HIGH POINT, NC - The Queens University of Charlotte women’s cross country team starts the 2010 season as Conference Carolinas preseason favorite as voted upon by conference head coaches. The Lady Falcons of Pfeiffer University were selected fifth. The Royals return their top three from the 2009 Conference Championship team and all three are coming off of spring track seasons that saw them post NCAA national-qualifying marks. Queens will be led by senior Jessica Neville who provisionally qualified in the 10,000-meters as did junior Holly Annas. The Royals also return 2009 Conference Carolinas Freshman of the Year Maraya Slatter, who was a national track qualifier in the 800-meters.
Bound to help Queens improve on its school-best 20th NCAA National Championship finish will be junior college transfers Rosa Young, Kimone Hewitt and Emilia Skolubowicz along with freshmen Mathilde Timboni and Kaitlyn Patterson.
Lees-McRae College will be looking for a mix of veterans and gifted newcomers to help lead the way in 2010 as the Lady Bobcats claim the second spot in the league preseason poll. Head women’s cross country coach, Thomas Cason, returns five from a team that finished second in the Conference Championship and third in the Southeast Region. Cason returns top runners Kira Shoemaker, who finished seventh in last year’s league championship, and Hannah Henderson, who finished 13th. Returners Cinthia Lehner, Lindsey Bush and Rayne Delutis will provide experience and depth for Cason who added three newcomers to the team. Erica Zaveta joins the Lady Bobcats from the cycling team. Transfer Crystal Fischer and freshmen Heather Peterman complete the team.
“I am excited about the opportunity to coach this talented group of women this fall,” Cason said. “We have a great tradition here at Lees-McRae in women’s cross country, and I believe this team will continue to achieve greatness both on the cross country course and also in the classroom.”
Limestone College is projected to finish third based on the recent coaches vote. The Lady Saints finished in third place at last season’s Conference Championship before qualifying for the NCAA Southeast Regional for the second consecutive year. The Lady Saints lost senior and First-Team All-Conference selection Courtney Rankin but will look to fellow First-Team honoree Quanika Blackmon to help guide the team to another strong showing at the league championships. Blackmon had two Top-10 finishes including a fifth place finish and a career best time of 19:10 at the Conference Championship. Limestone, which also lost senior Molly Reichwald, will be depending on junior Jenny Altieri and sophomore Alex Gadea in their quest for a third consecutive trip to the NCAA Regional. Altieri finished the championships with a season best 21:26 while Gadea finished at 21:41 in the 5k race.
Converse finished fourth in the poll with Pfeiffer fifth followed by Belmont Abbey, Erskine, Mount Olive, Barton & Coker (tied), and St. Andrews respectively rounding-out the poll standings.
Conference Carolinas Women's Cross Country Pre-Season Poll (# of First Place Votes in Parenthesis)