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JHU Women's Cross Country NCAA Preview

Nov. 19, 2010

BALTIMORE, MD - The Johns Hopkins women's cross country team will compete at the NCAA Championships this weekend for the fourth straight year. Mideast Region Coach of the Year Bobby Van Allen and the Blue Jays will look to improve upon last season's seventh-place finish. In its two previous appearances in the NCAA Championships Hopkins finished 13th (2008) and 29th (2007). 

Where They'll Run: The 2010 NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships will be hosted by Wartburg College on Saturday, November 20 at the Max Cross Country Course in Waverly, IA. The women's 6k race is set for a 12 pm start. 

How They Got Here: JHU won both its third consecutive Centennial Conference crown and a third straight Mideast Regional Championship this season. The Blue Jays totaled 28 points and placed five runners in the top 12 to capture the conference title and tallied 68 points, their lowest total ever in the regional race, with three runners in the top 10 to claim the regional championship. 

Who to Look For: The Blue Jays will be led by junior Cecilia Furlong, who captured both the Centennial Conference and Mideast Regional individual titles earlier this year. Senior Christina Valerio and freshman Lara Shegoski finished third and fourth, respectively, at the Centennial Conference Championships and each placed in the top 10 (Shegoski - 5th, Valerio - 10th) at the NCAA Regional Championships last weekend. Valerio competed at the 2009 national championships and Shegoski was the top freshman finisher in the conference and region this season. 

Other Blue Jays to look out for include seniors Megan Brower and Elizabeth Laseter and sophomores Liz Provost and Annie Monagle. Brower and Laseter have both had the best seasons of their careers in 2010, each having earned all-conference and all-region honors this season. Provost will run in NCAA Championships for the second time after placing 28th at regionals and eighth in the conference this season. Monagle rounds out the JHU top seven runners. 



The Contenders: Fourth-ranked Johns Hopkins will be competing with a number of quality teams for the national championship on Saturday. Middlebury enters the race ranked first in the nation after a fourth place finish last season. Second-ranked St. Lawrence, last year's runner-up, returns a strong cast that includes defending individual champion Wendy Pavlus. Defending national champion Wisconsin Eau-Claire comes in to the race ranked fifth in the nation. 

Coaches View: Coach Van Allen is pleased with his team's accomplishments thus far this season and feels confident heading into Saturday's race. "We're healthy and running very strong right now," Van Allen said. "We've battled through some tough injuries and illness in the last two years and things have all come together this season. This team has outperformed expectations all season long and I'm excited about the limitless potential we have."