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Lady harriers hoping to build off successful ‘14

Story first posted on edinboronow.com on Sept. 2, 2015 and appeared in the Edinboro University Spectator on Sept. 3, 2015.

When speaking last week about his women’s cross country team and the upcoming season, head coach Rick Hammer was very happy.

Coming off season which featured two championships, it is pretty hard not to be.

“Last season was pretty fantastic for the women.” the third-year head coach said in a phone interview. “They did win conference, they did win the regional. 15th at nationals was a little bitter sweet for us. We had some people who had great races and we had some people who ran well, but had better races before. We also had some people that really struggled. We lost to Bloomsburg, a team that we beat at the conference and regional championships. We know this year that Bloomsburg is the team to beat.”

The rest of the PSAC agreed with Hammer as the Huskies were the top ranked team in the PSAC coaches’ pre-season poll, which was released last week. However, right behind Bloomsburg, ranked second, were the Fighting Scots.

The second-place slot is a deserving one for Boro who a year ago captured its first PSAC team title since 2006 and notched its second-straight Atlantic Region championship. However, it lost Kasey Jones, who is out of eligibility with cross country, but isn’t completely gone from the program.

“Kasey is out of eligibility for cross country, but she will continue to train with us,” Hammer said. “She will be limited in training as she is technically out of season for track and field, but she will be at some of our bigger workouts. Just having someone with that experience around the team will hopefully help shape them.”

The rest of the top performers from that squad a year ago are returning.

“Our returners have really bought in,” Hammer said. “[Sophomore] Bekkah Bond really has improved during the track season, where she was an All-PSAC performer. [Junior] Emma Sullivan is looking to improve as she is the top returning performer in the Atlantic Region, based on her finish there. She has had a tremendous summer. I think she is ready to have an outstanding season. [Senior] Anna Hosel went back to Germany to train over the summer and looks to be in great shape.”

As with nearly every season, there are some holes to fill and a new class of recruits to fill those holes. Hammer noted a few incomers including, Abbey Lang, Ida Narbuvoll and Abby Peters.

Hammer also commented how the health of the top five runners last season was integral in the sustain success and said it needs to happen again this year to repeat that success.

The Scots get their 2015 campaign underway this Saturday with the Doug Watts Distance Gala at the Doug Watts Cross Country course, located across the street from Highlands 2, at 11 a.m. That is the lone home meet of the season for Edinboro.

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