The run for No. 1

The women’s cross country team is finally getting some well-earned respect as they were given a third-place preseason ranking in the Mid-American Conference behind Ohio and Akron last Thursday.

“I expected that’s where we would get ranked,” coach Cami Wells said. “We know where we want to be at the end of the season, but rankings don’t mean a lot. OU is the obvious favorite since they only lost one girl, but the MAC is a very competitive conference and we know you can’t overlook anybody.”

The Falcons should know that better than most. Last season they were ranked sixth in the preseason, but earned a second-place finish at the MAC meet in Buffalo, just behind the Bobcats.

Some incoming freshmen are looking to help the Falcons on their way to the top of the MAC.

First is a local girl, Barbara Powers, from Bowling Green High School, who is a potential top-three runner for the Falcons.

“I’ve always been impressed with Barbara’s competitiveness and work ethic and I think she’ll make a nice addition to the team,” Wells said.

Next is Megan Kelsey, a true long distance runner specializing in the 5K and 10K, who will be a power for the Falcons.

“Megan looks strong,” Wells said. “I’ve been really happy with her preparation this summer.”

Andrea Scharer is a true freshman who could be the potential No. 2 or 3 runner. She comes in after a very successful career at Clay High School.

Heather Conger and Courtney Krummert are two girls who were recruited primarily for their mid-distance running ability but had strong cross country careers in high school and are looking to help out the Falcons on their way to a championship this season.

“Courtney worked very hard this summer. She could be a person who could help us a lot this fall,” Wells said. “Heather did real well her senior year in cross country and has done a very good job so far.”

Carly Bates is returning for her junior season and is looking like the No.1 runner for the Falcons.

“Carly is in very good shape right now,” Wells said. “She’s made some improvements and she will be one of the leaders on the team.”

After a strong track season last year, Cara Butler also returns for the Falcons and is looking great for the upcoming season.

“Cara did a good job this summer,” Wells said. “This is the best she’s ever looked this early in the season.”

The Falcons usual front-runner, Jamie Roflow, is out with a hip injury which will hamper her from competing until after the first meet, maybe later. She’s been doing pool and treadmill training in the meantime, but Wells is confident that Roflow’s toughness will bring her past the injury in due time.

With a balanced team of tough freshmen and seasoned veterans, the Falcons are looking to take the MAC by storm this year.

“We’re just trying to get the best out of each person. The team has set a lot of hard goals for themselves,” Wells said. “We got second last year and we just won’t be happy until we get first.”