Aug. 31, 2012
COLLEGE PARK, MD. - As the 2012 season is set to begin for the University of Maryland women's cross country team, head coach Andrew Valmon and assistant coaches Matthew Jelley and Danielle Siebert are optimistic about the foundation being laid for the Terps for this season and the future.
"We've got a good group of runners in this program now and we expect them to compete every time they take to a course and we're excited about that, but we're also excited about this group because it is the foundation of what we're going to build," said Valmon, who's team's season begins Saturday at the Lid-Lifter Invitational at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
"We have a veteran team with two seniors and three juniors that we expect to be competitive. But we're also excited about the underclassmen and the potential they have to get better and build momentum throughout the season."
The cornerstone of the Maryland team figures to be senior Julie Fricke and Valmon expects her to pick up where she left off last season. The native of Newtown, Pa., was the team's lone qualifier to the NCAA national meet after finishing 13th overall at the NCAA Regional meet. Fricke earned All-Region honors for her finish at regionals and was also an All-ACC honoree with her 13th-place finish at the ACC Championships.
Anna Roth is another senior who the coaching staff expects to be a leader for this squad. Roth, a native of Reisterstown, Md., was an early-season standout for the Terps in 2011 and finished among the Terps' top five runners in each of the four meets she competed at.
Fikri, a native of Potomac, Md., did not compete in 2011 after showing promise after posting several quality finishes as a freshman in 2010.
Nolan, who hails from Mount Airy, Md., was a consistent finisher for the Terps last season and will be looked upon to continue improving this season.
Yep, an Ellicott City, Md., native, is another talented runner with a lot of promise. She did not compete in 2011, but was one of Maryland's top runners as a freshman in 2010 and was a point-scorer at the ACC Championships.
Sophomore Myah Hicks, a native of Alexandria, Va., is an exciting talent who will need to build off of a solid freshman campaign that saw her place among the Terps' top three finishers in each of the five events she competed at, including being the team's top finisher at the Salty Dog Invitational in Annapolis, Md.
Maeve McCoy is another sophomore the coaching staff expects to step up and claim a spot among the team's top seven runners. The native of Brandywine, Md., was one of only two runners to compete in all six team events last season.
Four freshmen will also be competing to try to crack the top seven. Emily VandeWater, Katie Nappi, Catherine Sheffo and Jackie Lazzaro will have the opportunity to impress the coaching staff with some early season challenges.
"This season we're putting a lot of focus on the ACC meet and are looking to be at our best on October 27 in Blacksburg," said Valmon. "We have some veterans who will be looked upon to lead this team and be a positive influence, but we're also optimistic about the talented underclassmen who have the opportunity to build some momentum this weekend at UMES and carry that throughout the season.
"This program has a good, solid foundation to build upon and we're excited to see where we can take it in the future."