COLLEGE PARK, MD - Armed with a group of experienced veterans and exciting young talent, the Maryland cross country team makes its season debut at the Mount St. Mary's Duals in Emmitsburg, Md., Friday. Head coach Andrew Valmon and assistant coaches Matthew Jelley and Danielle Siebert are excited to see the growth and progress of the Terps’ squad.
The program’s focus this season is on the transition in the Big Ten Conference. Valmon believes that the Terps have the potential to rise to the level of competition that the Big Ten provides.
"This fall, I am looking for each individual to work towards improvement,” Valmon said. “With the entry into the Big Ten, we will need our athletes to step up to this challenge. Strength is in numbers and we will utilize all avenues to secure a strong group of scorers for this year’s squad.”
Seniors Myah Hicks and Maeve McCoy will serve as the veteran leaders on the squad. Hicks, a native of Alexandria,Va., consistently performed in the top five scoring positions during the 2013 season. Armed with a wealth of experience, McCoy solidifies the group’s depth.
Catherine Sheffo, Emily VandeWater, and Katie Nappi are also expected to be key contributors to the team this season. Sheffo moved up to the 5000m in the 2014 track season and will try to translate her success in this race to the cross-country course. Last season, Sheffo was a consistent performer in the top-five scoring positions. VandeWater, who primarily focused on the middle distance events, will now turn her focus to the 6k this fall. Nappi hopes to build off of a solid experience in the 3k steeplechase as she enters the fall season.
Sophomores Hannah Mansbach, Charde Barnes, Karah O’Halloran, Alexa Squirini, and Sydney Almedia all have one year under their belt and will try utilize this experiences in order to help the team. Mansbach emerged as the top cross-country runner early in the 2013 season before experiencing an injury that ended her season. The Maryland native will be back healthy this season. Barnes also scored in the top-five during the 2013 season.
Freshmen Amanda Ashe, Vickie Ajimoko, Erin Causey and Alexandra Lucki will all try to make an immediate impact this fall. All four come from different backgrounds and will utilize their diverse skillsets in order to help the team.
Jelley hopes that last season's improvements will bring success this season.
“The women made a lot of progress last season with their best race coming at the end of the year,” Jelley said. “We are looking to pick up where we left off and will take lessons learned over the past season and put them into action.”