren Wood, should form a formidable trio at the top. They finished 9th, 15th, and 16th
last year at the GLXC and were all within 25 seconds of Clark. Senior Katie Good is another top 30 runner from last year's GLXC who would seemed poised to make another big contribution. As with the Men's team, Coach Matt Roe is transitioning away from dependence on British runners. Last year, their first and 5th finishers at the GLXC were British; this year it looks like the top 3 will all be Americans although there are a couple of Brits who are seniors who may be an important part of their overall mix.
lost their two top finishers from last year's GLXC in Kelly Curran (3rd) and Alexa Aragon (20th) so a slide might be the most likely outcome in 2014, although probably not far. The next four were all sophs and juniors who finished within a minute of Aragon. Junior, Molly Seidel
(33rd),and seniors, Gabby Gonzales (37th) and Hannah Eckstein (41st) will be aiming at top 30
finishes and if one or more can break up into the top 20, any Irish slide will be short indeed.
Senior, Emily Frydrych, will also likely figure in the top five.
loses almost as much at the top with their 1st runner last year, Samantha Ginther (10th) and their third runner, Erica Ridderman (35th). To maintain their position comfortably in the top ten, their terrific trio of sophomores, Amanda Behnke (31st),
Bethany Neely (67th),
and Chanli Mundy (75th),
will need to show solid improvement this year. If Behnke can crack the top 20 and Neely and Mundy advance into the top 50, the Hoosiers should be in good shape.If junior Brianna Johnson, and senior, Kelsey Duerksen can also make steady strides toward the top, the Hoosiers might not need much of a contribution from strong new recruits, like Jill Whitman.
like others here, relied on seniors last year in their top five--their first runner in was Blair Doney (53rd), and fifth, Linsey Daluga. But the Boilermakers were not as dependent as some others on their leading senior. They had five runners who are coming back who finished within 45 seconds of Doney. If they can keep that tight pack together and move up as a group, Purdue should definitely move up in the region. Key contenders in that pack include juniors Laura Maibuecher (68th)
and Michelle Potter (69th)
as well as senior Kristen Fritts (86th).
Their promising freshman from last year, Brynn Olingar (84th), does not show up on this year's roster so they will be counting on junior Sharise Lund (95th) to step up.
The Sycamores relied on seniors last year; their 2nd through 4th finishers in the GLXC were all seniors, Jessica Zangmeister (93rd), Leeann Michi (111th), and Kalli Dalton (146th). So their position in the top 20 is definitely at risk.They should be led by senior Nicole Lucas (83rd),
their top finisher at GLXC last year .And she should get solid support from sophomore Sydney Dickerson (158th).
Red-shirt frosh, Taylor Austin, may also be among the leaders.
But after that it is hard to see who can step up to form the remainder of a contending pack of Sycamores.
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