Season Preview: Gallaudet women's cross country looks to build off last year's success
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Gallaudet University women’s cross country team returns 75 percent of its runners from last season as the Bison set out into the 2012 season. The team, overall, is still young and inexperienced but several strong runners and leaders will help guide the Bison this season.
“Our women’s team is relatively young however we have many returning athletes, which brings a sense of stability and maturity to the program,” said Gallaudet men’s and women’s cross country head coach Mikaela Hudson, now in her second season at the helm. “We have committed ourselves to succeed academically and athletically.”
Sophomore Lindsey Corthell (Orlando, Fla.) is coming off a strong 2012 track and field season and is the top runner on the GU cross country team. Junior Shadoe Williamson (Austin, Texas), who placed 22nd overall at the 2011 North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) championships, will follow her. Williamson just missed earning all-conference honors last year by one finish spot in the conference championship meet. The top 21 runners earn all-conference honors. Gallaudet finished eighth overall as a team in the conference championship out of nine officla teams.
Junior Radoslava Slavova (Scranton, Pa.) was 31st at the NEAC championships last season and sophomore Rachel Young (Leesburg, Va.) has improved a lot since making her collegiate debut last season. Sophomore Payal Sharmacharya (Olathe, Kan.) and senior Olivia Malcolm (St. Augustine, Fla.) are the other returning starters for the Bison.
“Many of our returning athletes are striving to improve on their personal bests from last season. Their drive has inspired the drive of our younger athletes. They too are equally eager to set high standards this season and future cross country seasons to come,” said Hudson.
One of the top newcomers is freshman Erika Linstaedt (North Branch, Minn.) but will start the season on the sidelines as she recovers from an injury. Sophomore Whitney James (Salt Lake City, Utah) and freshmen Nicole Musey (Prince George, British Columbia) and Jill Schellekens (Vancouver, British Columbia) will get a chance to compete and help the Bison in their meets.
Gallaudet begins the 2012 schedule in New Wilmington, Pa., to participate in the Fisher Invitational on Sept. 1 hosted by Westminster College. The following Saturday the Bison make the short trip to Westminster, Md., to run in the Green Terror Invitational on the campus of McDaniel College. GU will get a sneak peak at the NEAC championship course when they run at the Penn St.-Abington Invitational at Lorimer Park, Pa., on Sept. 15. The Bison close out the month of September in Neville, Pa., at the Dickinson Long/Short Course Invitational.
The Bison will take a week off before heading back to Pennsylvania to run at the DeSales Invitational on Oct. 13. Gallaudet will then make the local trip to Utica Park in Thurmont, Md., to run in the Hood College Open Meet on Oct. 20. The NEAC conference championship will be run on Oct. 27. If Gallaudet has runners that have qualified they will attend postseason races with either the NCAA or ECAC in November.
“The women’s team is ambitious this season. We are looking for several all-conference awards as well as academic honors as a team,” said Hudson.