Ada — Women's cross country youthful team excited to start 2014 season
The young East Central University women's cross country team will begin their path to a championship with the Strohman Dental Stampede, hosted by Midwestern State. The meet is slated for Sept. 13 in Wichita Falls, Texas.
The Lady Tigers finished third at the 2013 Great American Conference Championship and will have a youthful roster, with one senior, two juniors and 11 underclassman.
The lone senior on the team, ReGina Germaine, finished 10th individually in the field (16:22.9) at the 2013 GAC Championship and earned All-GAC honors for the third-straight season.
"ReGina is back for her senior year, and is hungrier than ever to not only get faster, but also to bring her team along with her," said head coach Steve Sawyer.
Sophomores Jennifer Swart and Taylor Cross also competed for ECU, with Cross finishing third for ECU (17:02.8) and Swart coming in fourth (17:19.0).
"We return Jennifer Swart (27th 2013 GAC Championship), Taylor Coss (31st 2013 GAC Championship), Cheyenne Choate (36th 2013 GAC Championship), Brittney Ferguson (40th 2013 GAC Championship), Hannah Taff (44th 2013 GAC Championship), Kimberly Lucero (52nd 2013 GAC Championship) and Karen Mendez (62nd 2013 GAC Championship) for their sophomore years," Sawyer said.
As young as the team was last season, Sawyer knows the maturity is there with his second-year runners.
"Our women were very young last year," added Sawyer. "Eight of our 11 runners were freshman. A runner's biggest jump in college is from their freshman to sophomore year. Therefore, with returning all eight of those sophomores and all-conference runner ReGina Germaine, we should be right back at the top again this year."
ECU will also return to hosting the Tiger Chase at the Pontotoc County Vocational Training Center. This year the race will be part of the 2014 Homecoming festivities (Oct. 25). The collegiate women's race is set to start at 9:30 a.m. and the men's to follow around 10:30 a.m., with plenty of time to get back to town for the parade.