2018 CWRU Women’s Cross Country Season Preview

2018 CWRU Women’s Cross Country Season Preview

The Case Western Reserve University women's cross country team will kick off its 2018 campaign this week, when the squad plays host to the Sudeck Sunset Classic Stampede on Friday, August 31st at 5:30 p.m.

The team is coming off an eighth place among 35 teams at the 2017 NCAA Division III Great Lakes Regional Championships and a seventh-place finish at the UAA Championships.  Despite graduating its top runner from last year, Danielle Kulpins, the roster is slated to feature four athletes who finished among the top-30% of finishers at the regional championships last year.

"The women's team is looking stronger than I anticipated and it was thrilling seeing some individuals step up in preseason," said Head Coach Kathy Lanese, who will be starting her 18th season at the team's helm in 2018.  "It is a good sign when I see a cohesive yet competitive nature in the time trials.  Also, captains Jennifer Hoffmann and Isa Torres-Padin were enthusiastic and conscientious and brought the nucleus of the team together this past week surrounded by much support."

Among the 19 runners on the team's roster are 14 returners from last year's team, including four of the team's top-five scorers from the Regional Championships.  The team's top decorated returner is junior Madeline Lindemann, who had a breakout cross country season in 2017, earning All-UAA Second Team honors with an 11th-place finish at the conference championship meet, and placed 36th at the Great Lakes Region Championships to narrowly miss all-region honors.

Senior team co-captains Hoffmann (44th at the NCAA Regionals) and Torres-Padin (63rd at the NCAA Regionals), along with junior Vanessa Pasadyn (74th at the NCAA Regionals), are primed once again for strong cross country seasons.

"Those four runners have been our most consistent and dependable runners both in cross country and track last season," said Lanese.  "I see our next spots to be filled by any number of women on this squad including [senior] Ellen Sears, [sophomore] Kiera Olson and [senior] Marissa Miyagi, who all had some remarkable performances last spring.  Those three can bring strength into our racing pack."

Also looking to make an impact in 2018 are seniors Maria DeRenzo and Sophie Trikeriotis, junior Mallorie Mitchem and sophomores Olivia Battistoni, Cara Giannuzzi, Grace Kemerer and Madison Vargo.

In addition to the returning members of the team, five new members have been added to the squad for the upcoming season.

"So far two freshman, Julia Kocherzat and Maddy Nacci have been significant in the workouts and trials and I believe these two have the potential to gain a scoring position," said Lanese.

Other additions to the roster with a chance to contribute include junior Shahed Eid, who has competed for the CWRU track and field team the last two years, and freshmen Susanna Henry and Claire Keanna.

The Spartans will open their season with a pair of meets, the Sudeck Sunset Classic Stampede and the Gator Invitational in Meadville, Pennsylvania, before traveling to Akron for the All-Ohio Championships on September 29th.  After tune-ups with an Alumni Race on October 6th and at the Inter-regional Rumble in Oberlin, Ohio on October 13, the Spartans will the turn their attention to the 2018 University Athletic Association Championships in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

"Our number one goal is to improve the UAA conference standings from last season," said Lanese.  "Improving in a strong conference always gives us leverage for improvement in our region."

The 2018 NCAA Division III Great Lakes Region Championships will be hosted by Franklin University in Shelbyville, Indiana on Saturday, November 10th, with the NCAA Division III Championships scheduled for the following Saturday at the Lake Breeze Golf Course in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

First, however, CWRU will aim to defend its title at its lone intercollegiate meet of the 2018 season, the Sudeck Sunset Classic Stampede, on Friday.  Joining the Spartans at the meet will be competitors from John Carroll University and Ursuline College.

The women's race is scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. start, to be followed by the men's race at 6:15 p.m.  Complete results and team scores, along with a recap, will be posted to athletics.case.edu following the completion of competition on Friday.