The University of Maryland men's and women's cross country teams open up their 1999 seasons with a dual meet at Mt. St. Mary's on Saturday at 10 a.m. Both the men's and women's teams consist primarily of underclassmen this year, and head coach Dan Rincon is eager to see how his squad will fare this season.
We've been practicing since Aug. 23 and things have been going pretty well so far," said Rincon. "Everybody seems to have come off the summer in pretty good condition. Our workouts have been going pretty smoothly."
Maryland vs. Mt. St. Mary's
This weekend's meet against Mt. St. Mary's is a critical one according to Rincon, because it will give an indication as to how the Terps are shaping up at this point in the season.
"Mt. St. Mary's is a pretty solid team," said Rincon. "They are young on the women's team but they have brought in a couple of talented athletes. Their men's team has some runners back from last year that are going to make it a challenge for our men's team. This meet will be a nice way to see what we have in terms of our depth and who our team leaders are going to be."
Crowley, Mack and Seher Lead Women's Team
This year's women's team consists of both experienced veterans and talented newcomers. From last years top seven runners, juniors Kelly Crowley (Levittown, Pa.), Rebecca Mack (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) and Keri Seher (Farmingville, N.Y.) all return. Crowley placed 41st at last season's ACC meet and Seher placed 46th.
"Kelly, Rebecca and Keri are running pretty strong right now," said Rincon. "We have had a nice addition with a couple of transfers such as Keri Bowers (who transferred from Salisbury) and Meghan White (who transferred from North Carolina). We are excited about the freshman class on the women's team. Elizabeth Ramage, from British Columbia, and Kristin Lubas, a finalist in the Pennsylvania state meet, are two people capable of stepping up and making an impact for us this year."
Sullivan and Higgins Lead Men's Team
The men's team this season consists of primarily freshmen, but senior Brian Higgins (Columbia, Md.) and sophomore Shawn Sullivan (Timonium, Md.) return to provide both experience and leadership. Last season, Higgings placed 61st at the ACC Championships.
"Besides Brian and Shawn, everybody else is a freshman so we have a very young men's team," said Rincon. "Zack Webb and Greg Vincent are handling the transition to college pretty well. I expect to see big things from them."
The Key Meets This Season
Besides this weekend's meet against Mt. St. Mary's, Rincon sees a number of other meets this season as being crucial to Maryland's success.
"The meet at George Washington (Sept. 25) will be a fairly good regional invitational," Rincon said. "The Paul Short Invitational (Oct. 9) is going to be a pretty important meet for us because it's going to give us a taste of what a big-time cross country meet is going to be like. There are 40 other teams at that meet."
The ACC in 1999
The biggest meet of the season for both teams this season will be the ACC Championships, which take place in Chapel Hill, N.C., on Oct. 30. Rincon has little doubt as to who will be the Terps' toughest competition in that meet.
"NC State (which swept both the men's and women's titles in 1998) has everyone back on the women's side and should be pretty good on the men's side. They have got to be the favorites again this season."