Season Preview: Cross Country Begins 2012 Season Saturday at DVC Invite
Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - Newark, Del.
Click Image to Enlarge
After an impressive showing to at the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Championship and reaching the NCAA Division II Regional last year, the 2012 Wilmington University cross country programs are eager to put their off-season training to the test, and see where they stand against the regional opposition.
The women’s CACC second place performance last fall places them as one of the favorites for the top spot for the conference championship in October. Junior Whitney Hora, who finished as runner-up in the conference and seventh in the regional meet, is poised to challenge for the CACC’s top honors.
“Whitney comes into the season as one of the few women across the CACC who can win the conference title,” head coach Keith Jones, who is entering his 12th year at the helm of the Wildcats, said.
Teammate Althea Davidson returns after an amazing freshman campaign in which she earned All-CACC honors with a fifth place finish last fall. Davidson has put in an impressive off-season of training and possesses the talent and determination to run with anyone in the conference. Joining the top two runners is Jeanette Halliburton who is ready to make her second season of competition a stellar one. Halliburton has worked diligently since last season and good things appear to be in the cards for her this fall.
Junior SaraBeth Oppermann could well be the key to this year’s team success this fall. If she can capitalize on the spring and summer workouts, she is very capable of turning in an all-conference performance in October. Lone senior and women’s captain Kristy McCrae will be counted on to lead the women’s team. McCrae’s course wisdom and ability to keep the team focused will be integral to the women’s team success. Freshman Morgan Ferrick is ready to compete and will provide the team with plenty of enthusiasm and energy.
“If our ladies run as they are capable, we are going to do very well throughout the season and at the CACC Championship,” Jones continued.
After just missing a second place finish last fall at the conference championship, the men’s team has been training and patiently waiting for the start of the 2012 campaign.
Led by the 2010 CACC Conference Champion and last year’s runner-up finish, Bill Steele has devoted countless hours in reclaiming the top spot on October 21.
“With Bill’s focus and relentless work ethic, I like his chances to return to the top during the championship race,” Coach Jones commented.
Joining Steele for 2012 is all-conference runner Richie Mitten, who finished an impressive sixth overall at last season’s CACC Championship race. Mitten now has a season of experience and understanding to run with the leaders this fall.
Sophomore Matt Mossman will be expected to move up to the next level based on his efforts during the past few months. Mike Wright looks to use his wisdom on the 8k to make strong improvements while Brandon Parker is healthy and should be ready to make significant contributions to the team.
Senior Vinnie Trotta, co-captain with Steele, may be the wild card for the men’s squad this fall. After battling injuries the past two seasons, Trotta is healed and ready to make this fall his best season to date.
There are a few new additions to the team that has the coaching staff very excited. Freshman Jesus Amezquita appears capable of stepping in and running with the best of the conference, while Carl Richardson has that unique combination of patience and intelligence that will serve him very well over the 8k and 10k distances. Quinn Marvel is also expected to push the veterans, and by season’s end, could also be a key component to the men’s success.
“If the men stay healthy and run as expected, they will be one of the teams capable of capturing a team title at the conference meet,” Jones explained.
Jones added a wealth of knowledge and fresh blood into the program this fall with the addition of three new assistant coaches. Former men’s runner Austin Knight and former women’s runner Jill Bosch return to the Wilmington program to help the head coach they once ran under. Newcomer Maureen Watson joins the Green and White after a very successful cross country and track career at Kutztown University in which saw her win two NCAA Division II Cross-Country National Championships.