Women’s cross country team looks to improve on MAC Championship finish

Brad Frank and Brad Frank

Sometimes moving forward is the best thing to do.

Wanting to escape from the disappointing seventh-place finish at the Mid-American Conference Championships, the BG women’s cross country team will look to rebound tomorrow at the 6K Great Lakes Region Meet. The top two teams and top four individuals at the meet will advance to the national championships later this month.

‘The women have had a very strong season, winning against 80 percent of the teams we have raced this season, so they have shown their ability as a team, and the goal is to have a strong team effort this final meet to finish off the season the way they deserve to finish it,’ said coach Cami Wells. ‘The conference meet is over, and we are not looking back but focusing on the future and [using] that meet to serve as extra motivation this weekend.’

BG enters the race amid a very strong field. Five MAC schools rank in the top 15 in the region. Kent State, which is ranked 15th in the region, has finished higher than BG twice out of three races this season. BG won the Falcon Invite last month, with the Golden Flashes finishing second.

In 2007, the Falcons finished 21st at the regional meet, and last season, BG improved six spots to 15th. This season Wells believes improving again will be quite a challenge, considering the strength of the field.

‘We lost three of our top five runners from last year to graduation this season, so for us to shoot to replicate the top 15 finish from last year is a good goal for the team,’ she said. ‘We know that it will take a full team effort but we also know we can race successfully against Kent State and the rest of the teams ranked in the top 15 and put ourselves in a position to finish well in the region.’

The top 15 features six Big Ten teams – including No. 1 Michigan – and MAC champion Miami, which is the highest ranked conference school at No. 7.

Heather Conger, Abby Koch, Carly Wells, Andrea Pereira de Almeida, Sally Kandie, Ashley Fischer, and Barbara Powers will be the seven Falcons to compete tomorrow. Fischer, Pereira de Almeida, and Wells all raced last year in the regional meet. In 2006, Wells led BG at the regional meet as a freshman, becoming the highest finisher for BG since 2000.

With some experience, good depth, and a healthy team heading into the race, BG is well-prepared to move forward with another solid race tomorrow.

The Falcons begin running at 1:15 p.m., and the meet will be held at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind.