As the 2013 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 excited to see the growth and progress of the Terps’ solid corps of harriers.
Through the start of pre-season training, Jelley has implemented a solid training plan that will prepare the athletes for the season ahead. While the season begins on Friday at the Mount St. Mary’s duals, some members of the team will continue their training through this competition in preparation for the latter part of the season.
"We’re looking for every runner to take the next step in their progression,” said Valmon. “We are building something here that has great potential, but in order for us to achieve that potential as a squad each runner has to strive to reach their individual potentials and even exceed that at times.”
"We have a very balanced roster in terms of experience, but we expect our four seniors to take ownership of this season and provide the leadership this team needs."
Senior Becky Yep, a native of Ellicott City, Md., will look to pick up where she left off last season after leading the team to the finish line in each of the team’s final three meets, including winning the Blue & Gold Invitational and a Top 40 finish at the very competitive NCAA Regional meet in State College, Pa.
Maryam Fikri and Bridget Nolan are also expected to be scorers for the Terps as seniors. Fikri, a native of Potomac, Md., ran only twice in 2012, but was Maryland’s second finisher at the NCAA Regional meet. Nolan, who hails from Mount Airy, Md., was a consistent finisher for the Terps at the end of last season and was the third Terrapin across the line at the NCAA Regionals.
Julie Sinkovitz of Woodcliff Lake, N.J., is the team’s fourth senior and
is coming off of a strong track season where she competed in the preliminary rounds of NCAA competition in the 800m.
Junior Myah Hicks, a native of Alexandria, Va., was a point-producer in each of her five meets in 2012, including being the Terps’ top finisher at the Navy Salty Dog Invitational and Paul Short Run, and is expected to continue to improve this season and challenge for the team’s top spot.
Maeve McCoy and Michelle Hess are other juniors the coaching staff expects to continue to improve and possibly be point-scorers for the Terps.
Four sophomores, Emily VandeWater, Katie Nappi, Catherine Sheffo and Jackie Lazzaro, will look to build on solid freshmen seasons and compete to crack the top seven.
Sheffo, a native of Dubois, Pa., competed in all six meets in 2012 and was a point-producer in each of the six meets. Lazzaro, a Robinsville, N.J., native, also competed in all six meets as a freshmen with three top-four team finishes to her credit.
The squad will also welcome a talented group of freshmen in Chardé Barnes, Hannah Mansbach, Karrah O’Halloran, Alex Squirini, and Sydney Almedia.
Heading into his second season as the program’s distance coach, Jelley says, “Our focus is going to be on the ACC meet and are looking to be at our best when we travel to Winston Salem on Nov. 1. We are moving in the right direction; now we just have to take that next step.”