Women's Cross Selected Eighth In Preseason Rankings
Sept. 10, 2013
AMHERST, Mass. - The women's cross country team was seeded to finish eighth overall in the Atlantic 10 Conference, a conference now composed of 13 teams after conference realignment last year. In 2012 the Minutewomen finished 12th of 16 teams in the Atlantic 10. Now with last year's champion, Butler, and Xavier and Charlotte all leaving the A-10 and the addition of George Mason the conference has a different look to it.
George Mason finished fourth in the CAA in 2012 and traditionally has had strong cross country and track and field programs. However even with the addition of George Mason and strong cross country programs remaining in the conference, Coach LaFreniere feels the Minutewomen are much better than an eighth place finish and her team can surprise the conference in Richmond, Va. this year.
UMass enters 2013 returning all of its top runners from 2012 and adds five freshmen that will immediately make an impact. Also adding to the depth of the team, Alexandra Purdue-Smithe, Megan Cummings and Mary Cole are all runners who were plagued by injury last year who are entering the season healthy this year.
Newcomers include Natalie Mako, Christine Davis, Emily Ruggiero, Heather McClean and Meg Blatchford. These five freshmen have the make-up to be one of the strongest groups in recent memory with Coach LaFreniere describing them as possessing "untapped potential with a very bright four years ahead of them".
Coach LaFreniere does not expect a clear front runner for the team in 2013 however with the team's depth and talent, pack running will be a strength for the Minutewomen which will lead to the team's success. She feels with the group of girls she has it will be a dogfight to see who makes the trip to Richmond, Va. and the top seven girls on the team will finish in the top 25 in the conference.
The Minutewomen open their season this Saturday at 12:00 P.M. They host Vermont, Maine, UConn, Boston College, Providence College and Amherst College.
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