By Anna Poulter-Hendrickson
Special to GoHolyCross.com
Hundreds of miles in the summer, often all alone, on the road and in the gym, can lead to success on the cross country trails in the fall. The Holy Cross women's cross country team has been putting the time in on the road in the summer and seeing the fruits of its labor in the fall. The Crusaders' efforts in the off season have shown, in each of the past four seasons they have moved up at the Patriot League Championship, finishing fifth at the 2009 Championship, their best team finish since 2001. Head coach Jim Kavanagh, the Richard L. Ahern '51 Director of Cross Country, Track & Field, expects the 2010 Crusaders to continue on the upward climb. "Expectations are high to move up in the Patriot League standing as well as contend for a top 10 spot at the New England Championship," said Kavanagh.
Kavanagh returns 11 letterwinners from a year ago and welcomes 12 newcomers, including five of six top runners from a year ago. "The team looks to be stronger than last year's squad since they return five of the top six runners including the Patriot League runner up, captain Paige Sutherland," said Kavanagh. Leading the Crusaders on the course this fall will be junior captain Paige Sutherland, whom a year ago became the the eighth Crusader in program history and the first since 1998 to earn first-team All-Patriot League honors after finishing second at the Patriot League Championship. As a Crusader, Sutherland has been the top team finisher in 13 of the 14 races she has entered. She hit a personal-best mark of 17:58.16 in the 5k at the Murray Keatinge Invitational in 2009, breaking the 18 minute mark for the first time in her collegiate career.
Seniors Jacqueline Imse and Sarah Mellea will toe the line with Sutherland. A year ago Imse was the second Crusader to cross the line in four races, while Mellea was the second to finish in two. Both Imse and Mellea had their best finishes of the year at the Blue Devil Invitational when Imse took sixth in the 5k race with a time of 18:51.80 and Mellea finished ninth with a time of 18:57.96.
Fimognari will also serve as a captain for the 2010 season.
Fimognari finished with a personal-best 5k time of 20:50.17 at the
Blue Devil Invitational last season. Sophomore Lizzie Harkins
was the first rookie to cross the line in seven races last fall,
earning Patriot League Rookie of the week honors after the New
England Championship. Harkins broke the 19 minute mark at the Blue
Devil Invitational with a time of 18:56.85 and will look to improve
on that time in her sophomore campaign.
Senior Kathleen Kasper, along with juniors Katelyn Andree and Elizabeth Humphries, return to the course to lead the Crusaders, while the team will look to the return of athletes and gained experience of others to add to the strength of the squad. Seniors Emily Nasetta and Rose Calvo return from a semester abroad to add to the depth of the team, while senior Martha Quinn and sophomores Stephanie Bray and Katie Rochford have a year of competition under their belt and sophomore Clare Murphy looks to make a return from an injury that held her out of competition in 2009.
Kavanagh will bolster his lineup with the addition of 12 newcomers, including first-year members sophomore Emma Healy and senior Stephanie John. "A talented group of runners in the class of 2014 will make the battle for travel spots for the trip to Notre Dame and for the Patriot League Championship very competitive," says Kavanagh. Freshmen Liz Crowley, Kerry Dunne, Beth Fullerton, Mary Fullerton, Emily Hughes, Allie Hunter, Abigal Hynes-Houston, Katherine Marrone, Vicki Tiedemann and Sandra van den Heuvel will look to leave their mark on Mount St. James this fall.
The Crusaders will kick off the season at the Bryant Invitational on Sept. 3, followed by the Blue Devil Invitational at Central Connecticut (Sept. 11). A busy weekend then awaits the Crusaders as some runners will compete at the National Catholic Championship at Notre Dame (Sept. 17) while others will participate in the UMass-Dartmouth Invitational (Sept. 18).
Holy Cross kicks off October at the Murray Keatinge Invitational at Maine (Oct. 2), then heads to the New England Championship one week later in Boston (Oct. 9). On October 16, the Crusaders will compete at the Leopard Invitational before racing in the Central Connecticut Mini Meet on October 22 and then finish out the month at the Patriot League Championship (Oct. 30). The Crusaders' schedule ends with the NCAA Northeast Regional (Nov. 13) and the ECAC Championship (Nov. 20).