COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The Maryland cross country team is just days away from hitting the course and opening up its 2017 campaign. Head coach Andrew Valmon is back to lead the program in his 15th season at the helm for Maryland, and has high hopes for this year’s team.
“We’re excited to get started. We have a couple senior, but a lot of newcomers so we’re excited to get started on Friday. The consistency of our returners is going to be key...everything is moving forward for us at this point.”
Senior Alexandra Lucki returns to lead the pack in her final season in College Park, a year removed from earning All-Region honors for the Terps. Lucki’s 18th place finish at regionals was the best overall finish by a Terp since the 2011 season, while she finished as Maryland’s No. 1 runner on three different occasions this season.
She nabbed a sixth place finish at the 2016 Princeton Invite and a 31st overall finish at the Big Ten Championships -- the best-ever for a Terp at the conference championship meet since joining the B1G.
Sophomore Kathryn Gearhart also returns after a solid freshman campaign, where she was a top-three runner for the Terps in all six meets. She won her first collegiate meet at the Mount St. Mary’s 5K Duals and was the No. 1 runner for the Terps at the Salty Dog Invite, finishing third overall. With a full year of collegiate cross country and track experience under her belt, the Easton, Md. native will look to make the jump to the front of the pack as big meet competition heats up.
Maryland welcomes eight freshmen to the roster this season in Molly Barrick, Christine Laurie, Courtney Mann, Emily McAllister, Dai'lyn Merriweather, Jai'lyn Merriweather, Julia Reicin and Xahria Santiago.
The Terps open their season this Friday, September 1 at the Mount Saint Mary’s 5k duals in Emmitsburg. Maryland will be back out on the course the following weekend on September 9 to again faceoff against local competition at the Salty Dog Invitational hosted by the Naval Academy.
UMD will then return to action at the 44th annual Paul Short Run hosted by Lehigh in Bethlehem, Pa. The Princeton Invite on October 14 will serve as a lead in for the postseason, when Maryland then travels to Bloomington, Ind. for the Big Ten Championship Meet on October 29.
The Terps will head back to Lehigh for this year’s NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Meet on November 10, before setting their sights on the 2017 NCAA Championship in Louisville, Ky. on November 18.