Women’s cross country expecting strong results

Brad Frank and Brad Frank

So many things are in favor of the BG women’s cross country team entering the Mid-American Championships tomorrow.

The Falcons are coming off of a disappointing fifth-place finish at the 2008 MAC Championships and are motivated to prove that the finish was a fluke.

Key runners Barbara Powers (hamstring) and Heather Conger (illness) have returned to full strength recently, and the team is carrying momentum into tomorrow’s noon race at Ohio University with a win two weeks ago at the Falcon Invite.

Still, securing a MAC title will be a matter of combining all of these factors and executing properly tomorrow. The team wants a top-three finish and knows a championship will take a tremendous effort by everyone.

‘We’ll have to do everything we can to put ourselves in position to be in contention for the top three spots,’ said coach Cami Wells. ‘They need to have best team effort to this point, to where we have everyone run to their full capability.

‘They’ve put in all the hard work. I’ve been very proud of their efforts to this point. It’s a matter of confidence and putting it all together on the same day.’

BG is led by a pair of seniors, Andrea Pereira de Almeida and Carly Wells, who each have a wealth of experience. Freshman Abby Koch has performed well this season, finishing in the top five for BG in every meet so far. And juniors Conger, Powers, Sally Kandie, Autumn Dettmann, Ashley Fischer, and Megan Kelsey will be the other Falcons to compete tomorrow.

Pereira de Almeida believes her experience will guide her and allow her to be comfortable tomorrow in her last conference title race.

‘I’m not really as nervous as I have been in the past, because I’ve gone through it before,’ she said. ‘I’m excited to go see what I can do. I don’t have anything to lose right now.’

Pereira de Almeida placed fifth for BG and 54th last season, and she wants to improve that finish.

‘Individually, I want to place in the top 20 and get my best time in four years,’ she said.

Carly Wells wants to have another strong placing like last season, when she placed 21st in the conference.

‘I want to get in the top 20, and I ideally want to get all-MAC and a [personal record],’ Wells said.

The seniors have big aspirations for the team at tomorrow’s race.

‘As long as everyone gives it their all, does their best, we can’t ask for anything more than that,’ Pereira de Almeida said. ‘Whatever happens, happens. It’s just going to take everyone having a great day on the same day. Ultimately the ideal goal is to be MAC champions, but if we finish in the top three, I’ll be happy.’

‘We have the potential to do well even when we’re not all healthy. But since we’re all healthy, it’s a big advantage for us and we just have to take advantage of that,’ Wells said. ‘I want to make sure no one regrets anything.’

At this point, their coach is focusing on ensuring the team is as healthy as possible, now that the amount of training in practice has decreased, and she wants the team to be relaxed entering the race tomorrow.

‘We’re really trying to get them to understand that they need to be as relaxed as possible at this point,’ Wells said. ‘You don’t want to tense up and get so nervous that you keep yourself from doing what you’ve been training to do all year.’

Wells believes another key to a successful race tomorrow is to execute as a team.

‘They’ve put in all the hard work. I’ve been very proud of their efforts to this point,’ Wells said. ‘It’s a matter of confidence and putting it all together on the same day.’