Hornet Women's XC Picked Fourth in ODAC Pre-Season Poll

Hornet Women's XC Picked Fourth in ODAC Pre-Season Poll

Generals Top ODAC Women's Cross Country Preseason Poll

Bridgewater Tight for Second, Eastern Mennonite in Third

FOREST, Va. --- Washington and Lee University picked up seven first place votes and 77 total points on the way to leading the 2013 ODAC Women's Cross Country Preseason Poll.  The Generals are followed closely by Bridgewater College, which collected the remaining three top nods and 75 tallies.  Eastern Mennonite University holds down the third position with 65 points, while Lynchburg College is just six points back in fourth in the annual survey of the league's head coaches.

At the 2012 ODAC Cross Country Championships, Washington and Lee saw all five of its scoring runners place ninth or better, leading the Generals to their ODAC-best 14th overall league crown and second in the past three years.  W&L's 29 points were 22 markers better than second-place finishing Bridgewater, but the Eagles did boast the individual champion.  Olivia Mills claimed her second straight conference title, posting a time of 23:07.83 over the six-kilometer course at Peakview Elementary and Burtner Farm in Penn Laird, Va.

Mills was one of four women's runners from ODAC schools to compete at the 2012 NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships in Terre Haute, Ind.  The graduated Eagle placed 26th overall (21:49.30) to earn All-America honors (top 35 and better).  Teammate Kaylee Kubisiak competed in her first national meet, placing 123rd (22:55.1) to cap a strong freshman campaign.  Washington and Lee sent two runners to the Midwest as then-seniors Lauren Schultz and Molly Ortiz finished 182nd (23:19.9) and 210th (23:31.0), respectively, out of 263 competitors.

Only six of the 14 runners that earned All-ODAC recognition return for the 2013 campaign, but half of those returning will run for new W&L head coach Kristin Cupido.  Junior Casey Mackintosh (5th - 24:06.15 at the 2012 ODAC Championships) was one of three Generals on the 2012 first team.  She's joined by second team seniors Brandie Huffman (8th - 24:20.90) and Annelise Madison (9th - 24:31.61).  Sophomore holdovers Rachel Solomon (26th - 25:46.70) and Katy Bonaro (33rd - 26:23.41) look to build on solid first seasons in Lexington.

Bridgewater must replace two-time champ Mills, and the Eagles welcome back a pair of all-conference performers looking to do that.  Kubisiak (2nd - 23:17.58) started off her collegiate career with a runner-up showing in the ODAC meet, earning first team and ODAC Rookie of the Year laurels.  Junior Zanny Ludtke (14th - 24:55.90) grabbed All-ODAC Second Team honors, the same recognition that returning senior Stephanie Breen (27th - 26:03.97) earned in 2011.  Sophomores Makenzie McDonald (24th - 25:39.80) and Lauren Johnson (30th - 26:16.04) were top-30 finishers in 2012.

Eastern Mennonite boasts the remaining all-league runner returning in 2013.  Sophomore Hannah Chappell-Dick (6th - 24:07.52) burst on the scene, collecting first team accolades.  Junior Katie Eckman missed the 2012 title meet, but the former second team qualifier (2011) is back this year.  Senior Krista Rittenhouse (16th - 25:01.97) and junior Lanae Kreider (20th - 25:16.63) were top-20 finishers a season ago.

Lynchburg College looks to juniors Jacqueline Graham (28th - 26:07.89) and Tracy Estelus (29th - 26:12.32) as top returners.

Virginia Wesleyan College and Roanoke College were separated by just four points at the ODAC Championships.  Junior Liz Wade (23rd - 25:37.62) holds the distinction as the highest ranked returning Marlin from the 2012 meet.  She'll be joined by senior Autumn Watson (36th - 26:36.26) and sophomore Courtney Gwin (38th - 26:40.73).  Maroons' junior Leigha Schimmoeller (15th - 24:57.91) missed out on an All-ODAC nod by two seconds at last season's meet.  Accompanying her will be classmate Hannah Cline (37th - 26:37.14) in leading this year's squad.

Shenandoah University, Randolph College, Guilford College and Emory & Henry College look for a mix of experience and youth to help them climb the conference ladder.  The Hornets return junior Dorothy Earner (19th - 25:10.29) and senior Emily Cobb (60th - 28:42.60) from the squad's first season competing under the ODAC banner.  The WildCats welcome back junior Sarah Reed (63rd - 28:55.11) to lead a young group, while the Quakers look to junior Jasmine O'Neill (34th - 26:31.23) to do the same with athletes that include sophomore Rebecca Reyna (50th - 27:39.32).  Juniors Olivia Bailey (83rd - 31:30.59) and Ashleigh Polk (72nd - 31:41.10 in 2011), the latter of which missed the 2012 meet, return to a senior-free Wasps squad that includes newcomers like Audra VanDerwerker.

The 2013 cross country season begins on Friday, August 30, with the majority of ODAC schools competing in the ODAC Preview Meet at the The Manor Course in Farmville, Va.  That track will also serve as the championship course, which is slated for Saturday, November 2.  For more information, visit any of the participating schools' websites or go to the ODAC's home on the Internet at www.odaconline.com.  Don't forget to become a fan of the ODAC on Facebook and follow @odacathletics on Twitter.

(#) Denotes first place votes

1. Washington and Lee (7)

77 pts.

2. Bridgewater (3)

75 pts.

3. Eastern Mennonite

65 pts.

4. Lynchburg

59 pts.

5. Virginia Wesleyan

45 pts.

6. Roanoke

44 pts.

7. Shenandoah

29 pts.

8. Randolph

21 pts.

9. Guilford

20 pts.

10. Emory & Henry

15 pts.